Choice, Contract, Consent: A Restatement of Liberalism

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Choice, Contract, Consent, in restating liberalism, finds its rock-bottom foundations in six first principles that are either self-evident, or readily acceptable to bona fide reason. These simple, relatively undemanding principles dictate the outline of a stable political doctrine. The doctrine is strict, in that it confines the state to mandatory tasks, instead of allowing it discretionary latitude within rules. This is a loose constraint because collective choice can choose its own rules.

Political doctrine informs practical politics. In politics, collective choice replace and often overrides individual choice. For this to be legitimate, it does not suffice to respect procedures, such as those demanded by democracy. Collective choice to be morally justified, needs substantive legitimacy too. Choice, Contract, Consent develops the conditions that substantive legitimacy must meet and delineates the restricted class of cases where a liberal government may pre empt the voluntary choices of its citizens.

1991, ISBN 978 0 255 36246 7, 124pp, PB