A Critical Commentary on the Zwolinski 2013 'Libertarianism and Liberty' Essays
Explaining Libertarianism: Some Philosophical Arguments. Buckingham, England: The University of Buckingham Press, pp. 64-84 (2014)
13 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2019
Date Written: 2014
The Zwolinski 2013 “libertarianism and liberty” essays on libertarianism.org are argued to have the following problems: taking libertarianism to be a “commitment” to the view that “liberty is the highest political value”; examining and rejecting the maximization of liberty without a libertarian theory of liberty; accepting a persuasive sense of “coercion”; misunderstanding liberty in the work place; conflating, to varying degrees, freedom of action and freedom from aggression and justice/rights/morals; focusing on logically possible clashes instead of practically possible congruence among utility, liberty, and justice – in particular, that “rule (preference - )utilitarianism” fits “rule libertarianism”; failing to distinguish liberty from license (and power) concerning slavery, and so- called “civil and democratic liberties” (and everything else); the idea that any coherent reference to a quantity of liberty requires precise cardinality; failing to see that the quantity of liberty has an inherently qualitative aspect; misunderstanding property as about limiting freedom; mistaking clashing Hobbesian freedom for non- clashing Lockean liberty; adopting G. A. Cohen’s confusion about freedom as the libertarian conception of freedom; assuming the – illogical – epistemology of “justification” ; not realizing that both allowing and prohibiting pollution “aggresses” and so “aggressions” need to be minimized; the failure of all six of its reasons for rejecting the non-aggression principle.
Keywords: libertarianism, Zwolinski
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