A Plague on Both Your Statist Houses: A Commentary Concerning Justice

Simple Justice by Charles Murray with commentaries. Edited by David Conway, 2005

6 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2019 Last revised: 1 Nov 2019

Abstract

Charles Murray describes himself as a libertarian, most notably in his short book, What it Means to be a Libertarian. He might more accurately have described himself as having libertarian tendencies. My reading of Simple Justice is that the views it espouses are far more traditionalist than libertarian. Neither traditionalist state-retribution nor modernist state-leniency is libertarian. Nor does either provide as just or efficient a response to crime as does libertarian restitution, including restitutive retribution. Here, I shall respond directly only to Murray's views, rather than also deal with state-leniency. This is because I accept Murray's thesis, without endorsing his specific arguments for it, that state-leniency is disastrous as a response to crimes against persons and their justly acquired property.

Keywords: libertarianism, restitution, retribution

Suggested Citation

Lester, J. C., A Plague on Both Your Statist Houses: A Commentary Concerning Justice. Simple Justice by Charles Murray with commentaries. Edited by David Conway, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3471944 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3471944

J. C. Lester (Contact Author)

London School of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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