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Balance of Freedom, The: Political Economy, Law and Learning

Balance of Freedom, The: Political Economy, Law and Learning
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Edited book , Notes
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The conflicitng principals in modern government and modern society
Can individual freedom and the social good be reconciled? Do liberal democracies require economic preconditions to function? Can liberal democracies escape a slow drift from individual freedom and control over private property to a large welfare state that regulates and taxes all ownership and activities? To what extent do laws intended to protect people from the arbitrary actions of government themselves lead to coercion and limit freedom? Do liberal universities produce men and women that sustain democracy or undermine it? Is there a moral vacuity in liberal democracy that will undermine its vitality?

These questions and others like them refer to the fragile balance between conflicting principles that are demanded of modern government. Professor Michener has organized a discussion by American and European scholars of how the demands of freedom, on the one hand, and social obligation, on the other, are balanced by the primary institutions which maintain liberal democratic societies: the economy, the rule of law, and education. Their penetrating insights illuminate the debates which prevail in modern society.

Allan Meltzer discusses the relationship between voting rights and the economy in liberal democracies. Anthony DeJasay provides a provocative essay on why freedom and social choice are mutually exclusive and why freedom is a bitter pill.

George Fletcher and Andrzej Rapaczynski investigate the relationship of the sovereignty of law to the sovereignty of people. In liberal democracies, there is a balance that must be maintained between the stifling order of rules and the anarchy of individual whims.

The centerpiece of this book is a broad treatise by Edward Shils on the development of the modern university and its role in the creation and support of liberal democracies. Universities, while expected to educate men and women of the character democracy requires, have often been plagued by incivility.

Walter Rüegg explains why liberal education--the studying of classics and the perennial questions of philosophy and society--are a prerequisite to the healthy functioning of liberal democracy. Heinz Maier-Leibnitz adds to this discussion the relationship between specialized education in science and technology and the moral and social purposes to which technology are put.

Judge Robert Bork concludes with a view toward the prospects for democracy, noting that fractious pluralism and a cultural civil war are products of a liberalism emptied of meaning and moral purpose at its core. The courts have seen a history of cases in which individualism has been victorious at the expense of community, making moral relativism "a constitutional command." Future society will be required to move away from extreme individualism to social balance. We can hope that this will be accomplished by new principles of solidarity that will be more benign than the totalitarian principles tried earlier in the twentieth century.

Table of Contents
Series Editors’ Foreword
Roger Michener and Edward Shils
Introductory Note
Roger Michener
Chapter 1. Voting Rights and Redistribution: Implications for Liberal, Democratic Governments
Allan H. Meltzer
Chapter 2. The Bitter Medicine of Freedom
Anthony de Jasay
Chapter 3. Equality and the Rule of Law
George P. Fletcher
Chapter 4. The Rule of Law in a Theoretical and Comparative Perspective
Andno Rapaczynski
Chapter 5. The Idea and Practice of Liberal Democracy and the Modern University, with some
Comments on the Modern Private University
Edward Shils
Chapter 6. Liberal Education as a Prerequisite for Liberal Democracies
Walter Riiegg
Chapter 7. Scientific Man: Curse or Blessing for Liberal Democracy?
Heinz Maier-Leibnitz
Afterword Politics and Culture
Robert H. Bork
Notes on Contributors

ROGER MICHENER has been a professor of law and social thought at the University of Chicago, at Princeton University, and at Tokyo University.

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