Although he was not a full liberal in the modern sense, Mozi (c. 470–391 B.C.E.) espoused some classical-liberal principles long before Locke and Voltaire. Moreover, although his views often run counter to pervasive Confucian norms, his insights about equality before the law, the dangers of the predatory state, militarism, and a social order based on rational self-interest could serve as a reference point for building a liberal society in the new China.

Evan Osborne is a professor of economics at Wright State University.
AsiaDefense and Foreign PolicyInternational Economics and DevelopmentPhilosophy and Religion
Other Independent Review articles by Evan Osborne
Summer 2008 Commerce Is Beautiful
Fall 2001 Financial Crashes in the Globalization Era