Liberalism has been an influence on some political and economical systems such as Capitalism or Democracy, but its origin has been ambiguous throughout history. In this first session, the economist, Daniel Klein, details the birth of the idea until it became the liberalism we know today.
Klein indicates that to understand liberalism it is necessary to have in mind that it is a civilization concern that is still in progress. He presents a prehistoric time where humans tended to social cohesion with no privacy.
After this, he moved forward to 1440 - 1700 A.C. where individuals began to have a sense of their beliefs, and the freedom of religion was introduced, so they started with a free market and traded even though they didn’t have the same ideals or religions. Klein points out that liberalism was born thanks to Christianism.
We’re killing each other trying to agree in this whole integrated worldview. How about if we clarify the low things at the bottom of the pyramid, focus on protecting and letting people work with those, as a kind of operating system to pursue the higher things.” - Daniel Klein
The economist reveals some liberalist pioneers such as Hugo Grotius, John Locke, and Samuel Pufendorf, who suggest the jurisprudential element in moral philosophy, where people should be patient to the government because through the time they chose it, but it also justifies the ousting of the government because of abuse of power.
Klein mentions David Hume and Adam Smith, who proposed commutative justice, which could be accomplished if people reached an equal-equal relationship where they don’t see their neighbors as different, and distinguish this from the superior-inferior relationship.
Not messing with other people's stuff has a flipside, others not messing with your stuff. So it's got this logical flipside, that turns it around from a virtue to a right that you may claim about your stuff.” - Daniel Klein
To conclude, Klein explains that liberalism is a political persuasion that may suggest that communism, socialism, and cohesion is harmful, but everything else is at the hand of the individual to make decisions. He emphasizes that it is not a philosophy of life, but it could be part or a guide to build a philosophy.
Economist, professor and author
Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.
Universidad Francisco Marroquín