Up From Liberalism—Now More Than Ever

I first read William F. Buckley’s classic 1959 treatise Up From Liberalism when I was in high school a long long time ago, and recently picked it up off the shelf for a quick re-reading.  And I’d recommend everyone read or re-read it, as many parts of it hold up extremely well, and could be deployed even more urgently today.  For example:

The salient economic assumptions of liberalism are socialist.  They center on the notion that the economic ass can be driven to Point A by the judicious use of carrot-and-stick, an approach that supersedes the traditional notion of conservatives and classical liberals that we are not to begin with dealing with asses, and that Point A cannot possibly, in a free society, be presumed to be the desired objective of tens of millions of individual human beings.

The liberal sees no moral problem whatever in divesting the people of that portion of their property necessary to finance the projects certified by ideology as beneficial to the Whole. . .

The call by liberalism to conformity with its economic dispensations does not grow out of the economic requirements of modern life; but rather out of liberalism’s total appetite for power.  The root assumptions of liberal economic theory are that there is no serious economic problem; that in any case economic considerations cannot be permitted to stand in the way of “progress”; that, economically speaking, the people are merely gatherers of money which it is the right and duty of a central intelligence to distribute.


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