Friedman On Liberalism

And why this blog still claims to be “liberal” (even though I’m accustomed to using the term “libertarian” so as not to confuse our American friends):

Because of the corruption of the term liberalism, the views that formerly went under that name are now often labeled conservatism. But this is not a satisfactory alternative. The nineteenth-century liberal was a radical, both in the etymological sense of going to the root of the matter, and in the political sense of favoring major changes in social institutions. So too must be his modern heir. We do not wish to conserve the state interventions that have interfered so greatly with our freedom, though, of course, we do wish to conserve those that have promoted it. Moreover, in practice, the term conservatism has come to cover so wide a range of views, and views so incompatible with one another, that we shall no doubt see the growth of hyphenated designations, such as libertarian-conservative and aristocratic-conservative.

Partly because of my reluctance to surrender the term to proponents of measures that would destroy liberty, partly because I cannot find a better alternative, I shall resolve these difficulties by using the world liberalism in its original sense – as the doctrines pertaining to a free man.

Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (p. 6)

Now, Mr Friedman and I aren’t necessarily in the same boat – there’s at least one sentence in there that I wholeheartedly disagree with – but he makes a very good point on the term of “liberalism” and it’s definitely necessary to point this out again.

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One Response to “Friedman On Liberalism”

  1. danielquenton Says:

    I agree 100%.


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