Eamonn Butler

Author and broadcaster on economics and social issues

Classical Liberalism: A Primer

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This short primer outlines the principles and history of classical liberalism, and the main debates that have gone on within this important intellectual movement. Listing the features that make someone a classical liberal, he stresses the priority of individual freedom in social, political and economic life, as well as toleration, the rule of law, limited government, free speech, and spontaneous social orders. He traces the history of classical liberalism back to Anglo-Saxon England, and explains how the philosophy of classical liberalism was developed by thinkers such as John Locke, Adam Smith, the US Founding Fathers, and modern thinkers such as F A Hayek and Milton Friedman. He explains that classical liberalism is not a fixed ideology, but a spectrum of views on social, economic and political issues, based in a belief that society is best advanced by unleashing the genius of a free people.

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