Culture & the Libertarian Heritage

A Rembrandt among Commentators

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The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups. This is such a wise saying that it might have been coined by Adam Smith or one of the great ... [click for more]

Have We Abandoned Our Principles?

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America was founded upon commonly held principles of right and wrong. Our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution recognize these principles and enumerate several of them. Among these principles is the acknowledgment that we, as individuals, have certain unalienable rights — namely the rights to life, liberty, and the ... [click for more]

The Future of Freedom-Retrospect and Prospects, Part 1

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 With the approaching end of 1994, The Future of Freedom Foundation is celebrating its fifth anniversary. For a half-decade, Jacob Hornberger and I, and the other authors who have contributed essays for Freedom Daily, have attempted to make the ethical and economic case for individual liberty and the ... [click for more]

Nationalism: Its Nature and Consequences

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In the 19th century, many classical liberals believed that the ideas of "national identity" and "nationalism" were false scents that were likely to lead the world away from liberty and towards a continuation of political tyranny and international conflict. For example, William E. H. Lecky, in his study Democracy and Liberty (1896), argued that "the idea and ... [click for more]

The Standard of Liberty

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The concept of a standard is as old as man himself. It has been expressed in man's earliest writings. Moses understood its principles; so did the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the ancient dynasties of China and Japan — in every society, there have been those who have understood its principles. Standards are so powerful that adherence to their principles ... [click for more]

The Importance of Tools

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It is the pompous delusion of politicians that they significantly improve the way the world works. Nonsense. Through taxation, rules, regulations, and war, politicians historically have destroyed people's lives and obstructed their economic progress. The real work of the world — the way we live our daily lives — ... [click for more]

The Great Multiplier

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Through foresight, imagination, and individual initiative, man develops tools and facilities which expand his efforts and enable him to produce things which would not otherwise be possible. This is an outstanding difference between man and animal, just as it is an outstanding difference between civilization and barbarism. Progress toward better living would never have been possible, except through the development ... [click for more]

Individual Liberty and Civil Society

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In 1819, the French classical liberal, Benjamin Constant, delivered a lecture in Paris entitled, "The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Modems." He drew his audience's attention to the fact that in the world of ancient Greece, "the aim of the ancients was the sharing of power among the citizens of the fatherland: this is ... [click for more]

The Rise, Fall, and Renaissance of Classical Liberalism, Part 3: The 20th Century

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 The First World War was the watershed of the twentieth century. Itself the product of antiliberal ideas and policies, such as militarism and protectionism, the Great War fostered statism in every form. In Europe and America, the trend towards state intervention accelerated, as governments conscripted, censored, inflated, ran up mountains ... [click for more]
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