Neoclassical liberalism

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Neoclassical liberalism,[1][2] also referred to as bleeding-heart libertarianism (BHL)[3] or the Arizona School liberalism,[1][4] is a classical liberal/libertarian political philosophy[4] and ideology that focuses on the compatibility of support for civil liberties and free markets on the one hand, and a concern for social justice and the well-being of the worst-off on the other. Adherents of bleeding-heart libertarianism broadly hold that an agenda focused upon individual liberty will be of most benefit to the economically weak and socially disadvantaged.[5]


The first recorded use of the term "bleeding-heart libertarian" seems to have been in a 1996 essay by Roderick T. Long.[6] It was subsequently used in a blog post by Stefan Sharkansky,[7] and later picked up and elaborated on by Arnold Kling in an article for TCS Daily.[8] Since then, the term has been used sporadically by a number of libertarian writers including Anthony Gregory[9] and Bryan Caplan.[10]

In March 2011, a group of academic philosophers, political theorists, and economists created the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog.[3] Regular contributors to the blog include Fernando Tesón, Gary Chartier, Jason Brennan, Roderick T. Long, and Steven Horwitz.


Critics of the bleeding-heart libertarian movement include public choice economist Bryan Caplan[11][12][13] and Chicago school economist David D. Friedman.[14]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Brennan, Jason (2012). Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford University Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-0199933914.
  2. ^ Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi, "A Bleeding Heart History of Libertarianism", April 2, 2012, Cato Unbound.
  3. ^ a b Zwolinski, Matt. "Bleeding-Heart Libertarianism". Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog.
  4. ^ a b Neoclassical liberal philosophers, such as David Schmidtz, Jerry Gaus, John Tomasi, Kevin Vallier, Matt Zwolinski, and Jason Brennan all have a connection to the University of Arizona (cf. "On the ethics of voting", 3:AM Magazine, January 14, 2013).
  5. ^ "About Us". Bleeding Heart Libertarians.
  6. ^ Long, Roderick (1996). "Beyond the Boss". Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  7. ^ Sharkansky, Stefan (2002-06-01). "My Blog and Welcome to It". Retrieved 2012-06-16.
  8. ^ Kling, Arnold (2003-09-29). "Bleeding-Heart Libertarianism". Retrieved 2012-06-16.[dead link]
  9. ^ Gregory, Anthony. "Don't Privatize Plunder".[dead link]
  10. ^ Caplan, Bryan. "Who's More Irresponsible?". EconLog. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  11. ^ Caplan, Bryan (2005-03-25). "Let Them Get Roommates". EconLog. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  12. ^ Caplan, Bryan (2011-03-09). "Callous Libertarians: Missing, or Just Unfairly Maligned?". EconLog. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  13. ^ Caplan, Bryan (2012-04-26). "Is Bleeding-Heart Libertarianism Evil?". EconLog. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  14. ^ Henderson, David (2012-04-28). "David Friedman on Bleeding-Heart Libertarianism". EconLog. Missing or empty |url= (help)


  • Jeffrey Edward Green (2016), The Shadow of Unfairness: A Plebeian Theory of Liberal Democracy, Oxford University Press.
  • Jason Brennan, Bas van der Vossen, David Schmidtz, eds. (2017), The Routledge Handbook of Libertarianism, Routledge: "Libertarianism and the Welfare State" by Matt Zwolinski.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]