A reading list of original and influential liberal thinkers

This just arrived in my inbox and may be of interest. The question asked is, in effect, who among the great liberal philosophers should be included in a course on Western Civilisation.

Dear colleagues and friends,
 
For the 175th anniversary editor of The Economist is launching Open Future, an initiative to discuss liberal values and policies in the 21st century.
 
I have just crossed this online article about a series on influential liberal thinkers and some critics. It explicitly asks readers to diversify its preliminary list by submitting further suggestions: 
 
 
This may interest some of you.

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“Liberal”, as the article notes, is now a much contested term. This is what The Economist writes:

The definition of liberalism has long been the source of disagreement. The very term has come to mean “progressive” in the United States, whereas in Britain it has kept its older meaning of being respectful of individual freedom and the wisdom that can be drawn from free thought and open debate.

Once liberalism was invaded by the Fabians, I’m not sure all that much of its original meaning remains, but with Jordan Peterson and others like him prowling about, who knows what the future might bring.

This entry was posted in Books and writing, Conservative politics, Philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A reading list of original and influential liberal thinkers

  1. Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Any work of Ayn Rand. And ‘The Constitution of Liberty’, by Hayek.
    How times have changed! It is now a blessing to be told ‘To go to Hayek!’

  2. Heading on one of our brother’s blog sites
    “Underneath every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out “

  3. RomeoWhiskey

    The Economist has not been liberal for a long time.

  4. JohnJJJ

    Ayn Rand? Sorry no women on the list unless they beat the feminist drum, constantly, loudly and do nothing else.

  5. Tel

    The Economist has not been liberal for a long time.

    The word “liberal” hasn’t been liberal for a long time either.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    Read and subscribed for about 15 years.
    It got worse and worse and worse.
    Had to stop.
    At 175 years the contents are now like Dorian Gray’s picture.
    An evil and decrepit skeleton of what once was.

  7. Chris

    Read and subscribed for about 15 years.
    It got worse and worse and worse.
    Had to stop.
    At 175 years the contents are now like Dorian Gray’s picture.
    An evil and decrepit skeleton of what once was.

    Sad.
    Even 20 years ago it was a sorry pit of leftism and PC. I wonder if we can trace the decline to Ashbolt’s Kindergarten?

  8. max

    Liberalism, from the Latin liber, meaning free, referred originally to the philosophy of freedom. “Liberal” was once an honorable word used to describe those who put liberty first.

    Frédéric Bastiat
    Ludwig von Mises

  9. Sam Duncan

    “whereas in Britain it has kept its older meaning of being respectful of individual freedom and the wisdom that can be drawn from free thought and open debate.”

    I keep hearing this, and I don’t know where they get it from. The British Liberal party merged with the Social Democrats thirty years ago. These days, it’s little more than a vehicle for protest votes by pro-EU Labour supporters. Look at the way their heads exploded when it went into coalition with the Tories a few years back, as if the party that the Liberal Unionists and the National Liberals ultimately merged with couldn’t possibly have anything in common with the Conservatives. I suspect most Brits are completely clueless as to what liberalism is, but if pushed would probably come up with something very close, if not identical, to the American idea.

    Your lot in Australia are about the closest in the world to the original meaning nowadays. And you know what they’re like.

  10. Sam Duncan

    Darn it. “… as if the party that the Liberal Unionists and the National Liberals ultimately merged with couldn’t possibly have anything in common with them.” The party the Unionists and NLs merged with was, of course, the Conservatives.

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