Advertisement

Consent, democracy and the future of liberalism

  • Elizabeth Hemsley
Article
  • 14 Downloads

Abstract

In this paper, I examine the ways in which liberal theory and democratic procedure have sought to address the justificatory challenge posed by the existence of coercive states, given the liberal account of individuals as naturally free and equal. In doing so, I invoke the justifications for the limited state advanced by the Austrian school of political economy, referring in particular to the work of F.A.Hayek. I argue that the scepticism this school of theory advances with regard to the effectiveness and desirability of state intervention into the affairs of free individuals, offers a better approach to understanding state legitimacy than does the ideal theory often relied upon by liberal political theorists. I further argue that the simple inclusion of majoritarian democratic procedure as the method for deciding whether, when and how states should intervene into the affairs of free individuals cannot legitimise these interventions in a manner consistent with the demands of liberalism. I finally employ the Austrian school’s scepticism about the state’s capacity to ‘do good’ to advance a proposal for reducing the degree to which any individual need be coerced by a state seeking to advance particular ends rather, than to enforce general rules.

Keywords

Austrian political economy Friedrich Hayek Liberalism Democracy Scope of government State legitimacy Consent 

JEL classification

B310 B400 H110 

Notes

References

  1. Brennan, J. (2017). Against democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Christiano, T. (2004). The Authority of Democracy. The Journal of Political Philosophy, 12, 266–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Grayling, A. C. (2017). Democracy and its crisis. London: Oneworld Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Hayek, F. A. (1944). The road to serfdom. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Hayek, F. A. (1960). The constitution of liberty. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  6. Hayek, F. A. (1976). Law legislation and liberty, volume 2: The mirage of social justice. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. F.A.Hayek. 2010 [1952]. Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason. The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Hobbes, T. (1991). Leviathan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Kant, Immanual. 1970. On the common saying: ‘This may be true in theory but it does not apply in Practice’. In Kant: Political Writings, by H.S. Reiss, 61–92. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kogelmann, Brian. 2018. Justificatory failure and moral entrepreneurs: A Hayekian theory of public reason. In Exploring the Political Economy and Social Philosophy of F A Hayek, by Jayme Lemke, Virgil Henry Storr, Peter Boettke, 79–99. London: Rowman and Littlefield International .Google Scholar
  11. Locke, John. [1690] 1960. Two treatise of government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Madison, J. 1987. "The Federalist Papers No 10." In The Federalist Papers, by A Hamilton, J Jay J Madison. Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  13. Mill, J.S. (2015) [1989]. On Liberty. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  14. von Mises, L. (2005) [1962]. Liberalism: The classical tradition.Indianapolis: Liberty Fund Inc.Google Scholar
  15. Ostrom, V. (1997). The meaning of democracy and the vulnerability of democracies: A response to Tocqueville's challenge. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Quong, J. (2011). Liberalism without perfection. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Quong, Jonathan. 2018. Public reason. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring. Accessed January 28th, 2019. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2018/entries/public-reason.
  18. Rawls, J. (1972). A theory of justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Schumpeter, J. (1950). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  20. Simmons, A. J. (2001). Justification and legitimacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Smith, A. (1981). An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations (Vol I). Indianapolis: Liberty Fund Inc..Google Scholar
  22. Thomas, D. A. L. (1995). Routeledge Philosophy Guidebook to Locke on Government. Abingdon: Routeldge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Hong KongHong KongPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.EdinburghUK

Personalised recommendations