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In Two Volumes
Democracy and Libertyis the most thorough manual of conservative politics produced during the nineteenth century.
— Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind
"When democracy turns, as it often does, into a corrupt plutocracy, both national decadence and social revolution are being prepared." So wrote the Irish-born historian, W. E. H. Lecky (1838–1903) in this devastating assault on mass democracy.
Lecky spoke for the landed gentry and the upper middle classes of late Victorian England when he warned his countrymen that an unfettered democracy would destroy the balance of interests in the community and thereby undermine the Constitution.
"A tendency to democracy," said Lecky, "does not mean a tendency to parliamentary government, or even a tendency toward greater liberty." Indeed, the type of democracy emerging in Britain seemed to be the rudiment of socialism.
The State Constitutional Conventions of the 1820s
William Leggett (1801–1839) was the intellectual leader of the laissez-faire wing of Jacksonian democracy. His diverse writings applied the principle of equal rights to liberty and property. These editorials maintain a historical and contemporary relevance.
Lawrence H. White is Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia.
Originally published posthumously, in Latin, in 1695, The Divine Feudal Law sets forth Pufendorf’s basis for the reunion of the Lutheran and Calvinist confessions. This attempt to seek a “conciliation” between the confessions complements the concept of toleration discussed in Of the Nature and Qualification of Religion in Reference to Civil Society. In both works Pufendorf examines the proper way to secure the peaceful coexistence of different confessions in a state.
Although he argued in Of the Nature that maintaining peace and order in the state does not require all subjects to share one belief, Pufendorf also believed that “true” Christianity was beneficial to society. For that reason he advocated a reunion of the confessions on the basis of fundamental truths that he believed were contained in the Bible, saying a conciliation should be enforced not by law but by mutual agreement of the dissenting parties. Therefore, the reunion of the confessions must be accompanied by toleration.
Samuel Pufendorf (1632–1694) was one of the most important figures in early-modern political thought. An exact contemporary of Locke and Spinoza, he transformed the natural law theories of Grotius and Hobbes, developed striking ideas of toleration and of the relationship between church and state, and wrote extensive political histories and analyses of the constitution of the German empire.
Theophilus Dorrington (1654–1715) was an Anglican clergyman and polemicist against Dissent.
Simone Zurbuchen is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.
Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow
Reflectiosn from Europe, 2008-2012
Economic Sense and Nonsense comprises a collection of sixty essays written by Anthony de Jasay for his monthly column “Reflections from Europe,” on Liberty Fund’s Library of Economics and Liberty website. The articles span the years 2008 to 2012 and focus on economic issues of topical concern in Europe.
In this collection Jasay continues his explorations of a number of themes that he developed in his earlier articles, such as the importance of property rights, the role of contracts in economic activity, the proper limitations of the state, and the attitude of intellectuals concerning the regulation of the free market. With the outbreak of the economic crisis of mid-2008, Jasay spends considerable time discussing its origins, the reactions of governments in both Europe and the United States, and the ensuing euro crisis, thus adding another dimension to his analysis of the economic woes of the industrialized world.
Jasay’s analysis demonstrates that the post–World War II experiment in building welfare states in Europe has reached a crisis point that will require deep and radical changes in thinking both by intellectuals about the nature of free markets and by policy makers about the intended and unintended impact of the regulations they adopt.
Anthony de Jasay is an independent theorist living in France.
In the turbulent years between passage of the Federal Reserve Act (1913) and the Bretton Woods Agreement (1945), the peoples of the Western world suffered two World Wars, two major and several minor international financial panics, an epidemic of currency devaluations and debt repudiations, civil wars, and revolutions. They also enjoyed a decade of unprecedented prosperity and a decade of unprecedented depression and deflation. They also saw the beginning of a period of prolonged, world-wide inflation.
No period in history could serve better as a case study for the analysis of applied economic policy. From his vantage point as economist for the Chase Manhattan Bank and editor of the Chase Economic Bulletin, who participated in much of what he records, Dr. Anderson here describes the climactic events of a turbulent era.
Arthur Kemp is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Claremont McKenna College.
Correspondence and Writings on Religion and Practical Philosophy
George Turnbull belongs with a group of early Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, including Francis Hutcheson, who found their native Calvinism too repressive. They sought to relocate religion within a context of reason and science and to establish a tolerant and humane ethic upon values rooted in classical ideals.
In a distinctive voice, Turnbull presented natural-law theory “scientifically,” harnessed the arts to promote moral and civil virtue, and extolled reason as the foundation of liberty. The works in this volume exhibit the close interrelations between these concerns and show him as a paradigmatic “Enlightenment” figure. This extremely rare material includes two Aberdeen graduation theses, three tracts on religion, various writings on education and art, and, for the first time in print, the correspondence of Turnbull.
George Turnbull (1698–1748) was born in Scotland and ordained into the Church of England in 1739. A key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, he taught moral philosophy at Marischal College, Aberdeen, where one of his pupils was Thomas Reid, who became the main representative of the Scottish Common Sense philosophy.
M. A. Stewart is Honorary Research Professor in the History of Philosophy at the Universities of Lancaster and Aberdeen.
Paul Wood is Professor of History at the University of Victoria.