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Daniel Klein's talk for the Public Choice seminar, Wednesday 19 Nov 2014, 12noon-1:15

Talk title:

Some Uses for the Distinction between

Direct and Overall Liberty

I am grateful for the opportunity! This webpage offers a teaser of what I expect to say.

Michael Clark and I have advanced a distinction between direct and overall liberty. In 2010, we published "Direct and Overall Liberty: Areas and Extent of Disagreement." The paper drew comments from Claudia Williamson (link to her paper) and Walter Block (link to his paper), and Michael and I replied (link to our reply).

In my talk, I intend to take the 2010 piece as a point of departure. I will sketch five uses for the distinction between direct and overall liberty:

Use 1: Exploring whether in a modern stable polity like the United States disagreements between direct and overall are rife and unmanageable. (This is the use to which Michael and I put the distinction in our papers.)

Use 2: Interpreting some of the tensions between libertarians and conservatives. I will suggest that one main source of tension is that libertarians see less disagreement between direct and overall than do conservatives.

Use 3: Articulating why I generally find libertarian talk of anarchy/anarchism/anarcho-capitalism unsatisfying.

Use 4: Interpreting Whig political theory and contrasting it with social democracy and the Hume-Smith conventionalist view of government.

Use 5: Addressing whether libertarians should cut the emergence of the stable nation-state more slack, or even celebrate the historical emergence of stable nation-states, at least the better ones.

If you are considering attending the talk, I suggest you look at the 2010 paper by Michael and me.

(BTW, after our 2011 reply, Walter Block published a second commentary, here.)