Lost Language, Lost Liberalism

A review of the changes 1880-1940 to the central semantics of liberal civilization.


Classical liberal meaning
New meanings; confusions
An agreed exchange of promises involving a meeting of minds or the procedural doings that customarily represent such a meeting of minds (e.g., the welcome entry and participation within the domain of another’s property).(1) Democracy, governmental procedure, or supposed consent given by choosing to exist within the overlord’s dominion; “social contract.” (2) Some vague set of agreements, only, not impelled by “necessity,” the “capitalist system,” etc., thus, it is not voluntary contract when one party, from poverty, is “forced to work.”

4L is authored by Daniel B. Klein, Professor of Economics, JIN Chair at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Associate Fellow of the Ratio Institute; email: dklein@gmu.edu

Quotations compiled by Ryan Daza & Daniel B. Klein