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Fundación Santillana Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes


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José María Lassalle

It was in England where, for the first time, a virtuous individualism appeared that was committed to the public defense of freedom against the threat of absolutism. It was there that a liberal-republican political discourse emerged that defended the tight linkage of public good and private interest.

Thus liberalism was born as a public and private discourse of individual virtue that was aimed at impeding the emergence of any despotic arrogance. Nevertheless, in the second half of the 20th century, a libertarian and neo-liberal trend turned the marketplace into a dogmatic abstraction that justified unlimited and uncontrolled egoism. In Liberals, José María Lassalle lays out the need for 21st Century Liberalism to return to the virtuous principles of its founding fathers - John Locke, Adam Smith and Edmund Burke.  The Liberals now have the responsibility of facing their own ghosts of the past and once again leading in the defense of the politics of duty, not those of profit. Politics at the service of freedom: concern at the control of power; politics that would ensure the establishment of institutional mechanisms that would impede corruption and anti-market conspiracies that are plotted in the shadow of governments; politics that would fight dogmatism and defend tolerance as an identifying mark of our culture. Facing the biggest crisis of the last decades, recovering virtue and values is critical. It is a task for which Liberals are better prepared than anyone else.

Translated by Gabriel S. Baum

Book Details

Liberales (2010)
José María Lassalle

Authors > José María Lassalle

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José María Lassalle

Santander, 1966. Doctor of Law and Professor of Philosophy of Law at the King Juan Carlos University of Madrid.  He was a professor at the University of Cantabria and at the Carlos III University in Madrid and he is a contributor to  the Revista de Occidente. He has also been published in Blanco y Negro Cultural, the magazine Turia, and other academic and scientific magazines. He has been an editorial writer for the newspaper ABC and he managed  the Carolina Foundation [Fundación Carolina], of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He is the author of monographs such as John Locke and the Modern Fundamentals of Property [ John Locke y los fundamentos modernos de la propiedad] (Dyckinson-Universidad Carlos III, 2001), Locke, Liberalism and Property [Locke, liberalismo y propiedad] (Colegio Registradores de la Propiedad, 2003), among other works. Currently he is the deputy for Cantabria and Cultural Spokesperson  for the Popular Party (PP) in Congress.


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To José María Lassalle , Stephan Zweig was a man who lived the concept of Liberalism so intensely that he even assumed its contradictions. Lassalle sees Zweig's defense of the movement as a "civic commitment to virtue" which the latter took to its ultimate conclusions, identifying it with his personal destiny. For that reason, when the rise of Nazism, and the ideology that it spread, started to endanger the very basis of the civilization that he considered his own,...



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