The Trouble with Libertarianism

R. A. Hettinga rah at
Tue Jul 20 20:07:55 PDT 2004


Tech Central Station  

The Trouble with Libertarianism

By Edward Feser
  E-Mail  Bookmark  Print  Save

"Libertarianism" is usually defined as the view in political philosophy
that the only legitimate function of a government is to protect its
citizens from force, fraud, theft, and breach of contract, and that it
otherwise ought not to interfere with its citizens' dealings with one
another, either to make them more economically equal or to make them more
morally virtuous. Most libertarian theorists emphasize that their position
is not intended to be a complete system of ethics, but merely a doctrine
about the proper scope of state power: their claim is not that either
egalitarian views about the distribution of wealth or traditional attitudes
about sexuality, drug use, and the like are necessarily incorrect, but only
that such moral views ought not to guide public policy. A libertarian
society is in their view compatible with any particular moral or religious
outlook one might be committed to, and this is taken to be one of its great
strengths: people of all persuasions in a pluralistic society can have
reason to support a libertarian polity, precisely because it does not favor
any particular persuasion over another. A libertarian society is, it is
claimed, genuinely neutral between diverse moral and religious worldviews.

In this respect, as in others, libertarians take their creed to be superior
to that political philosophy that most prides itself on its purported
tolerance and neutrality, namely egalitarian liberalism. The liberal
philosopher John Rawls characterized the various moral and religious
worldviews represented in modern pluralistic societies as "comprehensive
doctrines," and he argued that his own brand of liberalism was compatible
with all reasonable comprehensive doctrines. Libertarians have objected
that the details of Rawls's theory so incorporate his social and economic
egalitarianism into what he counts as "reasonable" that his claim to
neutrality between actually existing worldviews is disingenuous; for
Rawlsians are ultimately prepared to apply that honorific only to those
comprehensive doctrines compatible with an extensive regime of
anti-discrimination laws, forced income redistribution, and whatever other
consequences are taken to follow from Rawls's famous "difference principle"
(which holds that no inequalities can be permitted in a just society unless
they benefit its least well-off members). The "comprehensive doctrines" of
moral traditionalists and individualist free spirits alike, doctrines
having millions of adherents, end up being effectively written off as
"unreasonable" from the egalitarian liberal point of view. Libertarianism
is truly neutral where Rawls and other liberals only pretend to be.


Or so it seems. I want to suggest, however, that many libertarians are - no
doubt unwittingly - guilty of the very same sort of disingenuousness as
Rawls. For it simply isn't true that libertarianism is neutral between
various moral and religious worldviews, notwithstanding that most
libertarians would like to believe (indeed do believe) that it is. The
reason, as it turns out, is that there is no such thing as "libertarianism"
in the first place: it would be more accurate to speak in the plural of
"libertarianisms," a variety of doctrines each often described as
"libertarian," but having no common core, and each of which tends in either
theory or practice to favor some moral worldviews to the exclusion of
others. It also turns out that the illusion that there is such a thing as
"libertarianism" - a basic set of beliefs and values that all so-called
"libertarians" have in common - is the source of the illusion that a
libertarian society would be a truly neutral one. When one gets clear on
exactly which version of libertarianism one is talking about, it will be
seen that what one is talking about is a doctrine with substantial moral
commitments, commitments which cannot fail to promote some worldviews and
to push others into the margins of social life.


Classical liberalism


To see that this is so, we need only look at some specific and paradigmatic
examples of libertarian political theories, and there is no more
appropriate place to start than at the beginning, with the early classical
liberal (as opposed to modern, egalitarian liberal) political thinkers whom
libertarians typically regard as their intellectual forebears. Take John
Locke (1632-1704), who famously argued that the primary function of a
government was to protect the property rights of its citizens, with the
most fundamental property right being that of self-ownership. That we own
ourselves entails, in Locke's view, that we own our labor and its fruits,
and this in turn entails that we can (with certain qualifications) come to
own whatever previously unowned natural resources we "mix" our labor with.
Self-ownership thus grounds the right to private property, and with it the
basic rights that determine the proper scope and functions of state power.


But what grounds the right of self-ownership itself? The answer, according
to Locke, was that it derives from God. How? God, being the creator of
everything that exists other than Himself - including us - is the ultimate
owner of everything that exists - including us. Therefore, when a person
harms another person by killing him, stealing from him, and so forth, he in
effect violates the rights of God, because he damages what is God's
property. To respect God's rights over us, therefore, we must recognize our
duty not to kill, harm, or steal from each other, which entails treating
each other as having certain rights relative to each other - the rights to
life, liberty, and property. And these rights can usefully be summed up as
rights of self-ownership. But ultimately, as it turns out, we don't really
own ourselves: God does. Relative to Him, we are merely "leasing"
ourselves, as it were, and are accountable to Him for how we use His
property. Relative to other human beings, however, we are in effect
self-owners; we must treat others as if they owned themselves, and not use
them as if they were our property.


That Locke's version of classical liberalism favors a decidedly religious
social order should be obvious. Of course, Locke is also famous for
promoting the idea of religious toleration, and would vehemently reject the
suggestion that any particular denomination or its teachings ought to be
promoted by government. But Locke was nevertheless very far in his thinking
from the interpretation of the doctrine of the separation of church and
state favored by the ACLU. For he also held that toleration cannot be
extended to atheists, precisely because their denial of the existence of
God amounted, in his view, to the denial of the very foundations of the
moral order in general, and the classical liberal political order in
particular. In Locke's estimation, if the suggestion that liberalism
entails a right of toleration of atheism isn't exactly a
self-contradiction, it will do until the real thing comes along; for the
existence of any rights at all presupposes the falsity of atheism.


Locke is also commonly thought to have denied that Roman Catholics had a
right to toleration, on the grounds that their loyalty to a foreign power -
the Pope - was incompatible with allegiance to a classical liberal state
(though scholars like Jeremy Waldron have argued that Locke has been
misinterpreted here). Now as both a Roman Catholic and an admirer of Locke
(and, I suppose, as a former atheist too), it is with some trepidation that
I note these aspects of his views. But whatever one thinks of their
ultimate defensibility, Locke's position does at least arguably form a
coherent and systematic whole; and, more to the present point, it quite
obviously is not, and does not pretend to be, consistent with any claim to
"neutrality" between all moral and religious worldviews.


This commitment to a particular moral view of the world was typical of the
early classical liberals. Adam Smith (1723-1790) favored modern liberal
capitalist society precisely because of what he took to be its moral
advantages: it provided an unprecedented degree of material well-being for
the masses, and it promoted such bourgeois virtues as sobriety, moderation,
and diligence. Moreover, because in Smith's view capitalist society failed
to promote certain other virtues (namely martial and aristocratic ones),
and even tended positively to undermine some of them (insofar as
consumerism and the hyper-specialization entailed by the division of labor
oriented men's minds away from learning), there was an urgent need for
government to foster institutions outside the market - a professional
military and publicly financed education, for example - that would make up
for its deficiencies.


Tradition and natural rights


It ought not to be supposed that the moralism of these early classical
liberals was merely an artifact of their having written in a less
secularist age. Indeed, one finds many of the same themes in their recent
successors. F.A. Hayek (1899-1992) was perhaps the foremost champion of the
free society and the market economy in the 20th century. He was also firmly
committed to the proposition that market society has certain moral
presuppositions that can only be preserved through the power of social
stigma. In his later work especially, he made it clear that these
presuppositions concern the sanctity of property and of the family,
protected by traditional moral rules which restrain our natural impulses
and tell us that "you must neither wish to possess any woman you see, nor
wish to possess any material goods you see."[1]


"[T]he great moral conflict
 which has been taking place over the last
hundred years or even the last three hundred years," according to Hayek,
"is essentially a conflict between the defenders of property and the family
and the critics of property and the family,"[2] with the latter comprising
an alliance of socialists and libertines committed to "a planned economy
with a just distribution, a freeing of ourselves from repressions and
conventional morals, of permissive education as a way to freedom, and the
replacement of the market by a rational arrangement of a body with coercive
powers."[3] The former, by contrast, comprise an alliance of those
committed to the more conservative form of classical liberalism represented
by writers like Smith and Hayek himself with those committed to traditional
forms of religious belief. Among the benefits of such religious belief in
Hayek's view is its "strengthening [of] respect for marriage," its
enforcement of "stricter observance of rules of sexual morality among both
married and unmarried," and its creation of a socially beneficial "taboo"
against the taking of another's property.[4] Indeed, though he was
personally an agnostic, Hayek held that the value of religion for shoring
up the moral presuppositions of a free society cannot be overestimated:


"We owe it partly to mystical and religious beliefs, and, I believe,
particularly to the main monotheistic ones, that beneficial traditions have
been preserved and transmitted
 If we bear these things in mind, we can
better understand and appreciate those clerics who are said to have become
somewhat sceptical of the validity of some of their teachings and who yet
continued to teach them because they feared that a loss of faith would lead
to a decline in morals. No doubt they were right


For these reasons, Hayek, though like Locke a great defender of the
classical liberal belief in toleration of diverse moral and religious
points of view, also held that such toleration must have its limits if a
free society is to maintain itself, as the following passages illustrate:


"I doubt whether any moral rule could be preserved without the exclusion of
those who regularly infringe it from decent company - or even without
people not allowing their children to mix with those who have bad manners.
It is by the separation of groups and their distinctive principles of
admission to them that sanctions of moral behavior operate."[6]


"It is not by conceding 'a right to equal concern and respect' to those who
break the code that civilization is maintained. Nor can we, for the purpose
of maintaining our society, accept all moral beliefs which are held with
equal conviction as morally legitimate, and recognize a right to blood feud
or infanticide or even theft, or any other moral beliefs contrary to those
on which the working of our society rests
 For the science of anthropology
all cultures or morals may be equally good, but we maintain our society by
treating others as less so."[7]


"Morals must be
 restraints on complete freedom, they must determine what
is permissible and what not
 [T]he difficulties begin when we ask whether
tolerance requires that we permit in our community the observance of a
wholly different system of morals, even if a person does so entirely
consistently and conscientiously. I am afraid I rather doubt whether we can
tolerate a wholly different system of morals within our community, although
it is no concern of ours what moral rules some other community obeys
internally. I am afraid that there must be limits even to tolerance


It is significant that Hayek's view was as conservative and moralistic as
it was despite its not being, like Locke's view, based on theological
premises or even on the notion of natural rights. And as might be expected,
contemporary natural rights theories have a tendency to imply no less
conservative a moralism. To be sure, Robert Nozick (1938-2002), the most
influential proponent of natural rights libertarianism in recent political
philosophy, was no conservative, and was also a proponent of the idea that
libertarianism is neutral between moral and religious worldviews. Indeed,
given that his predecessors included people like Locke, Smith, and Hayek,
Nozick might even have the distinction of being the first major classical
liberal or libertarian theorist to suggest such a thing. The trouble is,
Nozick is also notoriously unclear about where natural rights, and in
particular the right of self-ownership, come from. But surely what we take
to be the source of rights cannot fail to imply, as it does in Locke, a
specific moral view of the world. So if Nozick's position seems to allow
for neutrality between all worldviews, this is arguably precisely because
he is so vague about the grounds of natural rights.


The history of recent libertarian theorizing about natural rights only
confirms this suspicion, in my view. From the work of Ayn Rand (1905-1982)
onward, such theorizing has been dominated by Aristotelianism, and in
particular by some version or other of the idea that natural rights are
ultimately to be grounded in the sort of natural end or purpose that
Aristotle held all human beings to have. Now sometimes libertarian
theorists try to cash out the idea of a "natural end" in only the thinnest
of terms - in Rand's case, in terms of the need to survive as a rational
being. Notoriously, however, such an approach fails plausibly to yield a
distinctively libertarian conception of rights: one might need some sort of
rights in order to survive, but it is hard to see why one would need the
extremely strong rights to liberty and private property (rights strong
enough to rule out an egalitarian redistribution of wealth, say)
libertarians want to affirm. So to make this sort of attempt to justify a
libertarian conception of natural rights work, the libertarian needs to
appeal to a much "thicker" conception of the natural end or purpose human
beings have. In that case, though, it is very hard to see how anyone
committed to this sort of approach can consistently avoid committing
himself also to the very conservative moral views Aristotelian "natural
end" theories are usually thought to entail, especially when worked out
systematically after the manner of St. Thomas Aquinas and other natural law


Contractarianism, utilitarianism, and "economism"


So far my examples have all been cases where the failure of libertarianism
to be neutral between all the moral and religious worldviews that exist
within a modern pluralistic society involves a bias in favor of decidedly
conservative points of view. Do I mean to imply, then, that all versions of
libertarianism entail moral conservatism? By no means. Some versions in
fact entail exactly the opposite; and in this very different way, they too
fail to be neutral between moral and religious points of view.


Many libertarian theorists eschew any suggestion that rights are "natural,"
and with it any appeal to God or human nature as the source of rights. They
take our rights to be in some way artificial - historically contingent
conventions, say, or the products of some kind of "social contract." The
latter approach is an application to the defense of libertarianism of a
view in moral theory sometimes called "contractarianism," which holds that
moral obligations in general and rights in particular can only be grounded
in a kind of implicit agreement between all the members of society.
Contrary to Locke, who held that our rights, being natural, pre-exist and
put absolute conditions on any contract that can be made between human
beings, the contractarian view is that rights only come into existence
after, and as a result of, a social contract, and that their content is
determined by the details of the contract. Libertarian contractarians argue
that the details of such a social contract, when rightly understood, will
be seen to entail libertarianism.


Now since any such contract can only ever be purely hypothetical (the claim
is not that we literally have ever made or could make such an agreement),
the contractarian approach raises all sorts of philosophical questions.
Moreover, the claim that the details of the contract would favor
libertarianism is by no means uncontroversial. (The non-libertarian Rawls,
after all, also appeals to a kind of social contract theory.) But since the
libertarian social contract theorist typically denies that there is any
robust conception of human nature which can plausibly determine the content
of morality, and typically characterizes what he regards as a "rational"
party to the social contract as refusing to agree to any rule that he does
not personally see as in his self-interest (where his "self-interest" is
typically defined in terms of whatever desires or preferences he actually
happens to have), it is easy to see how conservative moral views are going
to be ruled out as indefensible from a contractarian point of view: not all
parties to the social contract will agree to them, and so they cannot be
regarded as morally binding.


Utilitarianism is another moral theory libertarians have sometimes appealed
to in defense of their position. This is, to oversimplify, the view that
what is morally required is whatever promotes "the best consequences,"
where this is usually understood to entail maximizing the satisfaction of
individual desires or preferences. Here too, whether either utilitarianism
as a general moral philosophy or the strategy of using it to defend
libertarianism in particular is defensible are matters of great
controversy. But just as utilitarianism in general tends to be radically
unconservative (as it is in the work of Peter Singer, perhaps the best
known contemporary utilitarian) so too is it when applied to a defense of
libertarianism. For any view that appeals merely to what people happen in
fact to desire or prefer - without asking, after the fashion of
Aristotelianism or natural law theory, what desires or preferences we ought
to have given our nature - is bound not to sit well with the conservative
moralist's tendency to see certain kinds of desires and preferences as
intrinsically disordered and immoral, so that there can be no question of
maximizing their satisfaction.


Of course, the expression "utilitarian" is sometimes used by libertarians
in a much looser way, to refer, not to utilitarianism as a general moral
philosophy, but merely to a defense of libertarianism which emphasizes
certain practical economic benefits of the free market, such as its ability
to generate wealth and technological innovation. Now by itself, this sort
of economic approach doesn't count as a complete defense of libertarianism,
since many egalitarian liberals and non-libertarian conservatives would
acknowledge these benefits of the market but deny that such considerations
address all their concerns, such as moral ones. But there is a tendency
among some economics-oriented defenders of libertarianism to go well beyond
this modest appeal to what are generally recognized to be economic
considerations - a tendency to try to analyze all human behavior and social
institutions in economic terms, and thereby to reduce all considerations to
purely economic ones. At its most extreme, the results are artifacts like
Richard Posner's book Sex and Reason, which attempts to account for all
human sexual behavior in terms of perceived costs and benefits.


This sort of thing is exactly what Pope John Paul II has in mind when he
criticizes contemporary capitalist society for its tendency toward what he
calls "economism," and while many libertarians would regard it as merely a
regrettable bit of over-enthusiasm, it does have a tendency to confirm in
the minds of non-libertarians the caricature they have of the free marketer
as a vulgar philistine bent on the total commoditization of human life.
Moreover, it is clearly and utterly incompatible with a conservative
understanding of our moral situation. As the conservative philosopher Roger
Scruton argues:


"Posner proceeds to consider hypothetical cases: for example, the case
where a man sets a 'value' of 'twenty' on 'sex' with a 'woman of average
attractiveness,' and a 'value' of 'two' on 'sex' with a 'male substitute.'
If you adopt such language, then you have made woman (and man too) into a
sex object and sex into a commodity. You have redescribed the human world
as a world of things; you have abolished the sacred, the prohibited, and
the protected, and presented sex as a relation between aliens
 reduces the other person to an instrument of pleasure, a means of
obtaining something that could have been provided equally by another
person, by an animal, by a rubber doll or a piece of Kleenex."[9]


 How the difference makes a difference


Now many of those committed to the sorts of unconservative versions of
libertarianism I've just described would insist that their position really
is neutral between moral worldviews, since they would not advocate keeping
those with conservative sensibilities from living in accordance with their
views or expressing them in public. But this misses the point. For the
versions of libertarianism described in the last section do not treat
conservative views as truly moral views at all; they treat them instead as
mere prejudices: at best matters of taste, like one's preference for this
or that flavor of ice cream, and at worst rank superstitions that pose a
constant danger of leading those holding them to try to restrict the
freedoms of those practicing non-traditional lifestyles. Libertarians of
the contractarian, utilitarian, or "economistic" bent must therefore treat
the conservative the way the egalitarian liberal treats the racist, i.e. as
someone who can be permitted to hold and practice his views, but only
provided he and his views are widely regarded as of the crackpot variety.
Just as the Lockean, Smithian, Hayekian, and Aristotelian versions of
libertarianism entail a social marginalization of those who flout bourgeois
moral standards, so too do these unconservative versions of libertarianism
entail a social marginalization of those who defend bourgeois moral
standards. Neither kind of libertarianism is truly neutral between moral


There are two dramatic consequences of this difference between these kinds
of libertarianism. The first is that a society self-consciously guided by
principles of the Lockean, Smithian, Hayekian, or Aristotelian sort will,
obviously, be a society of a generally conservative character, while a
society self-consciously guided by principles of a contractarian,
utilitarian, or "economistic" sort will, equally obviously, be a society of
a generally anti-conservative character. The point is not that the former
sort of society will explicitly outlaw bohemian behavior or that the latter
will explicitly outlaw conservative behavior. The point is rather that the
former sort of society is bound to be one in which the bohemian is going to
feel out of place, while the latter is one in which the conservative is
going to feel out of place. In either case, there will of course be
enclaves here and there where the outsider will find those of like mind.
But someone is inevitably going to get pushed into the cultural catacombs.
In no case is a "libertarian" society going to be genuinely neutral between
all the points of view represented within it.


The second dramatic consequence is that there are also bound to be
differences in the public policy recommendations made by the different
versions of libertarianism. Take, for example, the issue of abortion. Those
whose libertarianism is grounded in Lockean, Aristotelian, or Hayekian
thinking are far more likely to take a conservative line on the matter. To
be sure, there are plenty of "pro-choice" libertarians influenced by Hayek.
But by far most of these libertarians are (certainly in my experience
anyway) inclined to accept Hayek's economic views while soft-pedaling or
even dismissing the Burkean traditionalist foundations he gave for his
overall social theory. Those who endorse the latter, however, are going to
be hard-pressed not to be at least suspicious of the standard moral and
legal arguments offered in defense of abortion. Even more clearly,
libertarians of a Lockean or Aristotelian-natural law bent are going to
have strong grounds for regarding abortion as no less a violation of
individual rights than is the murder of a man, woman, or child: a fetus is
no less God's property than is a child or adult; and on the standard
Aristotelian-natural law view, the fetus is fully human - not a "potential
human being," but rather a human being which hasn't yet fulfilled all its
potentials - and thus has all the rights that any other human being has.


By contrast, libertarians influenced by contractarianism are very unlikely
to oppose abortion, because fetuses cannot plausibly be counted as parties
to the social contract that could provide the only grounds for a
prohibition on killing them. Utilitarianism and "economism" too would
provide no plausible grounds for a prohibition on abortion, since fetuses
would seem to have no preferences or desires which could be factored into
our calculations of how best to maximize preference- or desire-satisfaction.


There are also bound to be differences over the question of "same-sex
marriage." From a natural rights perspective, whether Lockean or
Aristotelian, it is hard to see how the demand for a right to same-sex
marriage can be justified. For if there is a natural right to marriage,
then marriage must be a natural institution; and the standard defense of
marriage as a natural institution appeals to the idea that it is has a
natural function, namely procreation, which entails in turn that it is
inherently heterosexual. Nor can a Hayekian analysis of social institutions
fail to imply anything but skepticism about the case for same-sex marriage.
Hayek's position was that traditional moral rules, especially when
connected to institutions as fundamental as the family and found nearly
universally in human cultures, should be tampered with only with the most
extreme caution. The burden of proof is always on the innovator rather than
the traditionalist, whether or not the traditionalist can justify his
conservatism to the innovator's satisfaction; and change can be justified
only by showing that the rule the innovator wants to abandon is in outright
contradiction to some other fundamental traditional rule. But that there is
any contradiction in this case is simply implausible, especially when one
considers the traditional natural law understanding of marriage sketched


On the other hand, it is easy to see how contractarianism, utilitarianism,
and "economism" might be thought to justify same-sex marriage. If the
actual desires or preferences of individuals are all that matter, and some
of those individuals desire or prefer to set up a partnership with someone
of the same sex and call it "marriage," then there can be no moral
objection to their doing so.


Freedom and self-ownership


If these different versions of libertarianism differ so radically in terms
of their justifying grounds and implications, why are they usually regarded
as variations of the same doctrine? And why are they so commonly held to be
neutral between various moral and religious worldviews if, as I have tried
to show, they clearly are not? The answer to both questions, I think, is
that all these versions of libertarianism are often thought, erroneously,
to be committed fundamentally to the value of "freedom": they are versions
of libertarianism, after all, so liberty or freedom would seem to be their
common core, and this might seem to include the freedom of every person to
follow whatever moral or religious view he likes. But in fact none of these
doctrines takes liberty or freedom to be fundamental. What is taken to be
fundamental is rather natural rights, or tradition, or a social contract,
or utility, or efficiency; "freedom" falls out only as a consequence of the
libertarian's more basic commitment to one of these other values, and the
content of that "freedom" differs radically depending on precisely which of
these fundamental values he is committed to. For the Aristotelian-natural
law theorist, freedom includes not only freedom from excessive state power,
but also freedom from those moral vices which prevent the realization of
our natural end; for the contractarian or utilitarian, however, freedom may
well include freedom from the very concepts of moral vice and natural ends.
Freedom would also entail for the latter the right to commit suicide, while
for the Lockean, there can be no such right, since suicide would itself
violate the rights of the God who created and owns us.


This difference in the understanding of freedom has its parallel in a
difference in what we might call the tone in which various libertarians
assert the right of self-ownership. In the mouth of some libertarians, what
self-ownership is fundamentally about is something like this: "Other human
beings have an intrinsic dignity and moral value, and this entails a duty
on my part not to use them as means to my own ends; I therefore have no
right to the fruits of another man's labor." In the mouths of other
libertarians, what it means is, at bottom, rather this: "I can do whatever
what I want to do, as long as I let everyone else do what they want to do
too; there are no grounds for preventing any of us from doing, in general,
what we want to do." The first view expresses an attitude of deference, the
second an attitude of self-assertion; the first reflects a commitment to
strong moral realism and a rich conception of human nature, the second a
thin conception of human nature and a tendency toward moral minimalism or
even moral skepticism. And the first, I would submit, is more
characteristic of libertarians of a Lockean, Hayekian, or Aristotelian
bent, while the latter is more typical of libertarians influenced by
contractarianism, utilitarianism, or "economism."


It is sometimes said that contemporary conservatism is an uneasy alliance
between libertarians and traditionalists, and that this alliance is
destined eventually to collapse due to the inherent conflict between the
two philosophies. But it can with equal or even greater plausibility be
argued that it is in fact contemporary libertarianism which comprises an
uneasy alliance, an association between incompatible factions committed to
very different conceptions of freedom. The trouble with libertarianism is
that many of its adherents have for too long labored under the illusion
that things are otherwise, that their creed is a single unified political
philosophy that does not, and need not, take a stand on the most
contentious moral issues dividing contemporary society. This has led to
confusion both at the level of theory and at the level of policy.
Libertarians need to get clear about exactly what they believe and why. And
when they do, they might find that their particular version of
libertarianism commits them - or ought to commit them - to regard as rivals
those they might once have considered allies.


Edward Feser (edwardfeser at is the author of On Nozick
(Wadsworth, 2003).


[1] F.A. Hayek, "Individual and Collective Aims," in Susan Mendus and David
Edwards, eds. On Toleration (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), p. 37.

[2] Ibid., p. 38.

[3] F.A. Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty, vol. 3: The Political Order
of a Free People (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), p. 176.

[4] F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1989), p. 157.

[5] Ibid., pp. 136-7.

[6] Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty, p. 171.

[7] Ibid., p. 172.

[8] Hayek, "Individual and Collective Aims," p. 47.

[9] Roger Scruton, An Intelligent Person's Guide to Philosophy (London:
Duckworth, 1996), p. 135.

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

More information about the cypherpunks-legacy mailing list