The phrase “liberal right” may strike some people as a contradiction in terms. But it is not. It is an integration of terms that logically belong together.1 And it is an integration that advocates of reason and freedom would do well to understand and embrace.
Historically, the essential, life-serving characteristics of liberalism (i.e., classical liberalism) have been a concern for rational inquiry, individual rights, freedom of speech, and economic liberty. Likewise, the essential, life-serving characteristics of the political right (i.e., the American right) have been a concern for property rights, free markets, and the social system that protects them: capitalism.
Seen in this light, key principles of liberalism and the political right are of a piece. This will become increasingly clear as we lay out basic principles drawn from each, state them in terms of essentials, and see how they unite into a coherent ideology grounded in observation and logic.
The principles presented below are not an exhaustive list of the ideas of the liberal right. That would require a book. Rather, these are the most basic, most general principles of the ideology. Other principles that correspond to reality and thus support a culture of reason and freedom would qualify for inclusion in a comprehensive presentation. But our purpose here is to focus on essentials.
Nor is the aim of this essay to show the steps by which each principle is derived or induced. That too would require a book, or at least an article dedicated to each principle. (That said, I will include links or citations to articles or books that focus on such derivations.) Nor is the aim to show how these principles apply to various issues of the day. That is the purpose of a periodical such as The Objective Standard, which publishes a steady stream of articles in this vein.
The aim of the present essay is simply to set forth a body of integrated, observation-based principles in support of a culture of reason and freedom.
Principles of the Liberal Right
Reason is man’s only means of knowledge.
The entire history of civilization, science, and human progress demonstrates that man’s means of knowledge—and his only means of knowledge—is reason, the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses.2 . . .
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1. See Craig Biddle, “Liberal Right vs. Regressive Left and Religious ‘Right,’” The Objective Standard, Fall 2016.
2. See Ayn Rand, “The Objectivist Ethics,” in The Virtue of Selfishness (New York: Signet, 1964), 22.
3. For details on how reason operates, see Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 2nd ed. (New York: New American Library, 1990); and Harry Binswanger, How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation (New York: TOF Publications, 2014).
4. For a concise presentation of the evidence, integrations, and logic involved, see “Secular, Objective Morality: Look and See,” The Objective Standard, Summer 2017.
5. See Ayn Rand, “Causality Versus Duty,” in Philosophy: Who Needs It (New York: Signet, 1982), 95–101; and Craig Biddle, Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It (Richmond: Glen Allen Press, 2002), 43–52.
6. For detailed examinations of this and related principles, see Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness; and Biddle, Loving Life.
7. Ayn Rand, “Man’s Rights,” in The Virtue of Selfishness, 108.
8. For elaboration, see Rand, “Man’s Rights.”
9. A. Maurice Low, “What is Socialism? III: An Explanation of ‘The Rights’ Men Enjoy in a State of Civilized Society,” North American Review 197, no. 688 (March 1913): 405–6.
10. For elaboration, see Craig Biddle, “Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice,” The Objective Standard, Spring 2012.
11. For an explanation of how such a government would be voluntarily funded in a fully free society, see “How Would Government Be Funded in a Free Society?,” The Objective Standard, Summer 2012.
12. See Ayn Rand, “What Is Capitalism?,” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (New York: Signet, 1967), 19.
13. See Rand, “The Objectivist Ethics,” 37.
14. For elaboration, see Craig Biddle, “U.S. Foreign Policy: What’s the Purpose?,” The Objective Standard, Summer 2015.
15. For a detailed examination of the principles of capitalism, see Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. For an essay-length presentation, see Craig Biddle, “Capitalism and the Moral High Ground,” The Objective Standard, Winter 2008.
16. “See the Numbers—Giving USA 2017” (2016 numbers), June 12, 2017, https://givingusa.org/tag/giving-usa-2017/.
17. For more on this subject, see Biddle, Loving Life, 123–28.