Ralph Raico, professor of European history at Buffalo State College and Schlarbaum laureate, presents a series of ten formal lectures on the history of Liberty: its origin, its development, its friends, and its enemies.
Download the complete audio of this event (ZIP) here.
1. The European Miracle
Ralph Raico covers classical liberalism’s growth, development and possible future. Liberalism arose in Europe entwined with Christianity. Why Europe? The East lacked the idea of freedom from the state and never established the legal system that could protect wealth. Europe had multiple, decentralized competing powers, not a universal empire.
2. Classical Liberalism
Mises’ book, Liberalism, states that liberalism sufficed to change the face of the earth. The term liberal has since been hijacked by social democrats, so they don’t have to use the tainted word socialism. Raico defines liberalism to be civil society, minus the state, running itself within the bounds of private property.
3. John Stuart Mill
Mill played a crucial, but inflated, role in liberalism. Rothbard did not like Mill much. Mill was a disaster on economic freedom and international issues. Mill rejected that workers and capitalists shared interests. Mill was anti-capitalist.
4. Class and Conflict
Gustave de Molinari became the grand old man of classical liberalism, crediting Pareto. Molinari understood that the main issue in the Civil War was the tariff, not slavery. In Italy economists founded free market economics, crediting Bastiat.
5. War, Peace, and the Industrial Revolution
It was thought that the ultimate antidote to war was universal democracy. It was not. Spencer defined liberal democracy as an individual free to control the product of his own efforts on the market. Welfare societies could not rationally be termed democracies.
6. The New World of Capitalism
In the face of overwhelming evidence of the prosperity of capitalism, Marxists were forced to rephrase their arguments from material provisions to quality of life. Robert Nozick, a brilliant philosopher of liberty, became a libertarian. Anarchy, State, and Utopia, his main book, dominates debate in political philosophy.