A fun time was had by all…


What the groundhog saw on February 2, 2012

Given our class of 17 has only 3 females including me, that means most of my fellow students are male, I miss some of the women with whom I have taken classes these past few years, but they are not into nineteenth century political economy. They have been concentrating on the European track as I have done most of my career in the history department. I don’t know what they took this semester, but I could not take one more course on WWII or Nazi Germany our scant offerings this semester as most of the good guys are on sabbatical.  

Only one other student in my class this semester, Gary, is in the European track. We have had several courses together but he is more interested in the Elizabethan Period or Renaissance than I am.  He reviewed my research paper last semester. While I wrote about a murder and trial in 1901 in East Anglia, he wrote about the Popish Plot in sixteenth century England.

Speaking historically, we are centuries apart, but we sit next to each other facing the formidable phalanx of energetic and knowledgeable American history students. These young men are so intense, and they have absorbed so much American history….the British colonial period, the Revolution, the Civil War, the settlement of the West…they are primed and ready.

The seminar conversation moves rapidly. Whip, whip, whip.  That’s my head spinning, trying to get a word in edgewise. Gary is completely silent. Finally, I get a break.  K mentions Manchester, the birthplace of classical liberalism in nineteenth century England. Although he has looked it up on the Internet, and lamely tries to explain it, I take over. K and I know each other from a course on the history of the American Corporation so he doesn’t object. 

Okay, okay, I know I am a political junkie but this topic involves Europe and economics. Besides, I had written a paper on the city of Manchester in England that focused on the period when classical liberalism was embraced by the common people at the urging of their industrial masters.

Sometimes, being a political junkie pays dividends.  

Here’s an excerpt from Wiki about classical liberalism:  

Classical liberalism is the philosophy committed to the ideal of limited government, constitutionalism, rule of law, due process, and liberty of individuals including freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and free markets. Classical liberalism is not social liberalism which has its roots in the Progressive era.

Does it sound familiar?? If you follow politics, it will.

10 thoughts on “A fun time was had by all…

  1. Diane, it’s good to know you don’t condemn groups. I thought for a moment you were hurling stones at all social liberals. Lots of them give of their own wealth, not just that of others. I applaud the super-rich who give generously to worthy causes. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough of them doing their share to take care of all the needs, as Warren Buffett has pointed out.


    • See that’s what happens when I try to be funny in a blog, it comes out sounding however it sounds.

      No I don’t condemn anyone without hearing what everything they have to say. I like many Democrats and Republicans and do not condemn Congress. There are some really good guys and gals in the Senate and House. A small group of them are trying to get something done (gang of six) but having great difficulty owing to the extremes within their own parties. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is one of them. When he ran for the Senate as a Democrat, the left wing of the party smeared him because he was a businessman. Heaven help us if a rich business man cannot run for office.
      Trust me. Mark is one of the good guys.


  2. The thing I find sad about politics is that many individuals start off with good intentions, but once elected they have to deal with the same set of civil servants and the same systems. Result is that they fail to bring about the desired fairness and change. At least that is what seems to happen in the UK


    • Patti, I always knew you were a bright young thing. I had a boss who asked me if I had been on the debating team because he could not win an argument with me. I try to stay out of debates they raise my blood pressure to dangerous levels.

      On the other hand, I like to argue (character defect??) and hate closed minds. I believe in helping others up to a point, that’s how I was raised. I also believe “If you teach a man to fish…..”

      I have learned that one must be careful of helping (like trying to help someone get sober??). We have a saying in Al-Anon, “If you baby them you bury them.” I don’t enable anyone anymore anytime.

      And thanks, I did feel pretty good about my comment in class.


  3. If it walks like a libertarian, and talks like a libertarian, it must be . . .

    I think your definition of a social liberal is a bit harsh. Those I know believe in social justice–equal opportunities for all and the “haves” helping the “have nots” when necessary. If all of the wealthy people helped their fellow humans voluntarily, social liberals would see no need for the government to render aid. Unfortunately, history shows the wealthy are not lined up waiting to help those less fortunate. The major reason for the huge U.S. debt is launching two long-running wars without any plans to finance them, except borrowing.


    • The problem is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

      Dick, statistics show that the neocons give far more to charity than the other side. Perhaps, like Mitt, they give more because they have more, perhaps not. I just know they are more likely to give to various charities. I can name at least a dozen billionaires from the center or left side of the ledger who also give like Buffet, Gates and Bloomberg.

      History is full of good deeds being punished. I would never condemn a whole group of people, rich, poor or otherwise. Generalities generally are half truths at best.


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