In Defense of Freedom

Editorials by Godwin Olivier



What Happened to Old Fashioned Liberalism?


After World War II, Friedrich A. Hayek warned of the dangers of collectivism. He saw the same socialist-totalitarian trends in Great Britain that were rising in Nazi Germany over the previous decades. He said that collectivism is “the Road to Serfdom” and thus titled his book.
Today, however, the entire world is headed towards precisely those things which he warned of. He wasn’t the only great defender of liberalism. Lord Acton, John Milton, Milton Friedman, and Ronald Reagan’s core beliefs all centered around belief in liberalism.
But liberals are democrats, right? Wasn’t Reagan a conservative, not a liberal?
The victory of Marxists, socialists, and collectivists in America today was made possible only by the corruption of the English language. If Democrats were associated with “Marxists” or “Collectivists” they wouldn’t get any votes. One of their great victories was to mar the name of liberalism with their own reviled ideas, ideas that run counter to everything liberalism once was. As a political and moral philosophy, liberalism has been cast out in the wilderness for the last 40 years.
It is time for it to return.
Liberalism, in the older sense of the word, is based on the philosophical principles of liberty, hence, freedom, including economic freedom. It is unknown in the American psyche of the younger generation and even much of the older generation today. It is given short shrift in high school history class, treated as the irresponsible chaos of a less enlightened era.
As Milton Friedman points out the truth the fifth column lefties have worked so hard to hide, economic freedom is just another part of all freedom, which includes social and political freedom as well. They are all intertwined. So the higher our taxes are, the more freedom government is taking away from us. The justification for less freedom is seen in numerous noble-sounding phrases stemming from the theme of “social justice.” But as F.A. Hayek points out so insightfully, it is telling that in the culture of our ancients, the deities of justice were blind. Any system which seeks to redistribute wealth and jobs according to wealth, race, and status are inherently unjust.
If freedom and the rule of law are to be preserved, the State must not be able to protect us from all of the vicissitudes of a market economy. Political favoritism results only in providing security for some, while destroying prosperity for others, including the poor. It breeds class envy and makes government the source of economic security – rather than hard work and intelligence. Such a situation can only corrupt the democratic process.
If you want to know more, check out the following books:
The Road to Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek
Capitalism & Freedom, by Milton Friedman


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Past Editorials


  Date: 12/14/02