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Independent’s Excellence Prize for
The Independent Review

Prize: $10,000

“Populism, Self-government, and Liberty (Economic and Civil)”
Call for Symposium Papers

The editors of The Independent Review invite submissions on the topic of populism, self-government, and liberty (economic and civil) for a special symposium to be published in 2021. Papers should explore the nature of populism (within in the United States and/or around the globe) and both the challenges and opportunities it poses to classical liberal ideas, the political system, civil society and the economy.

Populism can have a variety of ideological strains. The ideology of the American Revolution as shown by Bernard Bailyn, anti-slavery abolitionism, Jacksonian anti-bank populism, and the Tea Party movement in America; the anti-Corn Law League in Great Britain; the early Yellow Jackets in France; Brexit; and the new Citizens party in Spain—all have important classical-liberal tendencies.

The Le Pen movement in France, the Orban movement and government in Hungary, as well as the Chavez-Madero phenomenon in Venezuela and Peronism in Argentina are certainly illiberal.

And some populist movements may have both classical liberal and illiberal elements, including the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil as well as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, but certainly an important part of both is rebellion against illiberal political correctness, “progressive” technocratic elites, and administrative states.

William Riker famously argued that classical liberalism and populism are inconsistent, and that classical liberalism is only possible through constitutional constraints on populism. James Buchanan, following the American Founders, advocated restrictions on the unlimited power of majorities to force their will on minorities. Yet many observers have argued recently that “democracy should be unchained,” and call for “popular sovereignty” to be unleashed. In anticipation of the 40th anniversary of Riker's Liberalism against Populism, and the 60th anniversary of The Calculus of Consent, The Independent Review seeks to explore this topic. 

We ask that submissions adhere to high standards of scholarly excellence and that the writing be intelligible and engaging to a diverse audience of thoughtful readers.

If your paper is selected, it will be published in The Independent Review. The number of papers to be published is not set, but will be tied to the quality of the submissions as determined by the editors of the journal. The editors will select one paper from the symposium to win the Independent Excellence Prize, which carries a monetary award of $10,000.

  • Paper Length: 4,000-5,000 words
  • Deadline: December 15, 2020
  • Anyone is eligible for the $10,000 prize, with the exception the judges and full-time employees of the Independent Institute.

Submit Your Paper


For questions, please contact:
Professor Robert M. Whaples; Co-Editor, The Independent Review
[email protected]


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