The Heterodox ‘Fourth Paradigm’ of Libertarianism: an Abstract Eleutherology plus Critical Rationalism
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A severe attack by a libertarian on the libertarian misuse of the term "liberty" for being undefined. "Instead, there is a conflation of certain kinds of deontological rights, good consequences, property rights, and ‘supporting justifications’; and all the while being oblivious to the, absurd and ironic, fact that there is no explicit theory of interpersonal liberty to explain any of this."
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To have a theory of liberty that inherently involves particular property rules and particular moral rights is not to have a clearer and stronger theory. Rather, it is to attempt to have an unfalsifiable or uncriticisable theory. And that, as Karl Popper explained, is not clearer and stronger: it is really to avoid saying anything substantive at all. It is certainly to have no proper theory of liberty. Instead, it is in effect to assume the legitimacy or morality of certain rules or rights and then stipulatively or persuasively -- and thereby vacuously -- define those rules or rights as ‘libertarian’ and their flouting as ‘unlibertarian’ (or even ‘aggression’, or -- still worse -- ‘coercion’). Texts that are critical of libertarianism often note this.
J. C. Lester, "The Heterodox ‘Fourth Paradigm’ of Libertarianism: an Abstract Eleutherology plus Critical RationalismThe Heterodox ‘Fourth Paradigm’ of Libertarianism: an Abstract Eleutherology plus Critical Rationalism"