Left Libertarianism for the Twenty-First Century

Journal of Social and Political Philosophy 2 (2):191-211 (2023)
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There are many different kinds of libertarianism. The first is right libertarianism, which received its most powerful expression in Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia (1974), a book that still sets the baseline for discussions of libertarianism today. The second, I will call faux libertarianism. For reasons I will explain in this paper, most ‘man-on-the-street’ libertarians and most politicians who claim to be libertarians are actually this kind of libertarian. And third, there is left libertarianism, which is what I shall spend most of this paper explicating. But I will not simply be surveying the views of those who identify as left libertarians and put this forth as if I were engaged in an exegetical exercise. Instead, what I shall set forth is a kind of manifesto, a statement of why I consider myself a left libertarian, one that takes this approach to political morality well beyond where it was left around the end of the last century by the previous generation of left libertarians. My hope is to provide those who find certain left libertarian ideas attractive a guide by which they can explain and harmonise their own views, recognise left libertarianism as a distinct comprehensive political doctrine, and feel more open to identify themselves as left libertarian too.

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Mark R. Reiff
University of California, Davis

Citations of this work

The libertarian argument for reparations.Mark R. Reiff - 2024 - Journal of Social Philosophy:1-30.

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References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
An essay on rights.Hillel Steiner - 1994 - Oxford, UK ;: Blackwell.
The Constitution of Liberty.Friedrich Hayek - 1998 - Law and Philosophy 17 (1):77-109.

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