Epstein on Classical Liberalism

quotes economics classical liberalism libertarianism anarchism progressivism

21 May 2014

Richard Epstein on classical liberalism:

In my first encounter with progressive thought in college and law school in the 1960s, I thought that the progressive agenda was unpersuasive, both for its cavalier disregard of specific constitutional texts, and for its uncritical embrace of large government. I fancied myself a libertarian who insisted that the sole function of government was the control of force and fraud. Over years, my position evolved toward classical liberalism, which regards it as proper for government to also supply public goods like courts and infrastructure, to regulate monopoly, to tax to raise general revenues, and to use its eminent domain power to acquire specific assets needed for public use. My objective was to take the middle path between anarchy on the one side and state domination on the other. Classical liberalism stands in opposition to both hard-core libertarian minimalism and the unbounded progressive state.

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