Classical Liberalism

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In March 2009, a symposium was held in honour of Norman P. Barry at the University of Buckingham, where he had been Professor of Social and Political Theory since 1984. Intended to mark his retirement, the symposium became a fitting commemoration for him following his death in October 2008. Most of the contributions to this collection are based on the papers read at the symposium by authors from Britain, the United States and beyond: Stephen Davies, Mustafa Erdogan, David Henderson, Terence Kealey, Julian Morris, Alan Peacock, Mark Pennington, Martin Ricketts, Colin Robinson, Charles Rowley, Nathanael Smith and Elaine Sternberg. Some of them review and assess Barry's achievement as a scholar and a teacher. Several are devoted to topics to which Barry made major contributions, such as business ethics and the modern relevance of Hayek's road to serfdom thesis. Others deal with topics such as environmental protection and social capital, which present equal challenges to the future relevance and vitality of the classical liberal tradition. A few years before his death, Barry's reputation as a scholar and exponent of classical liberalism in the tradition of F. A. Hayek earned him a commission to write a book about Ronald Dworkin, a leading exponent of modern liberalism and its foundation in an expansive conception of human rights in place of the individual liberty that classical liberals stress. Barry was unable to complete the project but he did compose an extended essay on Dworkin, which was never published in full in his lifetime. The complete version included in this collection is welcome compensation for the vigorous contribution Norman would undoubtedly have made at his own retirement symposium. Norman P. Barry, 1944 to 2008, was Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Buckingham. He played a significant part in the revival of classical liberal ideas in Britain since the 1970s. A political theorist by training, he was well-equipped to explore and expound the origins of the classical liberal tradition in the 17th and 18th centuries as well as the philosophical foundations of the modern classical liberal agenda of limited government, the rule of law and free markets. His earlier publications include Hayek's Social and Economic Philosophy (1979), On Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism (1986) and The New Right (1987). In the later years, his focus on applying classical liberal principles to a range of public policy issues resulted in a number of publications including Welfare (1990) and Business Ethics (1998). As a political theorist engaging with economics, he was an effective expositor of the Austrian School of economics and of the public choice analysis of government. His An Introduction to Modern Political Theory, first published in 1981, appeared in its fourth edition in 2000. Norman Barry was a lucid and engaging writer and teacher who used his talent for wit and irony to good effect in communicating often difficult or dry ideas to a wide and appreciative audience.