In the tradition of Milton Friedman’s 1962 classic, Capitalism and Freedom, Lansing Pollock draws on moral, political, and economic theory to defend a libertarian vision of the good society. Pollock argues that mutual consent, derived from a fundamental Kantian moral equality, is the ideal standard for judging relations between persons. He contends that if the equal right of all persons to be free is taken seriously, most of the coercion by government that many take for granted is immoral. Pollock situates libertarian moral theory in an American historical context, one compatible with the views of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Pollock argues that when the Constitution is interpreted according to the political philosophy of the framers, the modern welfare state is unconstitutional. Pollock goes on to demonstrate how free market economies promote human well-being, whereas government regulation is often counterproductive. In advocating a reduction in the size and scope of government, Pollock includes applied policy analyses of poverty and health care, among other topical issues. He also offers an innovative solution to the problem of funding a limited government without violating individual rights. The strength of The Free Society lies in its synthetic achievement. In a book that is accessibly written and sure to appeal to scholar and lay reader alike, Pollock provides a compelling conception of the good society—one in which the libertarian vision includes moral, social, political, and economic perspectives.
Introduction -- Moral Foundations -- Moral Skepticism -- The Freedom Principle -- Evaluating Moral Theories -- Liberalism -- Why Be Moral? -- Summary -- Liberty and Government -- Legitimacy -- Justice -- The Constitution -- Summary -- Liberty and Economics -- General Observations -- Poverty -- The Taxpayer’s Dilemma -- Health Care -- Education -- Government Failure -- Liberty and Reality -- Optimism and Pessimism -- Strategies -- Change