The Godly Path to Adam Smith’s Liberal Plan
December 2, 2022
There's been renewed interest in the role Christianity has played in liberalism since Larry Siedentop’s 2014 book, Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism. Building on Siedentop, Daniel Klein says universal benevolent monotheism, and Christianity in particular, has led to the articulation of a specific social grammar and corresponding rights—in short Adam Smith’s “liberal plan.” But can liberalism be sustained in a world that no longer takes its ethics from that monotheism?
Daniel Klein is professor of economics and JIN Chair at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where Erik Matson and he lead a program in Adam Smith. He is also associate fellow at the Ratio Institute (Stockholm), research fellow at the Independent Institute, and chief editor of Econ Journal Watch. He and Matson also lead CL Press and curate the Liberty Fund column called Just Sentiments.