|Source:Learn Liberty- Dr. Nigel Ashford, talking about classical liberalism. The real liberalism.|
At an abstract level, classical liberalism offers three key insights:
1) The goal of life is human happiness and flourishing.
2) Personal choice and individual liberty are crucial in explaining and appreciating how society develops.
3) Commerce, wealth, and trade are preferable to war and conflict.
If you agree with these classical liberal insights, you might be a classical liberal!
The Professor in this video does a pretty good job of laying out what classical liberalism is. That it's about individual liberty and protecting individual liberty and is skeptical of power. Governmental power or too much power in the private sector. Because as the Professor says power is the ability to make people do what they otherwise wouldn't do. And liberalism is also about rule of law, not being so-called soft on crime as people have stereotyped Liberals. But that government should protect people from the harm of others, not try to protect people from themselves.
Liberalism is about individual liberty and limited government, which those being the main two principles. All other aspects of liberalism get to that. How to promote, advance and protect individual liberty. About individualism not collectivism which is about expanding government and spending more on social insurance. Or creating new social insurance programs, but laying out exactly what government should be doing. Socialism is about welfare state programs and using those programs so none has too much or too little, as they would see it.
Again, the role of liberalism is to promote, advance and protect individual liberty. The constitutional rights of individuals to live their own lives and be as successful in life as their production will allow. To take out of life what they put into it and limiting government to doing what it can and does well. And what it only can do and should do. Not having government try to solve every problem that society faces.
And these are the things that liberalism is about, coming from liberty. It's not socialism or even but like progressivism trying to use government to make society better. It is progressive though, because again it's about promoting, advancing and protecting individual liberty for all, not just some. In the early 20th Century during the Teddy Roosevelt era which was called the Progressive Era, there was this feeling that America had to much inequality. And that a lot of Americans were falling through the cracks in the economy and that government should step in and solve these programs.
That government should create things like Unemployment Insurance, National Health Insurance, protecting workers rights and worker Safety. And a lot of these things were achieved in the FDR New Deal in the 1930s. These are all progressive policy's and a lot of Liberals all support these goals. But these aren't liberal policy's, because they are about using government to help people in need. Instead of empowering people in need to help themselves become self-sufficient.
And some so-called Liberals may sound similar as Liberals, but they are different because a lot of people who are called Liberals today, are really not. They have some liberal positions on most if not all social issues. But they tend to have social democratic views on economic policy. And that government especially the Federal Government should be a lot bigger to solve the problems that society faces. It's great that people who actually understand what liberalism is and what it's about speak out about it.
Liberals whether you want to call us Classical Liberals, (which is fine if you're talking about John F. Kennedy) should give speeches and lectures about it and even make videos about it. Because a lot of Americans especially in the media don't understand what liberalism is. And get it mixed up with progressivism and democratic socialism. Which unlike liberalism aren't individualist ideology's, but collectivist ideology's using government through high tax rates to make society equal. Where liberalism is about using government to make people freer so we can all as a society enjoy individual liberty.
Liberalism is a political ideology based on realism and the real word. It's not about perfection and making the world as perfect and great for everyone, but instead creating a society where as many people as possible can thrive and achieve individual freedom for themselves. The ability for as many people as possible to live in freedom and make their own economic and personal decisions and then live with the consequences of those decision for the best and worst of their decisions. Doesn't sound very idealistic or realistic and something that some Hollywood movie would be based on that prefers socialism because of how romantic and idealistic it is. But liberalism is based on realism and how the world really works. Where the best decisions tend to be made.