I am so happy to present to you a book that can save the US and the world. In fact, I think this book by the great Richard Ebeling – his writing is beloved by readers of AIER.org – is a mighty achievement. In the tradition of Mises’s Liberalism (1929), For a New Liberalism maps out the meaning, significance, and future of the free society. Like Mises, he writes this in difficult times, but the vision is there, as a corrective to both right and left (the book is balanced here!) and also shows that genuine liberalism is the right way forward for the ennoblement of the individual and the whole of humanity.
The erudition here is awesome but also purposeful: we can learn from thinkers of the past and better root the goal of a free society in a tradition of thought that long precedes the late 20th century. The discovery of freedom emerged gradually over the centuries, beginning with the end of the religious wars and the beginning of tolerance as a political principle.
Liberalism came to the world in waves: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, trial by jury, decentralization, free trade, the end of the guilds and the beginning of producer competition, consumers as the driving force of economic life, and so on. The difference between the liberty of the ancients and the moderns, Benjamin Constant said, was precisely the embrace of commercial freedom as an essential application
The word over time became corrupted, and still is to a great extent, by people who try to enlist their pet cause in the idea. But nothing can take away that great first principle of liberalism: that society can manage itself to bringing dignity to the lives of individuals and communities without overlords scripting and planning. This is the core theme of Ebeling’s brilliant analysis.
Why liberalism and not “libertarianism?” I don’t mind that long word but there is vast confusion about its meaning — i would say even more confusion on this word than liberalism itself. Now that the progressives have mostly stopped using the word they stole, we should take it back. As Mises said, it is the only right and proper term to describe our tradition and it also has the right international meaning.
Richard has worked for decades in the academic realm. Many of his books are basically unaffordable from what I can see. This one, newly published by AIER, is meant to be bought and read by everyone. It’s a passionate plea and inspiration to reject the statism of both left and right and rally around the capacity of individuals and society to manage without top-down control.
Here is a fresh look and a new presentation that speaks not only to history but to our times directly — correctly naming the threats and the answers. If you care, if you love freedom, if you love peace and prosperity, get this book, share this book, rally behind this book. I do think it is that important.
You can get your copy here.