I’ve been busy talking up the libertarian moment, libertarian ideas, and The Libertarian Mind (buy it now, available everywhere) in person and in print lately. Here are a few recent examples.
My article on America’s libertarian roots in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer:
Indeed, the principles of the Declaration are so closely associated with libertarianism that the Chinese edition of my previous book, Libertarianism: A Primer, features a cover photograph of the famous room in Independence Hall, complete with Windsor chairs and green tablecloths.
Libertarianism is the philosophy of freedom. It has, in different form throughout history, inspired people who fought for freedom, dignity, and individual rights — the early advocates of religious tolerance, the opponents of absolute monarchy, the American revolutionaries, the abolitionists, antiwar advocates and anti‐imperialists, opponents of National Socialism and communism.
Black history is American history, a story of oppression and liberation rooted in the libertarian idea of individual rights. Much of the progress we have made in the United States has involved extending the promises of the Declaration of Independence — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — to more and more people. The emphasis on the individual mind in the Enlightenment, the individualist nature of market capitalism and the demand for individual rights that inspired the American Revolution naturally led people to think more carefully about the nature of the individual and gradually to recognize that the dignity of individual rights should be extended to all.
Where am I the most optimistic? I am optimistic that around the world more and more people are moving into a world of property rights, markets, globalization, human rights, women’s rights, access to information and opportunity. Now that’s obviously not true everywhere; there are, at any given moment, unfortunate setbacks in Venezuela and Russia and some of Eastern Europe. But I do think the largest historical trend of our time is the move in a broadly libertarian direction, and therefore toward a higher standard of living for billions of people around the world.
Are you thinking of the growing middle class in China and India when you say this?
Absolutely. The change in economic conditions in China and India — right there you got one‐third of the world. But also there have been some advances in the direction of human rights in Africa as well. So in a great deal of the world, you’ve seen a huge reduction in poverty and absolute poverty, and a rising middle class in many of these countries.