Plato’s Concept of Liberty in the Laws

YOUNG, C.

HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT

Abstract: In this article, I argue that Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between positive and negative concepts of liberty is useful for articulating nuanced aspects of Platonic liberty, but that this terminology has led readers to fail to grasp the full dimensions of Plato’s conception of liberty and the essential virtue that actualizes it. I go on to show that Plato’s conception of freedom in the Laws has both a negative and a positive dimension, an ethical and a political aspect, but that liberty for Plato is ultimately a unitary concept that emanates from self-control, the unifying and central virtue of freedom.

Hands, Not Lands: John Locke, Immigration and the ‘Great Art of Government’

SMITH, B.

HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT

Abstract: This paper looks at the transmigration of peoples in Locke’s thought, particularly the migration of foreigners into England. I pay close attention to the ‘great art of government’ passage in the Second Treatise which shows that rather than exhibiting a hard right to exclude aliens, rulers are obligated to generate the social conditions that attract craftsmen and labourers. Locke believed this was the quickest way to economic prosperity. Additionally, this paper will look at some of the historical conditions that Locke was responding to and why he believed immigration was a self-regulating phenomenon.

Gordon Tullock’s Legacy

PETER BOETTKE AND ROSOLINO CANDELA, RICHARD WAGNER, WILLIAM SHUGHART, AND RANDALL HOLCOMBE
Abstract: Trained as a lawyer and practiced in the arts of war and diplomacy, Gordon Tullock opened economists’ eyes to new ways of viewing constitutional construction, the challenges of bureaucracy, the nature of government regulations, the problem of rent seeking, and the limits of voting. The four papers in this symposium explore the legacy of Gordon Tullock. The paper by Peter Boettke and Rosolino Candela as well as the paper by Richard Wagner attempt to highlight the important features of Tullock’s approach. The papers by William Shughart and Randall Holcombe explore two of Tullock’s relatively understudied contributions to political economy: his critique of the common law and his work on the political economy of redistribution

Lincoln and the Politics of the “Towering Genius”

STEVEN B. SMITH

AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT, Volume 7, Number 3

Abstract: This article examines Lincoln’s “Lyceum Speech” with its concern for the “towering genius” in politics against the backdrop of the recent rise of populism and demagoguery. Lincoln’s concern was with a new kind of problem, namely, the appearance of the romantic hero in politics, a figure presaged in the writings of Emerson and Thoreau and that took the form of radical conscience politics. The model of the transcendental hero was John Brown, whose abolitionist impulse put individual conscience above the law. I contrast the transcendental hero to Lincoln’s conception of constitutional statecraft as based on an ethic of moderation and self-restraint. The article concludes with a contrast between Lincoln and Tocqueville’s worry that the American democratic republic would be characterized by the absence of individuals of grand ambition. Lincoln, I argue, is a better guide to the politics of the contemporary moment.

Economic Foundations of the Territorial State System

AVIDIT ACHARYA, ALEXANDER LEE

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

Abstract: The contemporary world is organized into a system of territorial states in which rulers exercise authority inside clearly defined boundaries and recognize the authority of other rulers outside those boundaries. We develop a model to explain how the major economic and military developments in Europe starting in the fifteenth century contributed to the development of this system. Our model rationalizes the system as an economic cartel in which self‐interested and forward‐looking rulers maintain high tax revenues by reducing competition in the “market for governance.”

Social contracts for real moral agents: a synthesis of public reason and public choice approaches to constitutional design

KEVIN VALLIER

CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY

Abstract: Citizens in contemporary democratic societies disagree deeply about the nature of the good life, and they disagree just as profoundly about justice. In building a social contract theory for diverse citizens, then, we cannot rely as heavily on the theory of justice as John Rawls did. I contend that Rawlsian liberals should instead focus on developing an account of constitutional choice that does not depend on agreement about justice. I develop such an account by drawing on the contractarian approach to constitutional choice pioneered by public choice theorists, especially James Buchanan. With some modifications, public choice can help identify mutually justifiable constitutional rules based on the extent to which these constitutional rules produce appropriate laws under normal conditions. This new, synthetic approach to constitutional choice also helps to explain the moral significance of contractarian agreement for the public choice theorist.

Grotius on Property and the Right of Necessity

DENNIS KLIMCHUK

JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

Abstract: It is widely held that in situations of peril, it is permissible to use another’s property without her permission if that is the only way to save oneself from serious harm, but that if one damages or consumes that property, one ought to compensate its owner. However, this idea—that there is what is commonly called ‘the right of necessity’—has proven surprisingly difficult to justify. According to Grotius, the right of necessity issues from a constraint imposed by natural law on the positive law of private property. I defend an interpretation of Grotius’s account of property and the right of necessity against some recent sympathetic readers, and show how he escapes a seemingly telling criticism from Pufendorf.