Reading the "Public Use" clause

Ilya Somin isomin at
Fri Jun 24 16:45:26 PDT 2005

Well, in that case, F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman are not real
libertarians. Recall that Friedman actually invented the idea of the
negative income tax, a form of guaranteed income for the poor.  Hayek and
Friedman were, of course, the most influential libertarian thinkers of the
20th century. I would bet that most libertarians in the legal academy take
similar views, though I have not done any kind of scientific poll.

I concede the point about Rand, Brandon, Hospers, and Nozick. However,
Branden and Hospers are very minor thinkers at best,and Branden is not
even a political philosopher at all but a psychologist and self-help guru
(I'm surprised if very many people outside libertarian circles actually
have even heard of these two).  Nozick did maintain an absolute
anti-redistribution stand in Anarchy, State, and Utopia, but abandoned it
as unworkable later in his career. And Rand, while an important
popularizer and novelist, was hardly much of a systematic political

I apologize if I digress too much from the appropriate focus of this list.
IF he feels the need, our moderator (also a libertarian who I suspect
doesn't categorically oppose all redistribution), will no doubt set me

Ilya Somin

On Fri, 24 Jun 2005 RJLipkin at wrote:

> It should be noted for  whatever relevance it might have to this thread but
> more importantly for  its relevance to libertarian theory generally that such
> relatively recent  classical libertarians as Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Brandon, John
> Hospers, and, if I  remember correctly, Robert Nozick reject the idea that
> redistribution for the  benefit of the poor is compatible with libertarianism.
> Now there might be more  contemporary forms of "libertarianism" that permit the
> creation of a social  safety-net through taxation and spending; indeed, some
> libertarians might not  wince at embracing a theory whose coherence is
> questionable.  But classical  libertarians embrace this theory not only for its
> commitment to liberty, but  also for its conceptual coherence.
>        As someone who at one time was  committed to classical libertarianism
> and who even now still admires the unity  and coherence of the theory, it's
> difficult to apprehend how "safety-net  'libertarianism'" is a form of
> libertarianism at all.
> Bobby
> Robert Justin  Lipkin
> Professor of Law
> Widener University School of  Law
> Delaware

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