Liberalism greatest mission today is to point to society not the encroachments on liberty, but the growth of social free riding, kleptocracy and social parasitism.
Liberalism has dwindled as a political force over the last one hundred years, partly because it won many of its battles.
The fall of the Berlin wall, free trade, free speech through the Internet, lower marginal taxes.
But it has not offered solutions to the growth of organized crime, the loss of moral and family values, the destruction of the middle class, the deterioration of education, terrorism, the growth of mediocrity rather than meritocracy.
Conservatism has occupied the political space left by the liberals.
Liberalism has restricted itself in denouncing encroachments of freedom with more of the same arguments used 200 hundred years ago.
Rather than belabor what went wrong, I would like to propose a future agenda, which by itself will give an idea of what went wrong.
Liberalism greatest mission is to point to society not the encroachments on liberty, but to point out the growth of social free riding, call it kleptocracy, social parasitism, organized crime, government.
In every society, some members will take upon themselves an evolutionary strategy of living off the work of others.
We are one of the few animal species that does that, and can get away with it for various reasons.
The whole Social Security debate can be framed as a strategy of the older generation to live off the contributions and taxes of the younger generation.
Inefficient government can be seen as a group strategy to live of taxpayers, without giving back in return the services expected.
The free rider problem has been a particular concern of game theorists economists over the last 20 years, with some very disturbing conclusions.
Every society will generate social parasites, members who will specialize in living off the work of others.
This was the great Marxist mistake, not realizing that socialism would generate a new sort of social parasitism, which it did.
Seen from this point of view, one can argue that Liberals decided to deal with the parasites they already knew, such as monopolist cartels, legal privileges, many of which would be eliminated simply by free competition.
Evolutionary Psychology has discovered that we have ingrained a mechanism to curb the growth of free riding in society.
It is called Altruistic Punishment. We act against injustices and free riding.
This instinct that explains why most young people are pray to leftist propaganda, leftist media, who coopt young people with the argument that entrepreneurs, investors and suppliers of capital are the real free riders of society, not intelectuals, government burocrats and labour leaders.
One of the most unfortunate phrases in the history of liberalism was the attack on altruism by Adam Smith, the “it is not from the benevolence” phrase.
This led critics to attack liberalism as a proxi to egoism, greed and self-interest.
Adam Smith should have used the word “cooperation”, “strangers working for the commom good in factories” , that is what makes the world go around.
“Cooperation” has been the bandwagon of socialism rather than liberalism, in spite that business and large corporations have suceeded int that respect more than socialism.
Egotists concerned only with their sefl interest don’t go very far doing it all alone.
Adam Smith probably was taking a shot against religions claim that altruism is the sole mover. It is not.
In fact, altruism and the ideology of altruism has been used to pave the road to social parasitism, a deliberate ploy to extract benefits for the free rider.
Complexity Theory, artificial life, game theory, evolutionary psychology are all discovering the basic belief of liberalism. That simple rules can lead to complex behavior.
Marxism’s claim to being scientific gave it enormous credibility, albeit a false one.
Liberalism now has a wealth of scientific findings to claim its assertions, but they are not being systematized as a New Liberalism, meaning a new way of presenting those ideas.