May 21, 2013

Fearing Freedom: The Intellectual and Spiritual Challenge to Liberalism

  • Peter J. Boettke

    Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
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Read the paper on SSRN.com 

In “The Soul of Classical Liberalism” (2000), James Buchanan argues that modern advocates of the liberal order must move beyond the mid-20th century project of “saving the books” and “saving the ideas” and instead embrace the challenge of “saving the soul” of liberalism. The prospects for establishing a genuine liberal order turn on capturing the intellectual imagination of a significant segment of the population. This paper examines the themes Buchanan raises in three essays that focus our attention on these critical issues; they are “The Potential and Limits of Socially Organized Humankind” (1988); “The Soul of Classical Liberalism” (2000); and “Afraid to Be Free” (2005).