Sunday, July 15, 2007

Classical liberalism, reform liberalism and libertarianism lite (part II)
A Thinking Reed’s Lee goes over the book The Making and Unmaking of Technological Society
Early modern liberalism, or “classical” liberalism, Jardine argues, combined a new sense of individual freedom to be secured by limited government and the free market with the remnants of a natural law ethic. This ethic encouraged thrift, rationality, and productivity - the classic Protestant work ethic.

The next stage of liberalism is “reform” liberalism, or what we would identifiy as New Deal/Great Society liberalism.

Finally, with the economic stagnation that appeared to face western nations at the end of the 1970s we see the rise of what Jardine calls “neoclassical” liberalism, or what I would call “libertarianism lite.” This differs from reform liberalism in wanting to set the market free as an engine of wealth creation, but also differs from classical liberalism in rejecting the old bourgeois ethic in favor of a more thoroughgoing subjectivism about values.
The kind of people like the imaginary Alex P. Keaton and his creators who think conservatism means playing the stock market and not Russell Kirk’s ideas (‘Wasn’t he the captain of the Enterprise? That hammy Canadian who! Talked! Like! This?’)
The purpose of life becomes one of self-expression through consumption, cultivating a particular “lifestyle.”
Why many/most people today aren’t very nice.

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