More on Liberty and Homer: Tacitus, Montesquieu, and Humboldt

As I have discussed before here, there is a way of writing about liberty in a conscious focus on political thought, which finds liberty to be emulated in some respect, going back at least to the first century Roman historian Tacitus. He was referring to the condition of the ancient Britons, within the Roman Empire, … Continue reading More on Liberty and Homer: Tacitus, Montesquieu, and Humboldt

Why Republican Libertarianism?

Barry Stocker barrystocker@mac.com This text was written for the European Students for Liberty Regional Conference in Istanbul at Boğaziçi University. I did not deliver the paper, but used it to gather thoughts which I then presented in an improvised speech. I Republicanism has been on the rise as a term in political theory debates since … Continue reading Why Republican Libertarianism?

Defending Political Liberty in an Administered World

This is a very rough work in progress continuing on from my recent post on ‘Law, Judgement, Republicanism’. The problems with a free and open political and judicial culture were diagnosed by Max Weber in his discussion of bureaucracy, which itself draws directly and indirectly on various accounts of the problems of bureaucratisation and administration … Continue reading Defending Political Liberty in an Administered World

Ottomanism, Nationalism, Republicanism II

In the last post, I gave some historical background on how the Ottoman state, whether in reformist or repressive mode (or some combination of the two), was on a road, at least from the early nineteenth century, that was very likely to end in a nation-state for the Turks of Anatolia and the Balkan region … Continue reading Ottomanism, Nationalism, Republicanism II

Law, Judgement, Republicanism

Draft material for a joint conference paper/Work in Progress on a long term project This paper comes out of a long term project to work on ideas of liberty in relation to republicanism in political thought, along with issues of law and sovereignty. The paper in question here comes out of collaborative work on questions … Continue reading Law, Judgement, Republicanism

Reply to ‘Classical Liberalism, Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism’

I write in reply to Edwin van de Haar’s post ‘Classical Liberalism, Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism’, which contains some generous remarks about my social media posts while putting forward a view different from my own about the role of the nation state. Edwin argues that the nation state is foundational to classical liberalism in that post. … Continue reading Reply to ‘Classical Liberalism, Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism’

The Case for the UK staying in the EU

Leaving the European Union would not be a gain for liberty in the United Kingdom. This is true as a matter of general principles and is reinforced by the nature of the Leave campaign which has targeted sections of the population hostile to immigration, open markets, and free trade. Much of the Leave campaigning which … Continue reading The Case for the UK staying in the EU

Liberty and the Novel I (Before Austen)

I’ve been working on Jane Austen and ethics recently. These ethical investigations have overlapped with considerations of politics and liberty, with regard to the progress of such ideas in the early nineteenth century when Austen was writing, along with the immediately preceding and following periods. There is a well known Marxist view of the history … Continue reading Liberty and the Novel I (Before Austen)

Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, V: Britain and European Models

The last post looked at how Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws, the biggest classic of Enlightenment political thought, certainly in size and probably in importance, does not offer Britain as the model of liberty for Europe. Rounding off that argument, Germany produced its own important liberty oriented thought at the end of the eighteenth century in … Continue reading Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, V: Britain and European Models

Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, IV: Britain the Enlightenment model for a liberal Europe?

Following on from last post in this series, focused on the violent formation of the nineteenth century British state, a largely political theory post on how far Britain had a special status as a model of liberalism and then democracy in Europe. Despite all the negative aspects discussed in the last post, there was of course some … Continue reading Myths of Sovereignty and British Isolation, IV: Britain the Enlightenment model for a liberal Europe?

Barbarian Liberty and Civilisation in Homer

Following from my last two posts, this will explore the sort of ‘barbarian’ liberty that Tacitus recognised in his time, that is of the early Roman empire, and was further explored by Montesquieu and Humboldt in the eighteenth century in relation to the poetry of Homer. ‘Homer’ here refers to two Greek epic poems attributed … Continue reading Barbarian Liberty and Civilisation in Homer

Why Republican Libertarianism? II

(This text was written for the European Students for Liberty Regional Conference in Istanbul at Boğaziçi University. I did not deliver the paper, but used it to gather thoughts which I then presented in an improvised speech. As it was quite a long text, I am breaking it up for the purposes of blog presentation) … Continue reading Why Republican Libertarianism? II

Expanding the Liberty Canon: Tacitus on Barbarian Liberty

Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman senator and historian from the early Roman Empire. Some details of his life are oddly evasive given his high status in the Roman system and his fame as a writer. It is not known what his first name was (Romans had three names), but Gaius and Publius are the most … Continue reading Expanding the Liberty Canon: Tacitus on Barbarian Liberty

Expanding the Liberty Canon: John Fortescue on the Laws and Government of England

John Fortescue (who was knighted and so is also known as Sir John Fortescue) lived from approximately from 1394  to 1480,  and so endured the Wars of the Roses, the highly destructive struggle of two families in the late Middle Ages for possession of the English crown. These wars were fictionalised and mythologised in the … Continue reading Expanding the Liberty Canon: John Fortescue on the Laws and Government of England