Liberty And Government.

Part of the "Critiques of Libertarianism" site.

Last updated 10/25/07.

Most libertarians view government as a destroyer of liberty. But the fact is that government is essential to create liberty.


NEW 6/07: The Liberal Idea
Stephen Holmes explains how modern liberals follow the traditions of the "classical" liberals, contrary to libertarian revisionist propaganda.
Libertarianism, Property & Harm.
Chapter 2 of James Boyle's unpublished "Net Total: Law, Politics and Property in Cyberspace". Thoroughly dismantles three libertarian approaches to the problem of harms: [common] law, natural rights, and property.
What Russia Teaches Us Now: How Weak States Threaten Freedom.
Stephen Holmes' EXCELLENT article in The American Prospect which addresses the fundamental error that prevents libertarians from understanding liberalism. Strong, ACCOUNTABLE government creates rights and fosters prosperity. The current Soviet Union exposes the lie of Atlas Shrugged.
Is government eeevil? We Have Met the Gummint And He Is Us.
Mark Rosenfelder points out the paradox that only people with really good government could think they didn't need it. Good commonsense.
Takings: Rhetoric, Not Substance
Professor F. Patrick Hubbard presents the big picture of takings, showing that the issues are not as presented by the takings ideologues.
Friedman Or Free Men?
George Walford describes how libertarian schemes still restrict freedom, and how important it is for government to restrict market freedoms such as slavery.

Print References

The links here are to, through their associates program, primarily because of the review information. Books without links are generally out of print, and can often be easily found at AddAll Used and Out Of Print Search. Good sites for bargain shopping for sometimes expensive new books are Online Bookstore Price Comparison and AddAll Book Search and Price Comparison. Both of those list applicable coupons. Another is

Colin Bird "The Myth of Liberal Individualism"
Classical liberalism was not what libertarians claim it was.
Charles Derber "Corporation Nation: How Corporations Are Taking Over Our Lives, And What We Can Do About It"
St. Martin's Press 1998. Ascendency of corporate power is decried as illiberal, and a new positive populism is prescribed.
William A Edmundson "Three Anarchical Fallacies : An Essay on Political Authority"
Cambridge University Press 1998. Exposes fallacies inspired by the ideas of obedience, coercion, and intrusion. Challenges many assumptions of libertarians and others.
Barbara H. Fried "The Progressive Assault On Laissez Faire: Robert Hale And The First Law And Economics Movement"
Harvard University Press 1998. The first, full-length study of Hale's work, which showed that "private", unregulated economic relations were in fact determined by a state imposed regime of property and contract rights which were hard to square with common-sense notions of social justice.
Stephen Holmes, Cass Sunstein "The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes"
W. W. Norton 1999. Legally enforceable rights cost money, a fact ignored by libertarian ideologues.
William E. Hudson "American Democracy in Peril"
Chatham House, 1996. Chapter 3 "The second challenge: radical individualism" has a subsection "The flaws of libertarianism."
Will Kymlicka "Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction"
Oxford University Press, 1991. Now the standard text in the field; very highly regarded. Has a long chapter on libertarianism. Not at all kind to it.
Amartya Sen "Development As Freedom"
A Nobel prize-winning economist explains elimination of "capability deprivation" in five categories as being crucial to freedom. Shows libertarian ideas of economic freedom to be dreadfully incomplete for liberty or freedom.
Gary Wills "A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government"
(Simon & Schuster 1999) A strong refutation of historical revisionist interpretations of the Founders and Constitution as supporting antigovernment positions.

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Copyright 2007 by Mike Huben ( ).
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