Classifying Americans: Jonathan Bean on Race & Liberty in America

Every year, Americans rightly honor civil rights icons who stood up for the principle of equality enshrined in our founding documents. Few are aware, though, of the ties between the civil rights tradition and the principles of classical liberalism. In Race and Liberty in America: The Essential Reader, Jonathan Bean has compiled an anthology of primary documents by both well-known leaders like Frederick Douglass and unsung heroes like individualist and abolitionist Lysander Spooner, Brooklyn Dodgers manager Branch Rickey, and others who helped strip government of the ability to discriminate on the basis of race. “Classical liberalism,” writes Bean, a scholar at the Independent Institute and this Sunday’s guest, “is a philosophy of individualism; its history is peopled by a mix of iconoclasts, contrarians, lone dissenters, courageous rebels, and powerful political leaders.” Tune in to learn from Bean how classical liberal ideas motivated these key figures in the struggle for civil rights. He and Bob will also discuss how new “progressive” forms of discrimination undermine the principles behind historical victories for justice and equality.