Liberty and Equality

Liberty and Equality

Editor: Tibor R. Machan
ISBN: 978-0-8179-2862-9
Publication Date: 8/28/2002
Pages: 128

The Declaration of Independence asserts that "all men are created equal"—but in what way are we equal? Does this mean that we all have a right to the same rewards and benefits society has to offer? Or that every time an individual achieves something beyond what has been accomplished by others, he must give it up—along with, as would naturally follow, his personal freedom and autonomy?

Liberty and Equality takes an unflinching look at the difficult, often emotional issues that arise when egalitarianism collides with individual liberties. Personal autonomy, the contributors show, is sharply at odds with the "coercive egalitarianism" championed by many today. Through well-researched arguments, they offer their insightful views on the most important aspects of this often controversial issue. They examine the history of equality versus autonomy from ancient times through the present day, showing how it has become central to modern political and social debate, and explain why we all have a general right to liberty—but not a fundamental right to equality.

Machan and his contributors clearly illustrate why the kind of egalitarianism preached by socialists and other sentimentalists is ultimately not an option in a free society, exposing its very real consequences. For example, they show how the advocacy of economic equality in any absolute sense would lead to a severe loss in economic benefits for all—and they reveal the potentially disastrous social and political changes that could occur if contemporary feminists attained the full "equality" they desire from society. Concluding on a more hopeful note, they explain how a different conception of liberty and equality might eliminate the tension between the two and allow the ideals of both to coexist in today's society.


Liberty and Equality, edited by Tibor R. Machan
In Stock
Buy This Book »
Available Formats:
  • Paper $15.00

Tibor R. Machan

Tibor R. Machan is a Hoover research fellow, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Auburn University, Alabama, and holds the R. C. Hoiles Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University.


Review and Rate this Item
Be the first to submit a review on this product!
Review and Rate this Item




The Errors of Egalitarianism
Tibor R. Machan

The Meaning of Equality
Nicholas Capaldi

Liberty and Equality—A Question of Balance?
Jan Narveson

An Unladylike Meditation on Egalitarianism
Ellen R. Klein

Equality and Liberty as Complements
Mark LeBar


The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, founded at Stanford University in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, who went on to become the thirty-first president of the United States, is an interdisciplinary research center for advanced study on domestic and international affairs. The views expressed in its publications are entirely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff, officers, or Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution.

Hoover Institution Press Publication No. 498 Copyrightã 2002 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.

First printing 2002

Manufactured in the United States of America

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Liberty and Equality / edited by Tibor R. Machan.
p. cm. (Philosophic reflections on a free society)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8179-2862-6 (alk. paper)
1. Equality. 2. Liberty. I. Machan, Tibor R. II. Series.
JC575 .L54 2002


Sign Up

Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter and notifications of all our new book releases

sign up for the newsletter