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From Alex Tabarrok:


In fact, liberalism, meaning classical liberalism, has never been conservative. It began as a movement of the left against feudalistic, conservative insiders and it remains so today.


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CATEGORIES: Political Economy



COMMENTS (6 to date)
Matt writes:

The classical liberal wants to be unbiased in most situations. When he is in power it is usually because some political faction has damaged the economy and the liberal is called in to gently restore balance.


The natural ally of the classical liberal is the libertarian. The liberal says to the libertarian, you are right in the abstract, but this isn't the abstract.

I was in Cuba a few years ago, speaking to some communist officials who kept saying "revolutionary" this and "revolutionary" that. I told them that the single most revolutionary system in the world was free market capitalism and their form of statist oligarchy was counter-revolutionary. (To be fair, they were gracious in the face of my pugnacity, I was not jailed.)

And I believe it; free market capitalism, admittedly coming in fits and starts and never in its perfect form, has preceded every expansion of the political franchise, has exploded previous life expectancy rates, infant mortality rates and all sorts of indicia of wealth, and simply transformed the world unlike any other development in societal organization. Humans had lived 70,000 years under thuggish non-consensual societies until free markets midwifed broadly representative liberal governments.

General Specific writes:

Matt: "The natural ally of the classical liberal is the libertarian. The liberal says to the libertarian, you are right in the abstract, but this isn't the abstract. "

Well said. Exactly my opinion. I'm a libertarian in principle. But the world isn't a principle. It's a convoluted twisted mess.

Paleolibertarian writes:

What do you all think the principal differences between classical liberals and libertarians are?

Troy Camplin writes:

I don't know if it remains so today -- if we are talking about those who call themselves liberal, anyway. Those liberals are in fact the greatest supporters of a return to feudalism and monarchy (think of such monarchs as Castro and monarchs-in-the-making as Chavez).

Barkley Rosser writes:

Hayek considered himself a "classical liberal," but abjured the label "libertarian."

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