Schools of Thought in Classical Liberalism, Part 1: Introduction
Last week, I began posting on a terrific series from LearnLiberty.org on the subject of Schools of Thought in Classical Liberalism. My plan was to post the videos with just a small amount of commentary, but I have since decided that these deserve more. So, I will offer the video and video description, but then I will also break down the information textually.
At first, this might seem a bit academic and wonky, but it isn’t. Think about this for a moment. If you have been observing politics for a long time, stretch your mind back and ask yourself, Has there ever been a time in modern memory when the subjects of natural rights, individual (and state) sovereignty, and the proper role of government have been discussed more broadly?
Sure, these are always a subject among elite thinkers and philosophers, and in the halls of conservative and libertarian think tanks. But it’s gone beyond that now. The general public are talking about these things as never before. These principles are being discussed in the media (especially, though not exclusively new media). They are even being talked about with renewed purpose by some in the halls of government. People are looking at politics and public policy through the lens of these core principles. An entire grassroots movement has sprung up with rights, individual sovereignty, and the proper role of government at the very core of their reason for being. Simply put, something new is happening.
If you are one of the people who are talking and thinking about these ideas now, you are not a tricorne hat-wearing anachronism. You are on the cutting edge of a 21st century liberty revolution. A century of growing government, coupled with its dramatic increase in growth since 2008, has caused a reaction in the antibodies of Americans, and these principles are being examined anew. These principles aren’t abstruse theory, they are what will save us from a future that is less prosperous and less free . . . and possibly from a future of economic collapse and abject oppression.
Understanding the principles, then, is essential. They are the core. They are the weapon you wield in the war of ideas. They are the lens through which all policy must be viewed. And it starts with the core: classical liberalism.
What is “classical liberalism?” Is it a specific set of beliefs, a philosophy, an economic theory, or something else? In this series, Dr. Nigel Ashford explores what classical liberalism — sometimes called “libertarianism” — actually means. Dr. Ashford looks at 5 different schools of classical liberalism/ libertarianism, and examines how they are similar and how they are different. Dr. Ashford hopes that as you explore this series, you will think deeply about your own beliefs and political philosophy, and draw your own conclusions.