Adam Smith on Justice, Social Justice, and Ultimate Justice

JAMES R. OTTESON

SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY AND POLICY, Volume 34, Issue 1

Abstract: Adam Smith argues that virtue falls into two broad categories: “justice,” which he calls a “negative” virtue because it principally comprises restraint from harming or injuring others; and “beneficence,” which he calls “positive” because it comprises the actions we ought to take to improve others’ situations. Smith’s conception of justice is thus quite “thin,” and some critics argue that it is indeed too thin, since it fails to incorporate substantive concerns for the well-being of others. In this essay, I lay out Smith’s conception of justice and offer a way to understand it that attempts to comprehend the various things he says about it. I then offer a cluster of objections drawing on criticisms that might fall under the heading of “social justice.” Finally, I suggest how Smith might respond to the criticisms by outlining a Smithian conception of what I call “ultimate justice.”

Judaism and Liberalism: Israel’s Economic Problem with its Haredim

DAVID CONWAY

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS, Volume 37, Issue 2

Abstract: This article argues that, in the arrangements for the public provision of welfare for the poor and a basic education for all in both biblical and post-biblical times, Judaism is more closely in accord with classical liberalism than it is with those variants of liberalism which favour no more than the minimal night-watchman state as well as those which favour the extensive welfare states of contemporary Western social democracies. To the extent that Israel’s ultra-orthodox Jews (its Haredim) have been able to secure more by way of state subsidies (through exploiting the leverage their country’s national system of proportional representation has given them, which often leaves them holding the balance of power), not only are they endangering Israel’s viability as a vibrant, developed liberal democracy, they are also guilty of departing from the religious teachings and tradition of Jewish orthodoxy.

Hume on Education

DAN O’BRIEN

PACIFIC PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY

Abstract: Hume claims that education is ‘disclaimed by philosophy, as a fallacious ground of assent to any opinion’ (T 1.3.10.1) and that it is ‘never . . . recogniz’d by philosophers’ (T 1.3.9.19). He is usually taken to be referring here to indoctrination. I argue, however, that his main concern is with association and those philosophers who emphasize the epistemic dangers of the imagination. These include Locke, Hutcheson and Descartes, but not Hume himself. Hume praises education, highlighting its role in the formation of general rules, and in fostering social conditions that encourage the growth of knowledge and moral virtue.

Colonization and Democracy: Tocqueville Reconsidered

EWA ATANASSOW

AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, Volume 111, Issue 1

Abstract: The prominence of colonization in Tocqueville’s life and works has been widely noted, yet scholars disagree about its importance. The perceived tension between Tocqueville’s analysis of democracy and his advocacy of colonization continues to be the subject of heated scholarly debate. Revisiting Tocqueville’s analytical and practical engagement with colonization, this essay reexamines its relationship to Tocqueville’s account of democracy. It argues that, while lending political support to the French empire, Tocqueville was a clairvoyant critic of colonial rule; and that his involvement with colonization could only be properly understood in light of the historical and civilizational vista that informs his oeuvre as a whole. Proposing that Tocqueville viewed European expansionism as an instrument of the global movement toward democratic equality, the essay concludes with an assessment of the significance of Tocqueville’s colonial writings for his “new political science,” and their relevance today.

Misjudging the character of the welfare state: Hayek, generality, and the knowledge problem

CHRISTOPHER S. MARTIN & NIKOLAI G. WENZEL

THE REVIEW OF AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS

Abstract: What are the limits of collective action? As James Buchanan famously worried, is it possible to empower the productive state without lapsing into the predatory state? This paper uses insights from F.A. Hayek to address problems of public goods and the role of the state. Hayek convincingly argued that no central planner has sufficient knowledge to run an economy. Yet Hayek also allowed for state provision of some goods beyond the prevention of coercion. The question, then, is whether Hayek’s safeguards offer a satisfactory response to Buchanan’s worry. This paper contends that Hayek violated his own conditions for permissible government activity. Nevertheless, he offers a serious research agenda for limiting state abuses.

Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party

SHANKER SATYANATH

JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY

Abstract: Using newly collected data on association density in 229 towns and cities in interwar Germany, we show that denser social networks were associated with faster entry into the Nazi Party. The effect is large: one standard deviation higher association density is associated with at least 15 percent faster Nazi Party entry. Party membership, in turn, predicts electoral success. Social networks thus aided the rise of the Nazis that destroyed Germany’s first democracy. The effects of social capital depended on the political context: in federal states with more stable governments, higher association density was not correlated with faster Nazi Party entry.

Nationhood and Constitutionalism in the Ditch Republic: An Examination of Grotius’ Antiquity of the Batavian Republic

ALEXANDER-DAVEY, E.

HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT, Volume 38, Number 1

Abstract: The emphasis in contemporary democratic theory and in the history of political thought on the ‘natural rights’ theory of popular sovereignty of Locke, precursors of which are found in the work of Hugo Grotius and others, obscures an important relationship between constitutional self-government and nationalism. Through an examination of the early political writings of Grotius, especially his Antiquity of the Batavian Republic, this essay shows how a national consciousness forged out of memories of native traditions of self-government, and stories of heroic ancestors who successfully defended those traditions against usurpers and tyrants, gives concrete substance to otherwise inchoate theories of constitutional self-government.