Lost Language, Lost Liberalism

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


Classical liberal meaning
New meanings; confusions
Property is something owned by the owner(s) of the property; ownership is understood as exclusion or dominion over the property, understood on an individualistic/atomistic configuration of ownership; the exclusion/dominion claim is not morally absolute/indefeasible/axiomatic, but it is presumptive.State/polity/people as overlord, with private property as either enveloped within a supposed social contract or as a tenant-like subdominion, sometimes thought of as a “bundle of rights.”

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