Nobel Laureate James Buchanan collects in this volume original and recent hard-to-find essays exploring liberalism and conservatism as distinct ways of looking at and thinking about the realm of human interaction. Classical liberalism is presented here as a coherent political and economic position, as distinguished from both modern liberalism and conservatism.
The book comprises chapters which, taken together, assign a central and critical role to individual liberty. The liberalism is classical in its continuation of normative arguments made by the great liberal thinkers of three centuries, including the American Founders and culminating in the recent works of F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman. The author discusses the status quo in the conservative position, normative presuppositions for democracy, and examines what seem to be the conservative assumptions about the nature of human beings. The introductory and concluding chapters, written specifically for this volume, are designed to place both the essays and his own position in the broader perspective of political philosophy.
Students and scholars of economics, political science and philosophy will find this collection a provocative and necessary addition to their library. Liberals and conservatives alike will find the arguments insightful and absorbing.