Liberalism—or, to clarify, classical liberalism, the liberalism of Adam Smith, George Washington, and James Madison, which developed a few centuries ago and cherishes free markets, limited government, and flourishing social institutions—is (like the necktie) a bit out of favor. That’s ironic, because it produced so much good.
Fortunately, he lived long enough to see his towering intellect recognized again. Both Keynesians and socialists were eventually defeated soundly by the tide of events and the truth of his teachings. Classical liberalism is once again a vibrant body of thought. Austrian economics has re-emerged as a major school of economic thought, and younger scholars in law, history, economics, politics, and philosophy are pursuing Hayekian themes.
One of the most pressing deficiencies of the defenders of the market economy: the lack of myths. In contrast to the left and its romanticization of symbols that were once the incarnation of the most stupendous oppression the earth has ever witnessed, the right and its families are orphaned of intellectual and political referents. Therefore, it is necessary to select and resignify some historical figures that, although we may disagree with certain actions, as a whole serve to embody values that we share.
The Catholic University conducted a survey on the thinkers most cited by specialists in the economic field. Liberals top the list.
On one side, we have the socialist model: high taxes, high regulation, less competition and declining public services with government imposing itself as the solver and arbiter of all social problems. On the other side, we have the Miami model: low taxes, low regulation and a commitment to public safety and private enterprise. The models present a stark choice on issues ranging from personal freedom, economic opportunity, public safety and the role of government.