Dani Rodrik points (link) to The Liberal Idea, a wonderful article on the roots and principles of liberalism. One of the main points of the article, which Rodrik emphasizes, is that “rights (including property rights) are defined and enforced by the state.” I find myself agreeing with this position more and more as time goes on, though it is a major departure from my old natural-rights based thinking.
Other passages I liked:
For the will of the majority to prevail, outvoted minorities must be willing to comply with electoral results. They must not resort to violence whenever they lose an election. To purchase minority compliance, the electoral majority must assure the electoral minority that its most precious values and rights will not be violated.
[…] the American Founders wrote our Constitution after a period of frustration with the weakness of central government. They aimed, therefore, not only to prevent tyranny, but also to create a sturdy government with the capacity to govern effectively and “promote the general Welfare.”