Ralph Raico

Articles by Ralph Raico

Classical Liberal Roots of the Marxist Doctrine of Classes

Few ideas are as closely associated with Marxism as the concepts of class and class conflict. It is, for instance, impossible to imagine what a Marxist philosophy of history or a Marxist revolutionary theory would be in their absence. Yet, as with much else in Marxism, these concepts remain ambiguous and contradictory. For instance, while Marxist doctrine supposedly grounds classes in the process of production, The Communist Manifesto asserts in its famous opening lines:The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another…On examination these opposed pairs turn out to be, either wholly or in part,

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How Churchill Built the Welfare State in Britain

In 1900 Churchill began the career he was evidently fated for. His background—the grandson of a duke and son of a famous Tory politician—got him into the House of Commons as a Conservative. At first he seemed to be distinguished only by his restless ambition, remarkable even in parliamentary ranks. But in 1904, he crossed the floor to the Liberals, supposedly on account of his free-trade convictions. However, Robert Rhodes James, one of Churchill’s admirers, wrote: "It was believed [at the time], probably rightly, that if Arthur Balfour had given him office in 1902, Churchill would not have developed such a burning interest in free trade and joined the Liberals." Clive Ponting notes that: "as he had already admitted to Rosebery, he was looking for an excuse to defect from a party that

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Liberalism and Peace

Recorded at the 2003 Supporters Summit: Prosperty, War, and Depression. Ralph Raico discusses how from Jefferson to Madison, and on to Bastiat, Molinari, and Spencer, the "classical" liberals routinely denounced war as the enemy of freedom, prudence, and natural rights. Instead, militarism and imperialism have long been the domain of the enemies of private property and other apologists for the state.


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The “Old” vs. the “New” Liberalism

It is not disputed that the popular meaning of liberal has changed drastically over time. It is a well-known story how, around 1900, in English-speaking countries and elsewhere, the term was captured by writers who were essentially social democrats.

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How Historians Changed the Meaning of “Liberalism”

Understandably enough, the current disfavor into which socialism has fallen has spurred what Raimondo Cubeddu (1997: 138) refers to as “the frenzy to proclaim oneself a liberal.” Many writers today have recourse to the stratagem of “inventing for oneself a ‘liberalism’ according to one’s own tastes” and passing it off as an “evolution” from past ideas.

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