What is classical liberalism? | Classical Liberalism

As a moral and political philosophy, classical liberalism lays a framework for the good society.

  • The moral and political philosophy known as classical liberalism is built around a number of core concepts, including, perhaps most importantly, human dignity and individual liberty.
  • Emily Chamlee-Wright, president of the Institute for Humane Studies, introduces these two principles as forces that shape the liberal notion of justice. This applies to both individuals' treatment of others, as well as the government's treatment of individuals.
  • This just conduct contributes to the liberal ideal: the good society. By emphasizing the individual, liberalism encourages collaboration and cooperation while also offering the freedom to make choices and learn from failure.
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  • 12min summarizes hundreds of best-selling books down to essential 12-minute microbooks.
  • Microbooks are downloadable in both text and audio formats.
  • You can request a 12min summary of any non-fiction book not in their vast library.
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#10: Become an intellectual explorer | Top 10 2019

The countdown is on for our top 10 videos of the year! Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? This video will teach you to have better conversations using 3 key design principles.

  • Big Think's #10 most popular video of 2019 will teach you how to expand your intellect through the art of insightful conversation. First up: What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
  • Emily Chamlee-Wright, president and CEO of the Institute for Humane Studies, details the 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
  • Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
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Insiders and outsiders keep democracy alive: Whistleblowing, civil disobedience and discourse

From the Revolutionary War, to Rosa Parks and #MeToo, whistleblowing and civil disobedience are in America's DNA.

Insiders and outsiders keep democracy alive: Whistleblowing, civil disobedience and discourse
  • The first U.S. whistleblower protection law was passed unanimously in 1778 in response to the misconduct of Navy Commodore Esek Hopkins.
  • Whistleblowing and civil disobedience are tools of discourse that keep elites honest and protect democracy.
  • The difference? Whistleblowers are insiders who expose improper conduct to the authorities or to the press. Civil disobedience starts with outsiders whose actions slowly gain popular support, which then catalyzes change.
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Rules for civil engagement: How to talk with someone unlike yourself

Here are some practical ways to disagree and get along with someone at the same time.

Rules for civil engagement: How to talk with someone unlike yourself
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • There are a basic set of rules you can use when talking with someone who believes different things than you do, says Jonathan Zimmerman.
  • Statements like, "You're a blankety-blank" close discussions rather than open them. Instead, say, "You know, that's interesting. That's not the way I see it. Tell me more about why you think that." Being more open about your intentions can help, too. Tell the person that you see the issue from a different angle, and ask them what they think of your view.
  • A key rule for civil discourse, especially in this political climate, is to recognize the difference between emotion and argument. The depth of conviction with which something is said is not a substitute for argument quality or truth.
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Have you accidentally offended someone? Here’s advice for you and them.

Here's what to say in an era where many people are too afraid to say anything.

Have you accidentally offended someone? Here’s advice for you and them.
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • In a diverse world, we run the risk of accidentally saying something that will offend someone. That does not mean you should automatically be disqualified from continuing in the discussion. We cannot have a 'one strike you're out' reaction, says Allison Stanger.
  • If you offend someone inadvertently, it's extremely important that you apologize and say 'That was not my intention.' Apologizing is the foundation for being able to move forward, and if the offense caused was accidental, there's no reason not to apologize.
  • If you are the person who has been offended, realize that people make mistakes when they think out loud and engage in discourse. We cannot stamp out implicit biases but people can grow self-aware and learn from their mistakes. Try to be more generous to people who accidentally offend you.
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Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation

Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? Learn to have better conversations using these 3 design principles.

Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation
Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
  • There are 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
  • Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
Keep reading