Why Liberalism Works

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey

£20.00

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Yale University Press
26 November 2019
ISBN: 9780300235081
Hardback

From the publisher

An insightful and passionately written book explaining why a return to Enlightenment ideals is good for the world

"Beginning with the simple but fertile idea that people should not push other people around, Deirdre McCloskey presents an elegant defense of 'true liberalism' as opposed to its well-meaning rivals on the left and the right. Erudite, but marvelously accessible and written in a style that is at once colloquial and astringent."-Stanley Fish

The greatest challenges facing humankind, according to Deirdre McCloskey, are poverty and tyranny, both of which hold people back. Arguing for a return to true liberal values, this engaging and accessible book develops, defends, and demonstrates how embracing the ideas first espoused by eighteenth-century philosophers like Locke, Smith, Voltaire, and Wollstonecraft is good for everyone.

With her trademark wit and deep understanding, McCloskey shows how the adoption of Enlightenment ideals of liberalism has propelled the freedom and prosperity that define the quality of a full life. In her view, liberalism leads to equality, but equality does not necessarily lead to liberalism. Liberalism is an optimistic philosophy that depends on the power of rhetoric rather than coercion, and on ethics, free speech, and facts in order to thrive.