Governing Least

Governing Least : A New England Libertarianism

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Description

"That government is best which governs least." - Henry David Thoreau

In this major new defense of libertarianism, Dan Moller argues that critics and supporters alike have neglected the strongest arguments for the theory. It is often assumed that libertarianism depends on thinking that property rights are absolute, or on fetishizing individual liberty. Moller argues that, on the contrary, the foundations of libertarianism lie in widely shared, everyday moral beliefs - particularly in restrictions on shifting our burdens onto others. The core of libertarianism,
on this "New England" interpretation, is not an exaggerated sense of our rights against other people, but modesty about what we can demand from them.

Moller then connects these philosophical arguments with related work in economics, history, and politics. The result is a wide-ranging discussion in the classical liberal tradition that defies narrow academic specialization. Among the questions Moller addresses are how to think about private property in a service economy, whether libertarians should support reparations for slavery, what the history of capitalism tells us about free markets, and what role political correctness plays in shaping
policy debates.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 165 x 237 x 25mm | 634g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0190863242
  • 9780190863241

Table of contents

Introduction
Part I: Property
Part II: Markets
Part III: History
Part IV: Theory and Practice
Appendices
Appendix A: Utilitarianism as Self-deception
Appendix B: Victim-blaming and Moral Modus Tollens
Works Cited
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Review quote

This is a masterful work. It may even be a masterpiece. It does everything and does it well. It should be read right up alongside Rawls's theory of justice, and if this books fails to radically change the conversation in political philosophy, that would amount to a condemnation of the field, not the book. Moller has produced a comprehensive defense of classical liberal thought, one that deftly integrates ideas from ethics, political theory, metaethics, epistemology,
metaphysics, sociology, economics, and history. He understands the critics' arguments better than they do, and has powerful and often decisive answers to all of their concerns. The book defends classical liberal ideas, but it is not ideological. Orthodox libertarians will find plenty of deep and
difficult challenges to their own positions ... This is a great and important book. * Jason Brennan, Georgetown University *
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About Dan Moller

Dan Moller is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland. His previous work has investigated such topics as love and death, drunkenness, and the boring.
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