Phi Beta Cons

Liberals (True Liberals, Not Statist Pseudo-liberals) Meet in Charlotte

In a recent meeting at Johnson & Wales University, a private school located in Charlotte, NC, classical liberal thinkers got together to discuss their projects and goals — an event meant to “bridge the academic and policy worlds.” In today’s Pope Center piece, Harry Painter writes about the gathering, which brought together quite a few people, mostly from the Carolinas.

Adam Smith was the main instigator. Really. I refer to economics professor Adam C. Smith of Johnson & Wales.

Painter explains that “The main goals of the conference were networking and informing classical liberal scholars about what their colleagues are doing and what resources may be available. Five professors shared stories and best practices of the classical liberal centers they have established or run on campus.” One audience member commented that the classical liberal tradition ought to be revived in disciplines other than economics, where it has the strongest presence currently. Excellent point, although I suspect that trying to bring classical liberal thinking into fields such as political science and philosophy will face the same problem as organ transplants — the body treats it as an invader and attacks.

The success of the conference bodes well for future gatherings, probably including students.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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