Stephen Davies’ Libertarianism

I went to an interesting talk today given by Stephen Davies of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a British free market think tank, in favour of the libertarian position. In the past, I have not been particularly kind to the libertarian position, both in its theory and in the practical policies that result from it. Davies did, however, present the libertarian position in an interesting fashion. Whereas usually libertarianism is derived from some foundational larger philosophical theory (some libertarians are right utilitarians, natural rights theorists, egoists, and so on), Davies wishes to divorce libertarianism from its wider philosophical context and consider it on its own, irrespective of which foundational theory it sits upon. In the past, some of my criticisms of libertarianism have been themselves criticised for over-relying on problems with foundational theories rather than considering the planks of libertarianism in isolation. Today, I shall look at libertarianism as presented by Davies and see where it leads me.

Read the rest of this entry »