classical liberalism

GOP in Chaos? Have you seen the Democrats lately?

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One of the media and their Democratic allies’ favorite narratives is the ubiquitous GOP civil war. Every election, every intra-party disagreement, every primary, it’s all they can talk about.

Republicans are in chaos because there isn’t a consensus House Speaker choice. They’re in chaos because there isn’t a consensus presidential nominee. They’re in chaos because there are significant policy disagreements within the ranks. (So weird that “liberals” expect conformity and unanimity…) You’d think the leftist media’s ideological (and, really, partisan) survival would depend on painting the other side as dysfunctional. There are even entire sections devoted to it at PoliticoSalon, and Huffington Post. But every year of the “GOP civil war”, Republicans control more state legislatures and pickup more House and Senate seats. And have you seen the Democrats lately?

Scholars seek to reclaim the term “liberal” from governmentalists

laissez-faire

There is a push in libertarian circles to reclaim the term “liberal,” a word that once represented a hands off approach to government, from those who advocate for the “governmentalization of social affairs.”

Through Liberalism Unrelinquished, an effort spearheaded by Kevin Frei, a number of scholars are declaring that they will not surrender use of “liberal” to describe their views. The organizers of the statement hope to attract 500 or more signers.

The statement explains that “liberal” once represented the views of Enlightenment era, perhaps best identified through the work of Adam Smith, an 18th Century moral philosopher and the father of modern economics.

Smith laid the foundation for the moral case for capitalism in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and The Wealth of Nations (1776). The statement also points to Richard Cobden, William Gladstone, and John Bright — 19th Century British liberals who advanced laissez-faire economic views.

The American founders enshrined the liberal concepts of the Enlightenment era into the Declaration of Independence and, later, the United States Constitution.

“Especially from 1880 there began an undoing of the meaning of the central terms, among them the word liberal,” the statement reads. “The tendency of the trends of the past 130 years has been toward the governmentalization of social affairs. The tendency exploded during the First World War, the Interwar Years, and the Second World War.”

EconPop: Breaking Down the Economic Ideas of Films and TV Shows

EconPop: Dallas Buyers Club

There’s no denying that we live in a pop culture age, and it’s difficult to spread of limited government and free market ideas through ordinary means, especially if we plan to reach and engage young people.

Founded by economist Russ Roberts and John Papola, EconStories has already developed a unique way of communicating economic ideas through visual storytelling.

In 2010, the two created a hip-hop music video, “Fear the Boom and Bust,” in which the economic views of John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayes were debated. The video came at a time when there was a debate over the merits of a $835 billion stimulus bill that was designed to lift the United States out of the throes of the Great Recession.

A little more than a year later, EconoStories released a second video, “Fight of the Century,” featuring Keynes and Hayek. The video focused on the lack of any real economic recovery despite billions and stimulus spending and consecutive years of $1+ trillion budget deficits. To date, the two videos have garnered more than 7.2 million views on YouTube.

United Liberty talked with John Papola, a director and producer, about EconStories’ latest project, EconPop, which is presented in partnership with the Moving Picture Institute. EconPop brings economic ideas found in popular movies and TV shows and breaks them down in a fun and unique way.

Exploring Liberty: Christopher Preble explains libertarianism and war

A couple of months ago, we told you about the Cato Institute’s new project, libertarianism.org, a resource that explains and dives into the history of this excellent political philosophy.

They’ve been doing a series, “Exploring Liberty,” which explains various aspects of libertarianism. The first video in the series, hosted by David Boaz, offered an “introduction to libertarian thought.” The latest video, a lecture presented by Christopher Preble, explains our philosophy’s often misunderstood take on foreign policy and war:

I Think, Therefore I Read Libertarianism.Org

LorgFrontPageThis may come off as a shameless plug, but my friend Aaron Powell over at the Cato Institute has just launched a new project, Libertarianism.org. This takes a different tack than Cato and most other places, even including United Liberty. What this new website is doing is talking about the philosophy of libertarianism, the intellectual foundation for this new idea that is gradually sweeping the globe. That’s something that isn’t touched on so much in the media and elsewhere, but is the real answer when hippies get in your face and scream “Think of the Children!”

The website has videos dating back to the 80s, biographies of famous libertarians, lists and samples of books and important texts, and of course, more essays than you can shake a Kindle at. It also has a list of those who are critical of libertarianism, which is something one must consider; it is not enough to merely know the libertarian canon, because if you’re going to get into a debate, you have to know your opponent’s silliness in order to get them with it.

On top of all this, it has a really slick design.

I encourage everyone who reads United Liberty to go over there and read the essays, maybe even buy some of the books. They are not only a good start to learning about liberty, but for those of us who have been libertarians for some time already, they deepen and enrich our points, and give us a better background and context to work from.


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