Sociology inspired by classical liberalism isn’t as far fetched as the profession’s current leftward tilt might suggest. In addition to developing the social insights of Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, Herbert Spencer, William Graham Sumner, and F. A. Hayek, a classical liberal sociology might take up such topics as the differences between cooperation and coercion; the interrelations between commerce and community; the role of privilege, prestige, status, and power in “rent seeking”; and the social mechanisms that foster and reinforce statism.

Daniel B. Klein is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Professor of Economics at George Mason University.
Charlotta Stern is a research fellow at the Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University.
Government and PoliticsLaw and LibertyPolitical Theory
Other Independent Review articles by Daniel B. Klein
Summer 2023 The Tao Exposes Slavers to Contempt
Spring 2023 Instilling Duties above Instilling Rights: Two Features of Adam Smith’s Talk of Justice and Liberty
Summer 2020 Adam Smith’s Rebuke of the Slave Trade, 1759
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Other Independent Review articles by Charlotta Stern
Spring 2009 Groupthink in Academia: Majoritarian Departmental Politics and the Professional Pyramid