Posts Tagged ‘classical liberalism’

Peace and Free Enterprise

August 14, 2011

by Jerry O’Driscoll  

Initially, the headlines about the Iowa straw poll said Bachmann won. That was literally true, but hardly interesting. Libertarian Ron Paul basically tied her. The two candidates blew out the rest of the field with 57% of the vote. Under pressure from rapid blog postings, the established media have caught up with the facts.

All candidates spoke of the need for smaller government. Reasonable voters might have suspected, however, that not all candidates were as seriously committed to that as Bachmann and Paul. Both have unassailable Tea party credentials. The Tea Party in part grew out of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign. Bachmann jumped on the bandwagon early, before it was popular.

Paul finished fifth in Iowa in 2007. He surged this year on two other issues: end the wars and end the Fed. His call to bring home the troops and end the wars resonated with Iowa Republican voters. We’ll see how it plays out in other contests.

(Ending the Fed was actually his most popular issue in 2008. I thinking ending the wars mattered more this time.)

The linkage between peace and free markets was central to classical liberalism in 19th century Britain, right up through the Gladstone Liberal victory in 1906. Nineteenth-century economist James Mill summed it up when he said that war was the worst calamity that can befall a country. Randolph Bourne summed it up in 20th century when he described war as the health of the state. That is a favorite Ron Paul quote.

What won in Iowa is liberty.

Why Rand Paul is wrong about Title II

May 26, 2010

by Roger Koppl

Rand Paul won the Republican primary in the Kentucky Senate race and almost immediately stepped into a big pile of steaming controversy by telling Rachel Maddow that he did not support Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Since then few voices have defended his statements on Maddow’s show, with John Stossel as one of the rare exceptions.  In his recent Christian Science Monitor op-ed on this topic, Sheldon Richman defends Paul’s statements saying, “individuals are either free to do anything peaceful or they are not.”  I reject libertarian objections to Title II precisely because I agree with the quoted remark: individuals are either free to do anything peaceful or not. (For the record: I’m not a libertarian, but the quoted statement is a logical truth, not a political program.)  Black and white people in the recently-Jim-Crow South would not have been free to associate without the assistance of Title II. Read the rest of this entry »

Liberty by Design

March 3, 2010

by Roger Koppl

Those of us who love liberty and fear the state support “deregulation.”  We want to unwind the bramble of regulations constraining the dynamic entrepreneurial economy.  But we have not thought enough about how to unwind the unwieldy regulatory apparatus of the current system.  It is one thing to show how a “truly free market” would work.  It is quite another to show how to get from the current regulatory mess to something we are happy call a “free market.”  Read the rest of this entry »

What is the Philosophy of Freedom Called?

May 20, 2009

by Mario Rizzo  

As one who has taught courses in classical liberalism at NYU both at the college and at the law school, I cannot help take an interest in the discussion about conservatism over at the Becker-Posner blog and by my colleague William Easterly at Aid Watch. So permit me to add something.  

To the nominalists out there: What we call the philosophy of freedom is not simply a matter of stipulation. “Naming” is identifying with a literature, a history and an analytical core. It is no small matter.  

Gary Becker and Richard Posner each identify the philosophy of freedom with some aspect of conservatism. Becker writes of tensions within conservatism. Posner wonders about its intellectual decline. Bill Easterly complains, quite rightly, that many definitions of “conservative” and “liberal” say nothing about individual liberty.  

I do not believe that the philosophy of freedom has much to do, in an essential way, with conservatism. The relationship is largely due to historical accident. Furthermore, analytically speaking, the moral, political and economic basis of freedom does not fit coherently in the conservative intellectual framework.   Read the rest of this entry »

Time for Reflection: “The Unity of the People”

December 2, 2008

by Mario Rizzo

After most presidential elections in recent years there is talk of uniting the country, somehow overcoming differences and working for the betterment of the nation. This is a dangerous idea if it is taken seriously. Read the rest of this entry »

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