Liberty Matters

Geoffrey Brennan’s comment on Loren Lomasky


Tempting as it is to play the game – “This is what Buchanan should have said” – it is a dubious game once Jim isn’t around any longer to speak for himself. I think Loren is right to say that Jim had a kind of love/hate relationship with anarchy – and Buchanan says as much in the early pages of Limits to Liberty. But having acknowledged his “love” in those pages, Buchanan goes on immediately in those same pages to repudiate it as a hopeless love. In the “Gospel according to Lomasky,” anarchy may stand high as an exemplar of noncoercion – but to enroll Buchanan as a fellow disciple either requires massive interpretative license or a serious challenge to Buchanan’s coherence.
I think it’s pretty clear that Buchanan bought Hobbes’s interpretation of what anarchy would be like – and Jim did not like that kind of world! He had tried it at UCLA and retreated to the Appalachian foothills to get away from it!