Liberalism Undressed

Hardcover | November 14, 2012

byJethro K. Lieberman

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One of mankind's most enduring questions is the legitimate scope of state power: how far and in what ways may the government meddle with people's lives? Where lies the line that government ought not cross? For more than three centuries, the western world has answered these questions with a setof institutions and practices that have come to be known as liberal democracy. Though deeply rooted, liberalism has stirred critical attacks from both the left and the right and it has never wholly taken over as the dominant political school of thought for any length of time. During the past 40years, many of liberalism's most distinguished defenders have presented complex, controversial, abstruse, and even impenetrable theories to justify liberal institutions and practices, often relying on metaphysical constructs, imaginary beings, and fanciful events to describe abstract liberalprinciples that rarely reach real-world problems. In Liberalism Undressed, Jethro K. Lieberman returns to liberalism's roots to explain, in accessible and readable prose, why liberalism retains its power and appeal. He begins with the memorable thesis of John Stuart Mill that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over anymember of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." Building on Mill's well-known but rarely analyzed Harm Principle, Liberalism Undressed undertakes to show that this widely-accepted precept - "it's a free country; I should be able to do what I want as long as I don'thurt anybody" - can justify a government robust enough to deal with pressing modern problems of human abuse and suffering while restrained enough to provide people freedom to live life on their own terms. A stirring defense of the harm principle as the bedrock of liberal governance, LiberalismUndressed rethinks the very purpose of government in the twenty-first century.

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One of mankind's most enduring questions is the legitimate scope of state power: how far and in what ways may the government meddle with people's lives? Where lies the line that government ought not cross? For more than three centuries, the western world has answered these questions with a setof institutions and practices that have com...

Jethro K. Lieberman is the author of The Litigious Society and many other books. He has had a varied career: as a practicing lawyer, both in private practice and as a Navy JAG officer; as a journalist and the first Legal Affairs Editor of Business Week; and as a Professor, of Law at New York Law School and for several years Adjunct P...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:November 14, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199919844

ISBN - 13:9780199919840

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Table of Contents

1. The Liberal PremiseCommitments in Search of a PremiseThe Harm PrincipleThe Ends, Means, Reach, and Shape of GovernmentLiberal Alternatives to the Harm PrincipleThe Modesty of the Harm PrincipleThe Self: Autonomous Solitary or Communal Solidary?A Few Words about Reason2. Constructing Harm from Natural Rights: The Cases of Locke and NozickThe Traditional Neglect of HarmLocke and the Indeterminacy of HarmNozick and the Relativity of HarmIgnorance and HarmThe Relativity of Property3. The Meaning of Harm Derived from Interests: Feinberg's Harm PrincipleThe Butterfly EffectWrongful Harmdoing: Harm as Wrongful Setback to InterestThe Interest CriterionThe Setback CriterionThe Criterion of WrongfulnessHarmless WrongdoingHarm in Criminal and Civil ContextsAggregative Harms and the Problem of RiskAccumulative Harms and the Problem of Causation4. Collective Harms and the Market: Problems of CausationThe Market as Natural ForceThe Market as Human AgencyAddressing Market HarmsCompetition HarmsInvestment Harms and the Problem of PlanningMarket Harms and Harms to MarketProduction Harms and Restrictions on PropertyEmployment Harms and Working ConditionsA Note on Market SocialismWelfare Harms5. Taxation, Welfare, and BenefitsThe Problem of CharityPositive and Negative RightsWelfare BenefitsProjectsSelf-provisioningRule-MakingPreventing Incipient HarmsDuty to rescueEducation and Families6. The Duty to Act: Toward the Fiduciary EthicProximity and the Duty to ActSpecial Relationships and the Duty to ActThe Fiduciary Ethic7. The Forms of InterventionModes and Types of InterventionModes of InterventionTypes of InterventionGeneral Limiting Principles of InterventionProportionality PrinciplePrinciple of Least IntrusionRetroactivity PrincipleEquality PrinciplePrinciple of Procedural FairnessRedressing HarmAggregative HarmsAccumulative HarmsRegulation vs. Litigation: The Case for Licensing8. What Who?Why Who?Democracy and the Harm PrincipleStakeholders: Ownership and Independence as the Basis of Political PowerExpertise as the Basis of Political PowerCitizenship as the Basis of Political PowerRestraints on Government PowerRestraints Preserved in a ConstitutionSeparation of PowersLaws Applied Equally to All, Including LegislatorsNon-Delegation of Legislative PowerFrequent Elections and Universal SuffrageFreedom of Speech and PressA Note on RightsOther Constitutional RestraintsAgainst Constitutionalizing the Harm Principle9. Paternalism and the Time LineSelf-Regarding and Other-Regarding BehaviorConsent to RisksConsent to HarmsBanning Permanent Deprivations of LibertyCustom and PaternalismSome Notes on ExploitationSelf BindingThe Time LineSoft Paternalism as Liberty Limiting10. Harm to NormsExpectations and the Externality ConstraintDisobeying Religious Commands: Provoking the Wrath of GodProhibiting Immoral ConductImmorality as Harm to CommunityBanning Actual ImmoralityActual Immorality and CommunityActual Immorality and Personal DistressHarmless ImmoralityThe Communitarian Challenge to LiberalismCommunity as Source of ValueCivic RepublicanismMulticulturalism and Group RightsHarms by Community: Association and Equality11. Liberalism RedressedFarewell to Zoon Politikon: Value Beyond the StateThe Passive Nobility of LiberalismMillian Moments: Is the Harm Principle at Work in the Real World?Facing Up to HarmAppendix: Four Liberal Premises and Their ProblemsThe Consent PremiseThe Dialogue PremiseThe Equality PremiseThe Neutrality PremiseAcknowledgmentsReferences