The latest edition of the BBC Radio 4 program Analysis is on The Gold Standard. I’m not an advocate of the gold standard (that is the view that all currency should be based by gold reserves) myself, but it is important to keep discussing whether it or fiat (created at will) forms of money are better for economic stability and a liberal society. We should certainly also welcome the BBC engaging with free market ideas. The presenter does come down against the gold standard in the end, but gold stand advocates (sometimes known unkindly as goldbugs) are given a full chance to explain the case for it.
Bleeding Heart Libertarians has been in a long exchange with a prominent left leaning blog Crooked Timber about state regulation of employee rights. It’s an entertainingly aggressive exchange between various contributors at these two group blogs. There are too many items to provide links, but the relevant posts are easy to find by visiting the home pages. At Liberal Vision we are supporting BLH arguments about the importance of choice between employers in a free market, as the basis of employee freedom, but checking the other side’s arguments at CT is recommended as well. Tyler Cowen has intervened on the BLH side at Marginal Revolution. Left leaning blogger Matthew Yglesias also weighs in at Slate, but closer to the BLH argument than the CT argument, which shows why we should be willing to talk to, and try to influence, anyone who is open to hearing classical liberal and libertarian ideas.
The leading online philosophy resource, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, has just updated an entry on Catherine Macaulay, an eighteenth century historian and philosopher, who was a prominent advocate of what was then called republicanism, which is what we would call classical liberalism now. Beware of attempts by left-liberals to steal the republican heritage, since ancient Rome and Greece, for themselves though. Catherine Macaulay does not appear to have been related to the famous Whig-Liberal historian and politician, Thomas Babington Macaulay. She was a distinguished thinker and polemicist in her own right, a part of our heritage at Liberal Vision. (Hat tip to Philosophy Feeds on Twitter).
Recently out in paperback, Gerald Gaus’ The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom and Morality in a Diverse and Bounded World. First published in 2010, this work of classical liberal thought has become one of the most influential books in political theory around. A very academic approach, but for those who like that kind of thing essential reading. Gaus is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Arizona, where his colleagues include David Schmidtz, a leading academic libertarian. I’m hoping to meet Schmidtz soon at an international academic summer school in Istanbul, where I will contribute a session on Tocqueville, Schmidtz is one of the star speakers/tutors. Both Gaus and Schmidtz are involved in the University of Arizona’s Freedom Center (Schmidtz was the founding director), which brings together academics concerned with liberty form Arizona U and across the United States. Gaus was the founding editor of a well known academic journal, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, which is a great place to find academic material of a classical liberal and libertarian orientation. Gaus and Schmitdtz are a large part of the reason that Arizona U’s philosophy department is a world leader in political philosophy. The leading exercise in ranking philosophy departments, The Philosophical Gourmet Report made that department the number one department in the English speaking world for political philosophy.
So lots of great news from Arizona about the rising influence of classical liberal, and libertarian ideas, in the academic world, and there is more from other places in academia, the blogosphere and so on. Be of good cheer liberty lovers.