Gus diZerega Liberalism is the first Western political outlook to begin freeIt is unfortunate that much liberal theory never fully appreing itself from the intuitively commonsense notion that social ciated the importance of this concept. The beguiling value of order required a great Legislator. The earliest thinkers associrational control suggested an alternative: that science and wise ated with the rise of liberalism, such as Thomas Hobbes, still leadership could best improve humanity's well being. The specshared this view. But leading members of the Scottish tacular successes of science and later of industrial organization, Enlightenment made a conceptual breakthrough, grasping that lent credence to this alternative view, which ignored that the important kinds of social order were the unintended consequences frameworks supporting both science and industry were themof people pursuing quite different purposes. selves emergent orders.4 With the rise of liberal democracy and the industrial econDavid Hume emphasized the limits to human understanding omy, liberals were also confronted with problems unimagined were far greater than earlier Enlightenment thinkers had imagined, and that our conceptions of morality and justice emerged by their early theorists. The result was a deep split in liberal political thought, one that persists to this day.
The Good Society – Penn State University Press
Published: Aug 1, 2002
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