Daniel Klein is a professor of economics at George Mason University and an Associate Fellow of the Swedish Ratio Institute. Much of his research examines public policy questions, libertarian political philosophy, and the sociology of academia. He is the chief editor of Econ Journal Watch.
When did Daniel first embrace the idea “liberty”? He was dissatisfied with the school system for most of his childhood. A friend asked him “Have you ever thought about why school sucks?” His friend explained that students don’t get to choose where they go to school, there is no private ownership, schools don’t have choice in curriculum etc. He quickly saw the system as a socialist operation and suddenly “Why school sucked” all made sense to him. This gave way to him falling into a free economic market, libertarian, and Austrian Economics way of thinking.
Into college he gradually discovered Adam Smith, David Hume, and other 18th century thinkers. Through research he saw that the word “liberal” was not used in a political sense until about the time of Adam Smith. People had thought of ideas associated with liberalism but when Smith came out with “The Wealth of Nations,” he finally put a name to this way of thinking. Regardless of whether people agreed with his politics or not, his ideas spread throughout the world.
To really understand the arc of liberalism throughout the years it is important to learn what happened in the past and see the progression. Today, terms such as “The left”, “Dem”, and “Progressive” are all terms that have been adopted by others to accept liberalism.