Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Beautiful Philosophy of Liberalism

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the website of the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) on, “The Beautiful Philosophy of Liberalism.”

One of the great linguistic frauds of the last one hundred years has been the twisting of the meaning of “liberalism.” American “progressive” liberalism means paternalistic and intrusive government into almost every corner of personal, social and economic life. In other parts of the world “neo-liberalism” is attacked as “wild capitalism,” when in fact it is just another version of the interventionist-welfare state heavily overlaid with government-business “cronyism.”

 What has been lost in all this is the real and original meaning of liberalism, which now goes under the name “classical liberalism.” Classical liberalism reflected a political and economic philosophy of individualism, free enterprise, free trade and limited constitutional government. And during especially the nineteenth century it radically transformed many parts of the world toward greater freedom and prosperity.

I summarize classical liberalism’s five great crusades: the end to human slavery; the fight for personal and civil liberties; the freeing of private enterprise and individual initiative from the heavy-hand of government domestic and foreign economic planning and regulation; the extension of political freedom through representative government; and the quest for world peace through free trade and limits how and through what means governments fought wars with each other.

The rise of socialism and nationalism in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries short-circuited the full achievement of the classical liberal ideal and vision of the truly free society, and, instead, moved society back into collectivist directions. But classical liberalism’s history and heritage serve as a signposts for us on the importance of restoring it as the radical and revolutionary movement for liberty looking to the future.

The full article is here.



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