An Essay on Liberalism and Regulation | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Imposing Values. An Essay on Liberalism and Regulation, By N. Scott Arnold • Reviewed by: Daniel Shapiro

Liberalism comes in two varieties, classical and modern. All liberals support limitations on government power, but modern liberalism favors, while classical liberalism opposes, significant interference with private property rights….

Arnold first asks if reasoned agreement between liberals about this agenda could be achieved by some shared principle. Liberals disagree too much about basic rights to provide common ground, but perhaps this ground could be generated by a common principle that the State has some role to play in providing public goods. Some classical liberals, however, accept the legitimacy of State-provided public goods only if they cannot feasibly be provided by nongovernmental means…

Finding no common ground between liberals on the modern liberal regulatory agenda, Arnold then discusses conversion arguments, arguments for why classical liberals ought to make exceptions to their principles about the scope of government action. Typically, modern liberals use these arguments by identifying some alleged failure in the market order that would supposedly be solved by government regulation; classical liberals reply that regulation makes things worse than they would be if the programs were dismantled or radically altered. After thoroughly canvassing this debate, Arnold concludes the replies are reasonable, which means reasonable disagreement between liberals persists.

putemImposing Values: An Essay on Liberalism and Regulation | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty.

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