Liberty Matters

Ultima Verba

I'm grateful to my four interlocutors for an exceptionally stimulating exchange -- and to Liberty Fund for making it possible.
I began this conversation by hailing what I consider to be Molinari's two most distinctive contributions to libertarian thought: the competitive provision of security and the empowerment of labor via the subjection of employers to fuller market discipline. Whatever the flaws in Molinari's specific versions of these proposals, the general ideas remain, in my judgment, crucial to the libertarian project.
One of us is skeptical of proposals for competitive provision of security, labeling them “rationalist.” Another of us is skeptical of proposals for labor empowerment, labeling them “wishful thinking.” Others among us have argued that we have good evidence, both theoretical and historical/empirical, for the viability of both.  And along the way we’ve also explored the question of Molinari's place in intellectual history.
These debates will go on, past this symposium and among more people than the five of us.  For a thinker whose first major work was a set of “Conversations,” it seems an appropriate legacy. Whatever the extent of Molinari's possible influence on Proudhon or Bellegarrigue, Tucker or Rothbard, his contributions survive as living issues in these discussions now.  May the Soirées long continue!