December 2004
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Day December 21, 2004

Liberalism: liberty versus equality, or liberty and equality?

It’s been quiet here on Extended Phenotype in the run-up to the holidays, but here’s a cross-post from Progressive Commons. The essay follows an earlier post here at EP, analyzing the fallacy that New Deal liberalism is actually a betrayal of classical liberal principles. In reality, the “lost liberalism” narrative is the result of modern libertarians taking a narrow view of Hume, Locke, Madison, and other classical authors. In the essay I argue that classical liberal theorists were far more concerned about concentrated power in any form — private or public — than the modern narrative admits. This recognition leads to seeing far more continuity between classical theorists and New Deal liberalism than, say, Milton Friedman (as an example) does. And that’s a good thing, in my book, because it should help us reclaim our political past and not accept the modern political narrative as related by Republicans and Fox News.