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Liberalism on Individuals - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 116
Individuals/traditional liberalism/Gaus/Mack: The liberty tradition is normatively individualist, affirming the separate value of each individual. This normative individualism underlies an insistence on the illegitimacy of actions and policies that impose losses on some individuals in the name of providing more extensive benefits to others (Nozick, 1974(1): 28–35).
UtilitarianismVsLiberalism: It might seem that utilitarian members of the tradition oppose this: utilitarians insist that only the greatest overall happiness is of value, and so it would seem that individuals are normatively important only as a means to aggregate satisfaction.
LiberalismVsVs: While this might be the crux of utilitarianism in moral theory, it has not been in the liberty tradition.
Ontological individualism: In addition, the liberty tradition is ontologically individualist in that it takes individuals, not classes, or races, or nations, to be in the final analysis the only sites of value, the only real agents, the only true bearers of rights and of responsibilities (see Bentham, 1987(2): ch. 1, s. 4; Buchanan and Tullock, 1965(3): 11–12). Only individuals make choices; there is, literally, no such thing as ‘social choice’ (de Jasay, 1991(4): 57–9).
Normative individualism - the separate importance of each individual’s life, well-being or preference satisfaction - is thought to endorse enforceable moral claims held by all individuals against interferences that diminish their lives, wellbeing or preference satisfaction. A moral claim against interference by others is basic to the liberty tradition (Nozick, 1974(1): 30ff; Machan, 1989(5): 7ff).
Legal individualism: The liberty tradition takes individual liberty to be the core political or legal norm (Robbins, 1961(6): 104). Individual liberty is what each individual may legitimately demand of each other individual. >Property/Liberalism.

1. Nozick, Robert (1974) Anarchy, State and Utopia. New York: Basic.
2. Bentham, Jeremy (1987) Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. In Utilitarianism and Other Essays, ed. Alan Ryan. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
3. Buchanan, James M. and Gordon Tullock (1965) The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
4. De Jasay, Anthony (1991) Choice, Contract and Consent: A Restatement of Liberalism. London: Institute of Economic Affairs.
5. Machan, Tibor (1989) Individuals and Their Rights. La Salle, IL: Open Court.
6. Robbins, Lord (1961) The Theory of Economic Policy in Classical English Political Economy. London: Macmillan.

Mack, Eric and Gaus, Gerald F. 2004. „Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism: The Liberty Tradition.“ In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.

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Brocker I 683
Individuals/Liberalism/Barber: Barber's thesis: The core of liberalism is an instrumental understanding of democracy. Politics is then there to protect individuals against external interference and to achieve this protection in such a way that it is compatible with the supposedly unchanging characteristics of individuals. Liberalism tends to summarize the characteristics of individuals in pessimistic descriptions. Democracy is then accepted as a means for liberal purposes, i.e. for the purposes of homines oeconomici, and according to expediency.(1) See Liberalism/Barber.

1. Benjamin Barber, Strong Democary, Participatory Politics for a New Age, Berkeley CA, 1984, Dt. Benjamin Barber, Starke Demokratie. Über die Teilhabe am Politischen, Hamburg 1994, S. 56.

Michael Haus, „Benjamin Barber, Starke Demokratie“ in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018

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