Leslie J. Walker’s definitive translation has been revised by Brian Richardson and is accompanied by an introduction by Bernard Crick, which illuminates Machiavelli’s historical context and his new theories of politics. This edition also includes suggestions for further reading and notes.
It first appeared in 1927, as a followup to both his devastating 1922 book showing that socialism would fail, and his 1926 book on interventionism.
It was written to address the burning question: if not socialism, and if not fascism or interventionism, what form of social arrangements are most conducive to human flourishing? Mises's answer is summed up in the title, by which he meant classical liberalism.
Mises did more than restate classical doctrine. He gave a thoroughly modern defense of freedom, one that corrected the errors of the old liberal school by rooting the idea of liberty in the institution of private property (a subject on which the classical school was sometimes unclear). Here is the grand contribution of this volume.
"The program of liberalism, therefore, if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property, that is, private ownership of the means of production... All the other demands of liberalism result from this fundamental demand."
But there are other insights too. He shows that political decentralization and secession are the best means to peace and political liberty. As for religion, he recommends the complete separation of church and state. On immigration, he favors the freedom of movement. On culture, he praised the political virtue of tolerance. On education: state involvement must end, and completely.
He deals frankly with the nationalities problem, and provides a stirring defense of rationalism as the essential foundation of liberal political order. He discusses political strategy, and the relationship of liberalism to special-interest politics.
In some ways, this is the most political of Mises's treatises, and also one of the most inspiring books ever written on the idea of liberty. It remains the book that can set the world on fire for freedom, which is probably why it has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
In his widely acclaimed book Time to Start Thinking, Financial Times chief US columnist and commentator Edward Luce charted the course of America's relative decline, proving to be a prescient voice on our current social and political turmoil.
In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of liberal democracy—of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a terrifying symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society's economic losers, and complacency about our system's durability—attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Unless the West can rekindle an economy that produces gains for the majority of its people, its political liberties may be doomed. The West's faith in history teaches us to take democracy for granted. Reality tells us something troublingly different.
Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the literature and economic analysis, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration, the rise of European populism, and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.