RIP Kenneth Minogue

died last week, aged 82. Not well known in NZ, but significant classical liberal who was President of the Mont Pelerin Society. Wikipedia notes:

Minogue wrote academic essays and books on a great range of problems in political theory. His 1963 book The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness, about the perversion of the liberal label by radical leftists became popular internationally. Minogue argued that genuine liberalism rests on the tradition of thinkers like Adam SmithBenjamin ConstantAdam FergusonAlexis de Tocqueville,John Stuart Mill et al., who built the foundation for a conservative perspective. Minogue defended civility, decency, and moderation against globalists and leftists, and advocated an honest and transparent public sphere where individuals can freely pursue their own ideas of happiness.

National Review writes about him:

Kenneth Minogue, who was one of the most brilliant yet also most approachable philosophers of liberty, died suddenly on Friday when returning from a conference of the Mont Pelerin Society, whose retiring president he was, on the Galapagos Islands. This is not a formal obituary and so it will not list Ken’s academic achievements and honors. All one need say for the moment is that he was at the center of an extraordinary group of political philosophers, economists, and journalists — other members included Michael Oakeshott, Bill and Shirley Letwin, F.A. Hayek, Roger Scruton, Perry Worsthorne, Noel Malcolm, Colin Welch, Frank Johnson — who between them instilled intellectual rigor, political imagination, a deep appreciation of liberty, and a sharp (occasionally derisive) wit into the all-too-inert body of English conservatism.

Ken, a New Zealander by birth, an Australian by upbringing, and British by affection and long habit, established a solid academic reputation at the London School of Economics and gradually expanded it into an international one through his books and lecture tours. He was well-known throughout Europe and the English-speaking world for the freshness and originality of his thought and expression. He was a contributor to National Review under all of its three editors, and an occasional guest of Bill Buckley’s on Firing Line.

He did come back to NZ from time to time, and will be missed by those who knew him.

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