Description: In the following interview, Scott G. Bullock recapitulates and expands upon the main points of a talk he gave at an IOS [now known as the Atlas Society] Summer Seminar in which he discussed his work as a staff attorney with the Institute for Justice in Washington, D.C., where he litigates cases involving civil rights, property rights, free speech, and other constitutional issues.
Reprinted from Navigator Volume 1, Number 4, December 1997
Alan Charles Kors is the author of several scholarly works on the Enlightenment, including a two-volume study of atheism in Enlightenment France, and another study of the Enlightenment thinker Baron D'Holbach. He is also editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (Oxford University Press). In addition, Kors has made his knowledge of the Enlightenment available to the general public via two courses of taped lectures: "The Origin of the Modern Mind" (focusing largely on the seventeenth century) and "The Mind of the Enlightenment" (focusing largely on the eighteenth century). These may be obtained from The Teaching Company or at Amazon.com. Navigator: Let us start with the Enlightenment's metaphysics, if we may. Did the Enlightenment believe in a traditional God, a spirit who had created the universe out of nothing? Kors: A large number of Christians were drawn to aspects of the Enlightenment, and of course they did hold the traditional notions of God as spirit and of creation ex nihilo. If we turn to Deism, however, the most widely shared Enlightenment belief was that there could be no answer to any philosophical question about the essence of God. Enlightenment Deists believed that the world had been intelligently disposed by Mind....
Rarely do advocates of freedom have the pleasure of hearing freedom criticized. Typically, they must listen to debates in which one side serves up a badly mixed hash of assertions that is labeled "freedom"—while the other side denounces the hash for features having nothing to do with human liberty. For this reason, libertarians had good cause to welcome the appearance early in 1997 of several books setting forth relatively pure versions of the classical liberal credo. Not only were the works instructive in themselves, but they called forth instructive responses from the media. The books in question were: What It Means to Be a Libertarian by Charles Murray, best known as the author of Losing Ground and as co-author (with the late Richard Herrnstein) of The Bell Curve; Libertarianism: A Primer by David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute and The Libertarian Reader, a collection of essays edited by Boaz. (Boaz's Primer was reviewed by Robert Bidinotto in the April 1997 issue of the IOS Journal.) With the nearly simultaneous appearance of these works, a large number of newspapers and magazines felt impelled to contemplate liberty and libertarianism. What follows is a survey of the major arguments these reviewers and writers lodged against a free society, or against libertarianism as a political philosophy and movement. As arranged below, the arguments recapitulate the succession of statist arguments in...
Navigator: In your "State of the Culture" talk, you said that it is the ideas of a society's culture which determine the other aspects of that society. Could you describe the main line by which ideas have determined the society America has today?

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