ORDERED ANARCHY; Jasay and his surroundings, Festschrift edited by Hardy Bouillon and Hartmut Kliemt. Aldershot 2007, Ashgate Publishing.

ORDERED ANARCHY; Jasay and his surroundings


Liberalism has become a term that, like the American sports cap, fits all. It is applied indiscriminately to Socialist positions as well as to Libertarian ones. Given this wide range of application it is hard to say what the distinctive common features of all these diverse approaches might be. But there are certain kinds of family resemblance and certain centres of gravity which impose some order on the spectre of in the widest sense of that term “liberal” positions. The centres of gravity are presumably best characterised by naming certain authors whose works stand out as paradigms of specific traditions. On the one hand, there are contractarian liberals. John Rawls – at least if his concept of the priority of liberty is not taken as seriously as it should be – may stand in for the somewhat leftist modern variant of contractarian Liberalism, James Buchanan for centrist classical contractarian Liberalism, Robert Nozick for contractarian Libertarianism. On the other hand, there are Humean non-contractarian liberals. In the Humean tradition of Liberalism, Ken Binmore – who strangely and as we think mistakenly calls his Humean approach “contractarian” – provided the Whiggish, the Hayek of the “Constitution of Liberty” the centrist, and Anthony de Jasay the conservative libertarian paradigms.

All the aforementioned authors provoked rather extended discussions. Jasay is no exception to that but as a relative late-comer who started to write on fundamental issues of political philosophy only after turning 50 (see on this the essays by James Buchanan and Ian Little) he did not yet receive the full attention he deserves. This volume tries to make some progress in this regard by focusing on the dominant Jasayian themes of “ordered anarchy”. It can emerge from individually rational pursuit but has to be defended “against politics” and the allegedly helping though in the last resort destroying hand of the state. For Jasay as for John Stuart Mill there is nothing more dangerous than the illusion that in democratic governments it is “us” who govern and therefore individual liberty is secure. The “rule of submission” whose force derives from the alleged legitimacy of so-called “self-governance” is a threat to liberty and so is our intellectual submission to the prevailing tides of thought. Studying Jasay’s work is a good counter measure against the latter kind of intellectual submission and we hope that the contributions to this volume may facilitate this.

Hardy Bouillon and Hartmut Kliemt

James Buchanan – Introducing Tony de Jasay

Principles of Ordered Anarchy
Hardy Bouillon, Rights, Liberties, and Obligations
Jan Narveson, Jasay on Liberty and Rights
Tom Palmer, No Exit: Framing the Problem of Justice

Ways to Ordered Anarchy
Gerard Radnitzky, Against Politics, for “Ordered Anarchy”
Frank van Dun, Concepts of Order

Limits of Politics
Bruce Benson, Beliefs as Institution-Specific Rationalized Self Interest
Randall Holcombe, Why Government?
Hartmut Kliemt, Constitutional Optimism and Skepticism in Buchanan and Jasay

Ian Little, Anthony de Jasay – A Salute