ABSTRACTS BIOGRAPHIES ENDORSEMENTS REVIEWS FB DISCUSSION SCHEDULE
ROGER E. BISSELL, CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA, EDWARD W. YOUNKINS, EDS.
THE DIALECTICS OF LIBERTY:
EXPLORING THE CONTEXT OF HUMAN FREEDOM
PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY (29 December 2020, Oxford Academic)
By Gregory J. Robson
(Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Iowa State University)
Gregory J. Robson writes:
"The contributors to this
anthology insightfully explore 'the context of human freedom'. This exploration
is 'dialectical' because it engages in logical analysis and synthesis of
economic, political, and other principles and ideas that often just appear in
tension with one another . . . The book's three parts include contributions from
distinguished scholars in economics, law, philosophy, psychology, and related
fields. The topics range widely and discussion is sometimes uneven, but this is
no surprise in a book whose authors are multidisciplinary and cover considerable
ground ably. . . . The three parts fit together well due to the often
complementary arguments of influential scholars such as Gary Chartier, Douglas
J. Den Uyl, Steven Horwitz, Roderick T. Long, Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, and
Douglas B. Rasmussen. Themes emerge such as the value of human relationships
unmediated by force and fraud, the disvalue of political coercion, and the
potential immorality of taxing some to hand to others."
The reviewer then focuses more extensively on the "complementary" contributions of Billy Christmas ("Social Equality and Liberty") and Robert Higgs ("Exploring the Interconnections of Politics, Economics, and Culture").
"[A] deep virtue of Dialectics of Liberty is its insistence that a free society takes seriously the need to persistently ask and answer---and re-ask and re-answer---why the state has authority to constrain liberty and the scope of any such authority. A society that does not take such questions seriously fails adequately to respect the personhood of would-be coercees. In principle, adherents of diverse political views do have the resources to take this claim onboard. Yet the essays in this book make a notable cumulative case for why classical liberals . . . and, relatedly, right and left libertarians . . . may be better equipped than supporters of more statist positions to explicate and defend the value of the personal and political liberties. This book has much to recommend it. It will be a valuable resource for teachers and researchers interested in the broad tradition of classical liberalism. And, in the spirit of dialectical exchange, hopefully it will spark responses by proponents and opponents alike."