Why I, Too, Am Not a Conservative
Show Less

Why I, Too, Am Not a Conservative

The Normative Vision of Classical Liberalism

James M. Buchanan

Nobel Laureate James Buchanan collects in this volume original and recent hard-to-find essays exploring liberalism and conservatism as distinct ways of looking at and thinking about the realm of human interaction. Classical liberalism is presented here as a coherent political and economic position, as distinguished from both modern liberalism and conservatism.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details

Chapter 7: Classical Liberalism as an Organizing Ideal

James M. Buchanan

Extract

7. Classical liberalism as an organizing ideal* INTRODUCTION At the well-attended London general meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in October 2002, I found myself muttering, both to myself and others, ‘the gathering of the clan’ as I greeted fellow members from across the world, many of whom I saw only at these occasions. I think that ‘clan’ is the appropriate wording here, although ‘tribe’ might be a good substitute. There is clearly something that distinguishes members of this group from outsiders. We can, of course, say that we share an adherence to principles of classical liberalism, but this classification does not, in itself, get us very far. I want to go deeper into the questions that are raised in acknowledging the distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’ – between those for whom these principles carry normative motivation and those for whom any such motivation seems lacking. Why do these principles attract us, as an organizing ideal for the sort of social order that we prefer, when they fail to attract others? What is there about us that makes us so different in this respect? My concern is not with those whom we might call the ‘classical socialists’ – those who were indeed trapped in the ‘fatal conceit’ identified by Hayek; those who genuinely believed that persons would be transformed ‘after the revolution’; those who refused to acknowledge that incentives continue to matter; those who somehow thought that stylized shadow prices would emerge omnisciently from the planning boards. Hayek, and the classical liberals...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.


Further information

or login to access all content.