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Publisher's Summary

An insightful and passionately written book explaining why a return to Enlightenment ideals is good for the world

The greatest challenges facing humankind, according to Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, are poverty and tyranny, both of which hold people back. Arguing for a return to true liberal values, this engaging and accessible book develops, defends, and demonstrates how embracing the ideas first espoused by 18th-century philosophers like Locke, Smith, Voltaire, and Wollstonecraft is good for everyone. 

With her trademark wit and deep understanding, McCloskey shows how the adoption of Enlightenment ideals of liberalism has propelled the freedom and prosperity that define the quality of a full life. In her view, liberalism leads to equality, but equality does not necessarily lead to liberalism - and the fixation of the left on inequality is counterproductive. Liberalism is an optimistic philosophy that depends on the power of rhetoric rather than arms, and on ethics, free speech, and facts for us to thrive.

©2019 Deirdre Nansen McCloskey (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Well considered and argued

I wasn't super familiar with their work before, but I really enjoyed this piece. It is very well argued and has some amazing examples which leave you considering points of view you might not have otherwise.

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  • Plutologist
  • 06-07-2020

Outstanding

Professor McCloskey delivers an outstanding explication of liberalism, and the innovative, commercially tested betterment that follows from it. Filled with thorough historical facts and context, her book feels refreshing and tragically rare in this age of twitter bullies, who would sooner shame and cancel their critics than listen carefully to the content of their arguments. Indeed, if she can be accused of anything, it’s being too charitable to those she critiques. I do have a few quibbles, and fewer complaints (mostly of evaluations and assumptions, not of her data, science, or history), but I will follow her good example and listen closely, very closely, and consider the possibility that I may be mistaken. And so should you.

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  • Q Garcia
  • 27-03-2020

True Liberalism

This was a tad more scholarly than I like, but, I wish it had existed years ago when I was in college. McCloskey makes the case that government should get out of the way and let the individual progress at their own rate. This has been shown to help more than just the single individual but group as a whole.

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