Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Moral Foundations of Modern Libertarianism

Surfing Wikipedia today, I came across this paper by Randy Barnett on the moral foundations of libertarianism (to read it, click on any of the links below the abstract for a .pdf version). A great read for anyone interested in libertarianism, political philosophy, or ethics.

The crux of Barnett's thesis is that the source of recent ecumenism among libertarians is the perceived compatibility between libertarian consequentialism and libertarian deontology under the umbrella of natural rights. He draws a parallel between libertarian political theory and Anglo/American legal theory in which he points out that the evolution and growth of the latter stems from a mix of rights-based and consequentialist schools of thought. Because libertarianism has evolved along the same lines in the past 40 years, there has generally been growing unity and consensus among us , excluding of course certain schools of libertarianism such as anarcho-socialism and anarcho-syndicalism which by and large seem to be on their way out all together.

Published articulations and explications of this phenomenon like Barnett's do themselves bolster and hasten this coming together and give me for one a sense of optimism for our future.

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