Reply to the Kyle Swan Review of Escape from Leviathan


The central classical liberal insight is that private property appears both to protect personal liberty and to promote general productivity. By way of philosophically clarifying this insight, Escape from Leviathan (EfL) posits the extreme classical liberal, or libertarian, Compatibility Thesis: there is no long-term, systemic, practical conflict among economic rationality, interpersonal liberty, human welfare, and private-property anarchy (i.e., four plausible and relevant theories of these that are presupposed, or entailed, by libertarianism and consonant social science). The review (Liberty, November 2002) holds that this extreme version is probably false and suggests that perhaps even EfL’s author would agree. He (still) does not, although he remains open to argument. But what anyone happens to believe at any particular moment is a piece of fleeting biography that is irrelevant to the truth of the thesis or the soundness of the arguments in EfL.



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J. C. Lester
London School of Economics

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