At the Institute for Humane Studies, we believe that ideas within the classical liberal intellectual tradition are a driving force of well-being for all people.
The classical liberal tradition has a rich history, drawing upon a variety of ancient and medieval sources, as well as eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century thinkers. It continues to be developed by scholars today. Like all vibrant intellectual traditions, classical liberal thought includes diverse points of view about important questions regarding the nature of society, the individual, and the relationship between the two. With that said, some principles and ideas, like the ones described below, feature prominently in the classical liberal tradition.
We believe that these ideas are particularly important for understanding and supporting the good society—a pluralistic society in which intellectual and economic progress are the norm, and where individuals flourish in a context of openness, voluntary and peaceful cooperation, and mutual respect.
Each of the principles and ideas we describe below has a rich intellectual tradition of its own that continues to develop. These brief descriptions are intended to serve as a starting point—an invitation to inquiry—that we hope will lead to deeper conversations.
This is the nature of human energy; individuals generate it and control it. Each person is self-controlling, and therefore responsible for his acts. Every human being, by his nature is free.
– Rose Wilder Lane
I do not wish [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.
The search for liberty is simply part of the greater search for a world where respect for the rule of law and human rights is universal—a world free of dictators, terrorists, warmongers and fanatics, where men and women of all nationalities, races, traditions and creeds can coexist in the culture of freedom, where borders give way to bridges that people cross to reach their goals limited only by free will and respect for one another’s rights.
– Mario Vargas Llosa
We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage.
– F.A. Hayek