At Libertarian Home over the Holidays

Equality and Opportunity. If you’re familiar with Anthony de Jasay – which, given you’re reading this, is a safe bet – you’ll be familiar with the criticisms of utilitarianism and “equality of opportunity” made here.

A Libertarian Calculation Problem. A reply to an article by Nico Metten on a new foundation for market libertarianism. Incredibly, that new foundation turns out to be the adding of apples to oranges.


One thought on “At Libertarian Home over the Holidays

  1. Actually,I don’t really subscribe to NAP either, finding the modern explicit use to be more of a product of Rand and Rothbard than the historic libertarian tradition(1). And if you are familiar with de Jasay you would know(or should know) that liberty is simply presumed(the presumption of liberty). The thing that needs to be demonstrated(defended) is the abridgment of liberty. Otherwise you wind up trying to falsify endless objections that can’t be falsified(can you prove that if you go from A to B, you won’t cause harm to someone at C).

    In this sense, there is no “libertarian calculation problem” because there is no burden to calculate. The burden is on those who posit a necessary abridgment of liberty for some social end. And simply put, those claims generally don’t survive analysis for the simple fact the state doesn’t do what it is claimed to do. And the answer “why” is really the wrong question. The better question is: why should it do what it claims to do?

    Frankly, I view those who attempt “defenses of liberty” to be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    (1) For one, NAP is not an argument against social contract theory. Because liberal social contract theory begins with a premise of the state of nature(anarchy/NAP) and proceeds to argue why a person would rationally cede some liberty to the authority of the state, you can’t simply appeal to the premise(NAP) to argue against the conclusion. All that is is a moral objection. Like the “divine right of kings” would be a moral objection to social contract theory.


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