Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Should We Believe in Anything?

The Balanced Budget Amendment: Clarifying the Arguments
Thurman Wesley Arnold (1891 – 1969) is perhaps best remembered as a trust-buster of FDR. He was also a lucid advocate and theorist of the presuppositions of the New Deal. In his The Folklore of Capitalism of 1937 he ventured to observe a change of mental temperament over the preceding generation:
‘Thirty years ago medical men were still fighting for principle, just as political men are fighting it today. There was homeopathic and allopathic schools of medicine. The thinking man was supposed to choose  between two schools in hiring a physician. Today the public is no longer asked to choose between conflicting medical principles. Medicine has been taken over by men of skill rather than men of principle’.
In 1967 Daniel Villey (1910-1968), a mid-20th c French classical liberal, lamented the same change in his A la Recherche d'une Doctrine Economique:
‘Until a recent period ... economists were men of doctrine. One did not distinguish among them so much as today by means of the techniques they use, or even by the particular field they had chosen to specialise in  – but according to their doctrines... He was an agrarian or an industrialiser. Or a liberal, or a socialist, or a corporatist, or a cooperationist, or a dirigiste. In the eyes of ... the public, economics had as its end a great contest, continually reborn, in which the partisans of laissez-faire  confronted those of intervention. It was no less in other disciplines. Was he classic or romantic? Monarchist or republican, conservative or progressive, nationalist or cosmopolitan? Times have changed. As for economists, who today cares to carry the label socialist or liberal? Our day disdains, deprecates , condemns doctrine.’
Thus the shift that was a cause for chagrin to Villey was a cause for deep satisfaction to Arnold. The two authors, then, provide an eloquent statement of perfectly contrary positions on the value of doctrine.
Arnold’s position is rooted in that coalition of egalitarianism and technocracy that was so nourishing of Dewyite pragmatism and American ‘institutionalism’, and so manifest in the New Deal.     
To Arnold the great defect of ‘principles’ – the stuff of ‘doctrine’ – was epistemological. They offend that untrammeled empiricism which can be the only source of knowledge in human affairs.And principles - being abstractions - do not respect that  intimate union of politics, economics, law anthropology etc that will characterise any given social phenomenon. Arnold's case against principles this far is a familiar one. And arguable. For the 'mind of principles' believes they have absorbed the lessons Experience has to teach, and sees no call to return to her class room each and every day. And the 'mind of principles' Experience cannot teach why and how the machine works: it must be taken to pieces in the imagination.

Arnold's case against principles extend to normative ones. Such principles infringe the root and branch utilitarianism that appears to be Arnold’s sole guide to action. Making things worse, normative principles commonly contradict one another, and so only add to the difficulty of implementing ‘practical’ solutions. The upshot was that the 'method of principles' corners radicals in a struggle for an impossible Utopia, paralyses conservatives with Ideology (in Mannheim’s sense), and leaves economists and lawyers ‘preaching’ rather than giving ‘practical advice’.
In Arnold’s telling, socially useful ends are secured only by those who reject ideals and principles. He proposes to illustrate this by reference to Jewish money lenders who usefully subverted the ban of medieval canons on lending at interest. A second of Arnold’s example is the propagation of quinine: the medical faculty at Sorbonne proscribed its use in 1638, ostensibly on account of its inconsistency with Galenic doctrine, and its effective introduction to France had to await the activities of the ‘quack’ Robert Talbot in 1680.
Arnold’s supreme illustration of the utility of scorning all ideals and principles is the 20th c US urban ‘political machine’. This exists, he says 'because people ... do not wish the government to be practical’.  The upshot is that ‘thrifty, moral communities have a tendency to remain in the backwoods while a city like Chicago astonishes us with both its civic improvement and its political corruption.’ 
In summary, ‘the great achievements in human organisation have been accomplished by unscrupulous men who have violated most of the principles we cherish’, and Arnold commends ‘opportunistic action ... based not upon learning but upon political expediency’
Our Arnoldian journey concludes, therefore, in a Mandevillian universe of moral paradox  ....the vision of the beautiful infrastructure built upon the base foundation...  the praise of the political fixer ...: all this is reminiscent of the Enlightenment immoralist.  
If immorality and dishonesty are some compensation for  principles, would it  be not still better if principles were to disappear altogether? Arnold deems this an idle query. Humankind is addicted to principles; partly because of a (regrettable) attachment  to ‘rational thinking’, and even more because  ‘almost all human conduct is symbolic’; ie it is not purely instrumental to material, utilitarian goals. ‘Society is generally more interested in ... watching itself go by in a whole series of different uniforms than it is in practical objectives’. But while  there is no hope that this will alter, we may still hope for the advent of doctrines that give confidence and morale to a community, and ‘provide a faith which permit men to do practical and humanitarian things’. Doctrine, then, is potentially a useful myth, or in Arnold’s favoured comparison, ‘religion’; and we should judge any doctrine not by its ‘truth’ or ‘falsehood’ (Arnold’s sneer quotes) but by its utility.
As Arnold’s technocracy undergirds his repudiation of doctrine, soVilley’s liberalism sustains his affirmation of doctrine.
To Villey the point doctrine is to articulate a perspective on the human world. Doctrine, therefore, is not a denial of the ‘intermingling’ of so many different factors in social world (economic, legal, political ...) but a inevitable response to that complexity.
And as the choice of perspective is personal, doctrine is essentially personal. How could one separate Nietzscheanism from Neitzsche, asks Villey? One could ask the same of Marx or Hayek.  Or Samuelson.That ‘personal’ characteristic  is precious attribute of doctrine; our choice  of doctrine is an expression of our freedom; and like all such expressions, it is an expression of ourselves; it helps thou ‘know thyself’; it fulfils us.
Villey vision of doctrine, then, is an essentially artistic one. Doctrine is closer to literature than either the sciences or religion. Unlike both science and religion it essentially personal, even private, rather than collective. Unlike both science and religion, doctrine is characterised by a relativism that hovers between objectivity and subjectivity.  Many different doctrinal perspectives, says Villey, are equally true. They do not merely each contain a part of truth, each is a part of truth.  The term ‘perspective’ is usefully illustrative of Villey's meaning here. Taken literally, any vista is surely as valid as any another, as each is equally the outcome of the observer and the observed.
This relativism of doctrine is concomitant with its essential union with values. Doctrine, says Villey, is  ‘to secure the unity of mind and heart’. So if the output of science is prediction and control’ the output of doctrine is valuation.  If science begins in curiosity and ends in solutions, doctrine begins perplexity and ends in counsel. This counsel is what Arnold dismisses as ‘preaching’, but it is the ultimate end of doctrine.What Arnold completely misses, then, is the forks in the road of life; of the necessity to nominate one alternative over the other. To Arnold it seems there is only one road; and it has a  good direction, and a bad; and we can only wish for some power to move us along that good direction. But life, obviously, is not like that. Perhaps a medical treatment has the risk of severe side effects; even death. Do you take it? Perhaps the patient is a ward of yours (a child, a senile parent); do you administer it?  The answer cannot be found in any ‘technique of human organisation’, or skill, that Arnold so prizes. The answer lies in doctrine.

Will an adjudication, then, award all  to Villey? I do not think so. The relativism of Villey's notion of doctrine quavers precariously on the edge of subjectivism. All perspectives are equally valid, suggestsVilley, and the literal visual usage of the term is corroborating. But, to pursue that usage, are not some vistas more comprehending than others? And if  it is replied that doctrine cannot reach a perfectly general outlook, but must remain in some measure personal, where lies the cognitive value of that personal aspect? Perspectives express our selves, suggest Villey. But if they only express our selves, are they anything more than 'personal style'? There is surely more 'news' in doctrine than that. But news of what? News of ourselves. Philosophers - in Villey's account-  have sought to understand the world, but have only succeeded in understanding of themselves. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Language Rules for Liberals No. 1

Classical liberals should take care to avoid some bad habits in usage.

Never use 'public' to denote 'government', or 'private' to denote 'non-government'.

Thus it should always be,

'government school' not 'public school',
'government transport' not 'public transport',
'government funding' not 'public funding',
'government policy' and never 'public policy'!

What to do with 'private company' and 'public company'? I think 'personal company' would do for 'private company'. A 'public company' is obviously not describable as a 'government company'. I can't think of anything better than 'open company', but 'universal company' might be better.

'Public' in fact is an unhelpful word, generally, as it is obscure in its reference, and is used to fig-leaf state involvement. Doesn't 'public library' sound better than 'government library'? Would you like to take a dip in the 'government pool'?

'Community' is a useful substitute for public. 'Community opinion' can do for 'public opinion', and 'community transport' for 'public transport' which is not solely a government enterprise. And 'community corporation' would be better than 'public corporation' in referring to a corporate body genuinely independent of the state. Similarly, 'community library' and 'community pool'.One might use 'community good' for 'public good', but 'universal good' is perhaps still better.

Monday, 14 January 2013

A single philosophy divided by a common word

To the classical liberal the current American usage of the word ‘liberal’ is a thing of pain. Any initiative to increase government spending is, of course, ‘liberal’; any expansion in government regulation of the economy is by the same usage ‘liberal’. In Capitalism and Freedom Friedman insisted on using ‘liberal’ as a classical liberal would. To no avail: the American usage that originated in the 1930s is stuck fast.

I am not concerned to persuade anyone to use the word ‘liberal’ as I should use it. But I do want to understand usages. My point here is that in the term ‘liberalism’ comprehends three different references.

‘Liberalism’ as an historical episode Historians use the term to describe polities originating in a reformist enlightenment project of post-ancient regime societies of 19th c Europe. This program was, politically, to establish a constitutional, national, parliamentary and impersonal state; economically, to abolish the mercantilist legacy of the early modern state, and any vestiges of medieval constraints on trade; and socially, to remove religion from public life.

Liberalism in this usage is more of an ‘event’, or episode, than a ‘thing’. It is  more of an effect, than a cause, even though the effect, like an explosion, has serious effects itself. This 'liberalism' is singular and unique; and once gone, gone forever. The usage is obviously natural for historians, but frustrating to intellectual historians, since no great intellectual coherence can be expected from these episodes, being a matter of political equilibration rather than exercises in thought. ‘Liberal Italy’ ( from say1865 to 1922) was not terribly liberal.

‘Liberalism’ as a social philosophy  Liberalism here is something that ‘grows’ or ‘develops’, rather than ‘happens’. Obviously, any social philosophy has a history itself, composed of event-like objects (as ‘logical positivism’ as an event in the history of positivism). And neither is outside political history. Thus, liberalism as a social philosophy may have originated,  as Hayek believed, in a reaction to royal absolutism in 17th c Britain. But unlike 'liberalism as a historical episode'  liberalism as social  philosophy is dealing with questions that are almost outside history. A theory of fire may be dead and buried, but its reference is enduring.

‘Liberalism’ as a species of society This is liberalism as sociological phenomenon; a society of a particular nature. It is the type of society where the individual is the basic unit of society (as Daniel Bell puts it). This society is undeniably located "in history"; it is obviously tied up with the modern Europe. Benjamin Constant was capturing this in contrasting the Modern Liberty (of the individual) with the Ancient Liberty (of the polis). When more precisely, it began is a matter of disagreement; Oakeshott saw its germination in late medieval Italy; Rawls in the Reformation; Bell in the 17th century.

But unlike ‘liberalism as historical episode’ it is more like ‘state of matter’ than an event. So one might contend that England' ancien regime concluded in 1649, or one might mount the case for 1832; but no one sees any  profit in dating the year of Britain's commencement as a liberal society. Unlike a ‘liberal age’ or ‘liberal philosophy’, 'liberal society' exists as a matter of degree. Societies are more or less liberal. There will  always some degree of accommodation of liberal values; some pocket where they may be strong even in the face of illiberal sway in other parts. Historically, the economy is, of course, where liberal society is strongest.

This matter of degree is best not seen as a matter of content. There is "legacy liberalism", such as Australian Federalism; something bequeathed by an earlier period, but with which current society has no sympathy for. The degree  of liberalism, then, is best measured resilience of liberalism in the presence of shocks, and growth in their absence. This growth and resilience is fostered by the support of other social dynamics support it; when liberalism manages to engulf, or at least permeate, the domains of polity and community.

Which brings us back to the United States. It is - for better or ill – a deeply liberal society. Everyone in the United States is a liberal in the classical liberal sense, no more so than those oh-so-conservative Tea Partiers (which, recall, keep away from the one thing that might have diistinguished them from classical liberals - social policy). Socialism is an extinct fauna in the American ecosphere; and even the left that survives has never been tied at the hip to labourism, as it has in the rest of the anglosphere. The state is utterly liberalized;  more democratised, federalized, constitutionalised, checked and balanced, sunset-claused, porous, transparent – and less possessed of agency – than any other state. And that, I suspect, has allowed the word ‘liberal’ to seep over to favour a prerogative in state action that in less liberal societies would be rightly deemed an offence to liberalism.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

James M. Buchanan, 1919-2013

The Balanced Budget Amendment: Clarifying the Arguments
James Buchanan, the 2006 Noble Laureate in economics, was born in rural Tennessee, and lived most of his life in the American South. His paternal grandfather had been a Confederate cavalryman who, with Populist support, went on to be a Democratic governor of Tennessee. Buchanan later recalled his boyhood spent reading ‘in grandfather’s attic piled high with radical pamphlets of the 1890s  ... The robber barons were real to me’. By that time the Buchanan family was living in ‘genteel poverty’ in ‘a huge house…in varying states of disrepair’. Young James was expected to re-win the lustre of the family name. But in the approach of world war he was drafted into US Naval Reserve Officers Training Program, where he experienced the ‘blatant discrimination against Southerners, Westerners and Mid-westerners’ that radicalised him against the ‘eastern establishment’. He graduated 6 out of 600, and learned that ‘even unwashed rednecks of Appalachia could stand to measure with scions of Newport’.  One such ‘scion of Newport’ of the same Program was John F Kennedy.  To Buchanan’s mind, Kennedy’s triumph in 1960 was no more than the ‘raw injustice’ of ‘a purchased presidency’.

Buchanan was allocated to the staff of Admiral Nimitz, and there acquired a loathing of the grand-standing of General Macarthur. In July of 1945 he received an instruction to arrange for the USS Minneapolis to pick up ‘a special cargo’. Puzzled by this unusual order, he made out the dispatch nonetheless. Earlier, while on his leave in his home state, he had heard rumours of the Oak Ridge plutonium plant, but only after the Hiroshima bombing, did he realise how he had been one tiny cog in the mechanism of nuclear destruction.

Upon demobilisation, he enrolled in economics at University of Chicago. He saw himself as a ‘liberal socialist, but within was weeks he was a free market advocate. His world view was completed by his study leave in Italy 1955, that acquainted him with the pathologies of the Italian state, and pitiless realism of Italian thinkers towards it. The upshot was an outlook on the relation between government and the economy that was at odds with that of most mid-20th century economists.  They were trustful of government custody of economic management, but wary of democratic pressures on that. Buchanan reversed that position; he distrustful of government and hopeful of democracy. Whereas the standard view saw government as benevolent and competent, in Buchanan’s ‘Public Choice’ position government is no more benevolent than any business. Worse, it was typically a sole provider of its services, and so was best analysed as a monopoly. He argued that this interpretation of government implied that even ‘good policy’ would be for  the ill; as ‘good policy’ simply allowed the goose to be plucked less painfully, and so plucked the more fully.

Whereas in the standard view democracy was the articulation of a ‘general will’ by majoritarian institutions, to Buchanan democracy was a system of competitive political markets. Parliament is a market place - a political market place - where exchange between political constituencies takes. In his classic co-authored work of 1962, The Calculus of Consent ,  he argued that a political system consisting of single chamber making decisions by 50 percent plus one basis could not amount to a process of political exchange. If a reliable majority was secured that would amount to a political monopoly, and consequently constraints should be imposed on such majorities. This was not undemocratic since such constraints would be approved consensually before the political contest began. Buchanan’s analogy was with a game of cards; before the cards are dealt all players agree to the rules that will make the game work. These rules are the constitution, and constitution is essential to healthy democratic politics. Strongly under the sway of US constitutional tradition, Buchanan was seeking to retell the wisdom of his country’s founding fathers to their 20th c descendents.

Buchanan’s confidence in the US political system faltered in the tumult of 1960s, that included bombing of the office of his head of department at UCLA. He saw the spread of ‘constitutional chaos’ underwritten by an unholy alliance of Democrats and Republicans to repeal the ‘unwritten’ prohibition of budget deficits. The fall of the Berlin Wall 1991 brought him little sense of triumph; socialism is dead, he said, but ‘Leviathan lives on’. And while the economists who had that supplied the matter for his ‘economic theory of politics’ were no longer beholden to myth of the benevolent state, they were no longer beholden to anything: they were ’ideological eunuchs’, engrossed in make-believe world of pure theory, that he compared to science fantasy. Of the economics of the last generation, he said ‘I am reminded’ of J. K. Tolkien, ‘who through sheer power of imagination created a whole new world of beings, the hobbit world, in his trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. The analogy is revealing when we recall that Tolkien was writing fairy tales for children.’

Buchanan had the greatness that allowed him to fruitfully cultivate his contradictions; the wish debunk political romance with an attraction to  that of his own;  a readiness to deploy scientific method while maintaining a philosophic texture of mind; to be both alienated from his country and and to love it; to deny all the gods and to give thanks to them.

James Buchanan's 18th Century Cure for a 21st Century Disease

The Balanced Budget Amendment: Clarifying the Arguments
James Buchanan (1919-2013) called on the genius of the 18th century to correct the mediocrity of the 21st. The 2006 Nobel Prize winner spent 60 years arguing that once the economic philosophy of Adam Smith is applied to politics there will appear a political case for that limited government which Smith had argued for on solely economic grounds. The current global agony over government debt perfectly make’s Buchanan’s point.

Buchanan did not deny there might be a purely economic case for government deficits. Do they stimulate total demand? Perhaps. Can they dispense with temporary tax swings by bridging temporary gaps between government spending and revenue? Certainly. But whatever economic arguments favour them, Buchanan believed his ‘economic theory of politics’ showed that government deficits are a bane, and should be made unconstitutional.

His starting point is his conception of the legislature. He did not see it as a debating chamber,: it was a market place, a political market place. In this political market place different political constituencies strike a bargain to fund each other’s most preferred programs.  'I will give you my support for that, in exchange for your support for this'. Such bargains will never strictly mimic the exchange of genuine market, as the taxation to fund any program will always be borne in part by sections of the electorate not benefitting from the program. Someone else, in other words, is always paying for part of your lunch. In consequence, there will be too much government spending.  But at least every program will have some sort of ‘tax price’

The political market place goes from doubtful to disastrous once programs can be funded by deficits. For the capacity to deficit fund means that there is a zero ‘tax price’ at the margin for any piece of government spending. The beneficiaries of programs can charge all its costs to future generations, who are completely unrepresented in the political market place. Government spending being free, elementary economics says political constituencies will ‘buy’ as much of it as they can. And that is until bond buyers balk at ever being repaid. Thus Greece. The price of avoiding that chaos is forgoing the benefits of ‘demand management’ and ‘tax smoothing’ by disallowing deficits even when they seem desirable.

The upshot is that Buchanan favoured a constitutional amendment to enforce a balanced  budget, and thought it politically attainable. Inflation targeting has proved popular, and it is a constraint no less than the balanced budget rule.  In the US local and state governments already commonly disallow deficits. In March 1995 the U.S. Senate failed by only a single vote to approve such an amendment. And Buchanan believed held that until the mid 1960s the balanced budget rule was ‘an integral part of the broader unwritten constitution of the United States’. It was the advent of Keynesian demand management that made possible a coalition between Democrats and Republicans to revoke that unwritten clause.  Democrats saw stimulus in tax cuts, and to Buchanan’s mind ‘”Tax reduction was from the outset more important to conservatives than budget balancing’. The new coalition expressed itself in 1964 Kennedy tax cuts, and even more pungently in the ‘Jobs and Growth’ tax cuts of George Bush.

Buchanan was alive to the power of this coalition in favour of deficits, and proposed that any balanced budget amendment only kick in seven years after it was passed. He also proposed that the rule apply to budget plans, rather than outcomes, as outcomes will inevitably been disturbed by unforeseen events. He also favoured exempting genuinely income-producing capital assets. And he stressed that it was not a cap on government spending as such. The American public would be able to choose to spend as it likes: it would merely have to pay for it.

Buchanan's favour of the balanced budget illustrates Buchanan’s deep faith in a constitutional remedies for dysfunctional politics. His philosophy amounted to a “constitutional salvationism’, reflecting both the political heritage of the United States and the benefits of the rule of law. But regrettably, what one amendment can enacts, a later amendment can repeal. And would there not be every political incentive to repeal a Balanced Budget Amendment? Buchanan never saw the 'unwritten' balanced budget rule of the pre-Keynesian era as the product of the rational consensus that he believed was foundation of constitution-making. He saw the 'unwritten rule' as (in his words) a ‘fiscal religion’; to break it would have been (in his words) ‘sin’, a transgression beyond the pale. It wasn’t a matter of constitutionality but morality. Perhaps today’s endemic deficits require a moral cure rather than a constitutional one.


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Reason, True and False: A Guide For Liberals

The classical liberal has an apparently ambiguous response to 'reason'. In a phrase, they are attracted to 'rationality' and repelled by 'rationalism'. But what does this contrast come down to? Liberals, I submit, differ from rationalists in that liberals see reason as a value, not as a power. Unlike rationalists, they do not see reason as a kind energy or motive force, to be unlocked and unleashed to perform marvels. In  favouring a posture of cognitive humility, the liberal pins no great hopes on human reason. But, for all that, they believe reason exists, and is worth paying for when it is to be had. Why?

The liberal values reason because he believes that freedom cannot perform its economic feats without reason. The invisible hand's merit is not invincible to the merits of the choices that compose it. If you like, we need to know the quickest way to our workplace if the invisible hand is to secure what no planner could ever achieve: a maximising allocation of resources. But this valuation of reason is, it must be allowed, not a valuation of great reason. It is not a scintillating exercise of reason to know the shortest way to work, or home. A horse knows as much. Such mundane performances miss out on so much of the valuation of reason by liberals. Has not the cultivation of mind been a glory of liberal society? Are we to suppose this glory is merely an unbidden fruit of liberal values? Has not no small part of this glory been won by liberal thinkers, and their fellow travelers? Should we assume that their achievement was extraneous to their values?
In truth, it is not immediately clear whether liberal society should value the more refined productions of reason. The invisible hand - let it be stressed - does not require for its success that any one appreciate the invisible hand. It would work just as well if no one believed a word of Smith; or read of word of Smith; or if not a word of Smith had been written.The success of Smith’s Invisible Hand, then, doesn’t require the general public to be philosophers. Or anyone to be a philosopher. Granted: a belief in liberalism requires some 'philosophy': for liberalism is so paradoxical a doctrine that - like the heliocentric model - it is not clear that anyone would believe it without the harvest of sustained intellectual cultivation. But, for all that, liberalism to work doesn't require liberalism to be believed; no more than the circulation of blood requires belief in the circulation of blood.Granted: if the invisible hand was expressly disbelieved by the population then, doubtless, it would not be allowed to operate. Thus reasoning - superior reasoning - can obtain a value in correcting inferior reasoning, and the "Wealth of Nations" gains a value by discrediting "England's Treasure by Forraign Trade". Reason, then, can dispose of sophism.

For all that, in  reading Smith we are still left with the thought that it would for the best if we didn't have any philosophers at all. Hayek seems to reinforce this thought  by suggesting that  social competition is sufficient to select in successful rules of behaviours. There is something odd in Hayek placing such confidence in such 'Darwinian' selection in the midst of the Age of Socialism, but the real defect in Hayek's position is that he istruncating the relation of freedom and reason. Yes, freedom facilitates reason - Hayek's position - but reason also facilitates freedom. Put simply: I can command you, or I can reason with you, (argue with you, discuss with you, etc). I can also seduce, convert you, you subvert you ; all these involve disregard for reason, and, I submit, a disregard for freedom. Reason, then, is the medium by which contrary wills may freely engage. It is the tournament that decides the conflict without resort to force. This conception of reason's value lends itself to a certain understanding of political freedom that has proved popular with liberals; the 'Athenian' conception of democracy, or democracy-as-discussion. But it also obviously has an application to myriad bilateral relations between individuals.

Indeed, the conception of reason as the tiltyard of conflicting wills applies not just to a conflict of wills of different person, but to a clash of wills within the same individual. For one way the person who "does not know what to do" can solve that problem is by submitting to the will to others; to join a cult, or an army, or a totalitarian movement. Another way is to allow the victory of one part of their will over the other.To follow, for example, their "duty" in the face of a conflict of wills is to award dominion of one of their wills over the others. An alternative is for them to debate their motives for one action, or the other. This is surely makes for a freer action.

In  championing reason as the medium by which contrary wills may freely engage, there is no assumption of the power of reason. There is no assumption that rational discussion will produce a political consensus, or even a decent majority. But it is through consensus we would like collective action to take place; and they would like such a consensus to be produced by rational deliberation.

The above brings also out that to liberals reason is 'a' value: it is not 'the' value. Liberals will not sacrifice freedom to reason. They will not support a dictatorship of scientists. Reason is valued as a complement to freedom. But at the same time freedom is a complement to reason, as Hayek rightly maintained. These twin stars orbit each other.