Students For Liberty is the largest pro-liberty student organization in the world.
To get started, please select your region on the map.


What else can we learn from Prof. Deirdre McCloskey?


Edited by Russell Coates, June 2020

If you’ve been interested in the ideas of liberty for any length of time, chances are that you’ve heard of Professor Deirdre McCloskey. Whether you’re familiar with her groundbreaking book series – Bourgeois Virtue, Bourgeois Dignity, and Bourgeois Equality – saw her speak at LibertyCon, or have even been lucky enough to sit as her student, you will understand why her mastery of free market economics has dazzled a generation of pro-liberty advocates.

Now, Students For Liberty offers you an unprecedented Learn Liberty video series with Prof. McCloskey, on a subject that is near and dear to Deirdre’s life, but previously overlooked by the liberty movement at large. The team at Students For Liberty is delighted to present to you the video series, Trans Talks.

About Trans Talks

It all starts with a simple question: “Why is it so important for a free society to allow people to explore their gender identity?”

Prof. McCloskey answers with eloquence and verve: “It’s an education even for straight people. It’s an education in freedom.” Indeed, the issues faced by transgender people are all about freedom, from demanding the right to self identify, to resisting abuse at the hands of the state. Libertarians have a lot to learn from (and to lend to) these struggles – and now is the perfect time to do it.

In recent years, awareness around transgender rights has been increasing significantly, particularly with more positive media focus on these issues than ever before. It’s unclear though, what all this will mean for the important political struggles that are still going on around transgender (and other gender and sexual minority) communities.

What can libertarians do?

The liberty movement has a unique opportunity to provide a fresh approach to these issues in order to mitigate transphobia. Classical liberalism provides a framework of principles to help us answer such questions as:

“What should I do when someone’s way of presenting themselves makes me uncomfortable?”

According to Prof. McCloskey, the answer from our perspective is simple:

“What [libertarians] believe in is: ‘I’m free up to your nose. As long as I’m not hurting you, then I’m allowed to do it.’ This is a perfect example of it. I don’t hurt anyone by being a woman.”

We at Students For Liberty are thrilled to see this pro-liberty outlook applied to this timely topic.

If you’re wrestling with a decision about whether to be yourself, or to pursue what makes you happy, whoever or whatever that is, here’s a final word of advice from Prof. McCloskey: “Go do it, dear. Go for it.”

To watch the video series, along with other Learn Liberty videos on the topic of LGBTQ+ rights, click on the button below.

Write for Us

Our Writers