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by Jan Lester,J.C. Lester

Free eBook Escape from Leviathan: Liberty, Welfare and Anarchy Reconciled download ISBN: 0333777565
Author: Jan Lester,J.C. Lester
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (June 21, 2000)
Language: English
Pages: 246
Category: Other
Subcategory: Business and Finance
Size MP3: 1925 mb
Size FLAC: 1955 mb
Rating: 4.4
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Lester's book develops a sustained and at times fresh and surprising argument for its compatibilist conclusions. Lester argues that utility is compatible with liberty, understood in its classically 'negative' sense.

Lester's book develops a sustained and at times fresh and surprising argument for its compatibilist conclusions. It constitutes a formidable intellectual challenge to the social democratic establishment in Political theory. Professor Antony Flew. In the process, he has written a remarkable book, informed by a masterly knowledge of economics and filled with careful analytical detail

and Roberta A. Modugno. Lester's Escape from Leviathan: Liberty, Welfare, and Anarchy Reconciled

Lester's Escape From Leviathan: Liberty, Welfare, and Anarchy Reconciled. Volume 17, Number 4 (2003). and Roberta A. Lester's Escape from Leviathan: Liberty, Welfare, and Anarchy Reconciled. Journal of Libertarian Studies 17, No. 4 (2003): 101–109. Free Private Cities: Making Governments Compete For You. Liberty, Dicta and Force.

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principal criticism of libertarianism is that it would damage human welfare. interpersonal liberty, human welfare, and private-property anarchy.

The principal criticism of libertarianism is that it would damage human welfare.

The most relevant and plausible conceptions of economic rationality, interpersonal liberty, human welfare, and private-property anarchy do not conflict in theory or practice. Using philosophy and social science, Escape from Leviathan defends this bold, non-normative, thesis from contrary positions in the scholarly literature. Writers considered include David Friedman, John Gray, R. M. Hare, Robert Nozick, Karl Popper, John Rawls, Murray Rothbard, Alan Ryan, Amartya Sen, and Bernard Williams.

The principal criticism of libertarianism is that it would damage human welfare

The principal criticism of libertarianism is that it would damage human welfare. Eschewing moral advocacy as a distraction, it offers a defence of this objective thesis from many criticisms in the literature.

C. Lester’s Escape from Leviathan is a bracing book

C. Lester’s Escape from Leviathan is a bracing book. Lester means that he can defend the compatibility of liberty, welfare, and the free market without making the further moral claim that liberty (or welfare or the free market) ought to be protected or extended.

Volume 63 Issue 3. A Hobbesian Defense of Anarchy. A Hobbesian Defense of Anarchy - J. C. Lester: Escape from Leviathan, Liberty, Welfare and Anarchy Reconciled. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

The principal criticism of libertarianism is that it would damage human welfare. In response, this book considers an extreme libertarian thesis: there is no conceptual or practical clash among the most plausible accounts of economic rationality, interpersonal liberty, human welfare, and private-property anarchy. Eschewing moral advocacy as a distraction, it offers a critical-rationalist defence of this objective thesis from many criticisms in the literature.
User reviews
Zaryagan
This book probably represents a landmark in the literature of liberalism on two counts. One of these is the robust statement of his major thesis on the compatibility of free markets, liberty and welfare. The other is the way he uses the non-authoritarian theory of rationality expounded by Karl Popper and William W Bartley.
"In practice (rather than in imaginary cases) and in the long term, there are no systematic clashes among interpersonal liberty, general welfare, and market anarchy, where these terms are to be understood roughly as follows...". Those who seek linguistic precision may be alarmed that his terms are to be understood roughly. Lester has quite deliberately avoided the kind of conceptual analysis, the teasing out of the meaning of terms, that Popper has labeled "essentialism". At least one reviewer noted the remarkable amount of meat that is packed into the book. This is partly due to the self-conscious avoidance of essentialism, partly to Lester's firm grasp on his materials and party to the mode of argumentation that he has adopted, following the non-justificationist or non-foundational line that has been articulated by Popper and Bartley.
The main characteristic of this approach is that it only attempts to achieve what is possible, which is the formation of a critical preference for one option rather than another, in the light of the evidence and arguments that are available up to date. He does not attempt the impossible, namely a logically conclusive proof of his case. What is possible is to propose a theory or a doctrine and subject it to criticism, then if it stands up we may proceed with that theory or doctrine until such time as an alternative is proposed that has better credentials and stands up to criticism at least as well as the previous candidate.
Turning to the organization of the book, after the Introduction are four chapters; Rationality, Liberty, Welfare and Anarchy. Each chapter is tightly organised and packed with crisply presented arguments which resist efforts to paraphrase them. Consequently no short review will do justice to the contents of the book or its organisation. Lester's theory of rationality has to reconcile two extreme views in economics - the neglected subjective, "a priori" approach of Menger and the Austrians, and the standard objective, empirical account. He adopts the theory that agents are self-interested utility-maximisers and he addresses a number of standard objections that are raised against this concept. He argues, successfully in my view, that the objections do no damage to his thesis.
Liberty is formulated as the absence of initiated or proactively imposed cost, or in the case of a mutual clash of imposed costs, the minimisation of imposed costs. This means avoiding or minimising the subjective costs imposed on us by other people, without our consent. Lester explains this formulation, compares it with typical libertarian alternatives to illustrate its strengths and then tests it by attempting to solve some problems presented to libertarians by David Friedman and John Gray. This is the longest chapter and it covers a huge amount of ground, including intellectual property rights and a theory of restitution for crimes and torts. In addition to the criticism of Friedman and Gray there is also a rejoinder to Amartya Sen and to Karl Popper.
The criticism of John Gray is important because for some time he enjoyed a high profile as a rare instance of a classical liberal Oxford don. Lester also responds to Gray's charge of "restrictivism", directed at liberals on the ground that they do not accept that freedom is "an essentially contested concept". In response, Lester accuses Gray of "conflationism", that is, importing a raft of contentious theories from elsewhere (psychology, hermeneutics, epistemology) to muddle and confuse the issues, at the same time appealing to various authorities and ultimately overriding interpersonal liberty in favour of some other goal.
Welfare is a sticking point for many people of good will who support freedom but believe that they cannot be libertarians because of all the poor people who need assistance. Actually support for deserving poor people could be provided by a VWA (Voluntary Welfare Association), dispensing funds from voluntary donations from all the people who currently vote to support welfare policies. The main targets in the chapter on welfare are R M Hare, Amartya Sen, Bernard Williams, John Rawls, John Harsanyi and Alan Ryan.
The final chapter on anarchy is very short because most of the work to defend private property and the market order has been done in previous chapters. "Basic conceptual confusion and mere prejudice are more the real problems" (page 193). He casts a critical eye over some conceptual aspects of the state and then he turns to John Rawls again as an exemplar of confusion and prejudice. Finally, Lester identifies the way that Rawls has simply ignored the libertarian position on the state, which is perceived as providing the arena where the most divisive issues can be removed from the political agenda.
Sharpmane
Lester appears to have written this study out of the desire to address the familiar argument that libertarian principles have no morality. Beginning with a "recap" of exactly what constitutes classical liberalism, he then breaks up his book into four components to address this argument. In "Rationality," he looks at altrusim, its underlying motivations, and how an attitude of enlightened self-interest is actually a better framework for real altruism than the current atmosphere of welfare. People are naturally psychological egoists amd not altruists, Lester argues, and so we can never have purely selfless interests. In this sense the phrase "self-perceived interest" is a better expression than "altruism," since altruism implies having an interest in others as an end in itself. The second part of the book, "Liberty," takes up the bulk of the space and explores the end results of coercion versus liberty, in matters pertaining to property rights (both intellectual and material), and also some refreshing new theories on what constitutes equitable redress. Lester comes up with an interesting definition of Liberty that this reviewer has not encountered anywhere else, and that is the _absence of imposed cost._ An interesting analogy of two misanthropic individuals stranded on a tropical island presents some curiously simple examples to back up this definition, which is easily the most fascination component of the entire book. The third section, "Welfare," returns to the premise of the first section by explaining how whole-heartedly embracing the motive of want-satisfaction ultimately leads to a better system of social justice. The final section, "Anarchy," is very brief and mainly addresses the innate hurdles and societal prejudices against a system which, after all, must ultimately be the hallmark of an advanced civilization. (This reviewer has long held the view that anarchy is a natural state at the very beginning, and the very end, of the so-called political spectrum: primitive societies are anarchic because they are unable to embrace any notion of governance, and supremely advanced societies are anarchic because they have outgrown any need for any form of governance at all.) It should be pointed out that this book was recommended to me by a Senior Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute ([...]
Conjulhala
Excerpted from The Independent Review (Summer 2001) by James R. Otteson
J. C. Lester's Escape from Leviathan is a bracing book.
The chief asset of the book is its dogged and persistent attack on the detractors of the private-property anarchy the author advocates. But this asset is simultaneously a liability: Lester does not argue for his position; rather, he argues that the most likely objections to it fail. This tactic gives the book a somewhat unpleasantly defensive tone, and, more significantly, it limits the ultimate persuasiveness of the book's central thesis.
In the end, the principal value of Lester's book is as something like a catalog of arguments defending libertarian or anarchistic political thought against various detractors and their objections. Not all of the defenses work, and in a few cases Lester's dismissals are too hasty; nevertheless, he offers many interesting and novel insights. I remain disappointed that he did not undertake to defend his own thesis directly, and I hope that in the future he will relax his commitment to Popperian epistemology and undertake such a defense. In the meantime, however, refutation of objections is a valuable service in its own right, and Lester accomplishes that task well.