Classical Liberalism

publication by: Trevor Cartwright
Written on Jul 15, 2012

     As a member of the Libertarian party, I have to say that when I first read the definition of classical liberalism, I was very impressed. Classical Liberalism is comparable to Libertarianism. They both teach that government should be limited, and that the individual should have the right to do whatever he or she desires as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others (this is essentially Jefferson's non-aggression principle paraphrased.) This simple definition is of infinite value in our country of unparalleled freedom. So, what happened to the definition of liberalism?

The word etymology refers to how word meanings shift over time. The word "liberal" is a case in point. While classical liberalism refers to limited government and maximized freedom for the individual, modern liberalism typically refers to more government, more trust in the state, and less trust in individuals. There is nothing more horrid to me than government taking freedoms away from its citizens or placing more restrictions on its citizens. Well, there is one thing worse: citizens who want government to lord over them. I stand by Benjamin Franklin's quote, "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security."

Speaking of Benjamin Franklin, we should not forget that our founding fathers were classical liberals (or modern day libertarians). They were trying to escape big government. They succeeded in founding a country on freedom. There are few politicians who adhere to the golden ideals of the fathers, but they exist. Two such politicians are Ron Paul and Wayne Root. I have met Wayne personally, and he truly is a man of character. Here is his site if you are interested: www.rootforamerica.com

Classical Liberalism is not just a dead, irrelevant political philosophy from the past; it is the philosophy upon which our great country was founded. Our founding fathers were classical liberals who believed that, civilly speaking, the only purpose of the government is to enforce the golden rule. In regards to economics, that freedom carries over: each citizen has the right to create and run business with limited government intervention (I say so in a minarchistic sense). The left has largely discarded this "golden apple" of liberty, and many on the right are guilty too. We Libertarians and non-partisans must carry the torch now. I am by no means a Libertarian drone, but I am unabashedly a member of the party, and I firmly stand by the simple principles of the party: fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. If you stand by our founding fathers and their philosophy, check out the Libertarian party: www.lp.org

 

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