Friday, 12 March 2010

Stephen Davies - Time to Revive ‘Individualism’?



Stephen Davies is a Program Officer at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. Prior to joining IHS, he was Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and Economic History at Manchester Metropolitan University. Dr. Davies received his PhD in history from St. Andrews University in Scotland and recently completed a book on modernity and the history of the world since 1250.

In recent years there has been a clear revival of a political philosophy or coherent set of beliefs, which currently tends to go by the name of ‘libertarianism’ or (among intellectuals) ‘classical liberalism’. This tends to be identified with a particular economic perspective, centred on free markets, but in fact that is only one part of it and in many ways a secondary one. At the moment there are two related problems or obstacles. One is that these ideas tend to be associated with conservatism and a set of other ideas, which in fact are often opposed to them. The other apparently trivial but in fact significant is that of the name given to them. The argument is that it is time to revive the label that they had in the past, that of ‘Individualism’. The history of this term and movement is set out and the benefits of reviving it. The application of the ideas to the present are also set out.

In the video below, Stephen Davies answers questions on his thesis that classical liberals should call themselves (again) individualists.

5 comments:

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