Schools of Thought in Classical Liberalism, Part 7: Conclusion: What's Your View?

Release Date
May 9, 2012

Topic

Free Markets and Capitalism
Description

In his conclusion to the series “Schools of Thought in Classical Liberalism,” Dr. Nigel Ashford asks: What do you think the role of government should be? How do you decide what government should or shouldn’t do? What’s your philosophy?
What do you believe?

  • Anarchy: there is no role for government.
  • Minimal government, or minarchy: government should provide an army, police, and courts, but nothing else.
  • Social market economy: government has a responsibility for helping the poorest in society and providing a basic welfare state.
  • Non–classical liberal views: it’s the role of the government to promote a virtuous society (conservatism), to create equality (leftist), to own or control all aspects of the economy (socialism), or to control every aspect of life (totalitarianism, communism, and fascism).

Political Principles Quiz  [Quiz]: Where do you stand on the questions addressed in this series? Take the Politopia Quiz to learn!
Classical Liberal Reading List  [Text]: This series hasn’t even scratched the surface of the classical liberal tradition. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of books, in multiple academic disciplines, about classical liberalism tradition. Kosmos has created a reading list to help you get started.
Questions:
1. How do you decide what the role of government should be?
2. Why should government be limited?

Schools of Thought in Classical Liberalism, Part 7: Conclusion: What’s Your View?
So what’s your view about what the role of government should be? What’s your criteria for deciding what you think government should do? What’s your methodology? What’s your philosophy for making that broad goal?
Why do you think government should be limited? Do you think it should be limited because of the consequences of government action? Do you think it should be limited because government infringes on your natural rights or our natural rights?
And finally, what do you think the role of government should be? Do you think there’s no role for government? Are you an anarchist? Do you believe the role of government should be minimal—it should only provide the army, the police, and the courts but nothing else? Do you believe that there are certain public goods like defense, like dealing with externalities such as the environment? Do you believe that there’s a social-market economy, that there is a responsibility for dealing with the poorest within society? We need some sort of basic welfare state such as making sure every child can go to school?
Or do you believe in nonclassical liberal views about the role of the state? Is it the job of the state to promote a virtuous society, as some conservatives would argue? Do you think it’s the job of the state to create equality, as many people would argue on the left, having an egalitarian state?
Are you a socialist? Do you believe that the government should either own or, if not necessarily own, control all aspects of the economy? Or are you—I hope not—a totalitarian, a fascist, or a communist who believes that the government should control every aspect of life? So the question is, what’s your view about the role of government?