Audio: Historian Ralph Raico on the Rise of the West

The European Miracle was one in which humans achieved sustained growth for the first time on earth. Why Europe? Because of European decentralization and private enterprise. Property rights were well-defined and well-defended. Feudalism was of the contract variety. City states and chartered towns arose. The freedoms that people fought for were primarily economic freedoms. Political freedoms followed. The middle ages were not the dark ages they were portrayed to be. The rule of law required little or no involvement of the state. The ruler was under the law. The West even held a social taboo on the expression of envy.

Historian Ralph Raico explains why all of this contributed to the rise of human rights and economic prosperity in the West — and why it happened there first.

From a lecture presented at the 2001 History of Liberty seminar.

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