Lost Language, Lost Liberalism

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


Classical liberal meaning
New meanings; confusions
The most central rights are those of CJ/liberty. Rights imply duties, but duties are not confined to governmental legal impositions. They include moral duties (or accountability to disapproval, disapprobation, and abstention). Thus, rights are very broad and take different schemes.(1) Rights are only what are enforced by governmental legal impositions. All rights are “positive.” (2) Schemes of rights at odds with the atomistic configuration (“right to food”, etc.).

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