How I love dogs.
Pierre Desrochers sums up much of what is wrong with locavorism, the fetishisation of local agriculture as the magic bullet that will solve our food problems.
See also Freedom and the Environment.
"In 1862, when Congress passed the celebrated "Homestead Act" that gave 160 free acres to any settler willing to live on the land for five years and develop it, it was only sanctioning what settlers had already done by themselves." (de Soto, H. (2000), The Mystery of Capital, Missing Lessons of US History, Basic Books, p. 147)
Regarding the interaction of freedom, politics, government, and the state, a number of facts related to the Homestead movement should be noted that are diametrically opposite to what many libertarians would claim.
Left to their own devices and faced with an old legal order (British common law) that refused to take account of the special situation in the New World, American settlers were seeking acceptance through the help of politicians and a state willing and capable of pulling them into a legality to be newly defined. Politicians, legislators and government authorities played a key role in accommodating the dire need of a legally recognised and secure new identity for millions of Americans.
Quite in keeping with the attitudes of the great thinkers of early liberalism, freedom in America was driven by a movement toward sensible laws and government. The free settlers fought ardently for it.
[The Homestead Act signified] the end of a long, exhausting, and bitter struggle between elitist law [British common law protecting the property of establishment's select few] and a new order brought about by massive migration and the needs of an open and sustainable society. (Ibid. p. 148)
What is still a woefully unfinished task in most countries of the Third World today, was accomplished in America by the second half of the 19th century thanks to an open political order capable of absorbing the demands of millions of Americans that were inhabiting a social reality insufficiently reflected in the country's incumbent legal base:
The recognition and integration of of extralegal property rights was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world. (p.148)
This was a huge and protracted political task, involving difficult conflicts. It took political, not economic activity alone, to gradually accommodate more and more of the needs of the new times. In this way:
The Americans gradually legitimized extralegal property norms and arrangements created by the poorest Americans and integrated them into the law of the land.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, information about property and the rules that governed it were dispersed, atomized, and unconnected. [...] [It was] related only to the local community and was not available within any consistent network of systematized representations. [...] American officials [...] when they constructed national laws such as the preemption and mining acts [...] were creating the representational forms that integrated all this loose and isolated property data into a new formal property system. (p. 148/149)
All the great attainments of American freedom, like the Constitution or the land's vital capitalist economy, have been brought about in significant and indispensable measure by non-market action, i.e. by political competition and negotiation. No one seriously looking at the phenomenon of freedom can overlook this fundamental fact, one would expect. However, many libertarians prefer to withdraw into a haze of figments about a world in which freedom is generated (historically and prospectively) by a happy absence of struggle and assertion of the political kind. In reality one has to fight for one's rights, fight to organise and maintain them, and always be prepared for the onslaught against and the revision of one's preferred world by others pursuing their own cause.
In passing laws to integrate the extralegal population, American politicians expressed the revolutionary idea that legal institutions can survive only if they respond to social needs. The American legal system obtained its energy because it built on the experience of the grass-roots Americans and the extralegal arrangements they created, while rejecting those English common law doctrines that had little relevance to problems unique to the United States.
In the long and arduous process of integrating extralegal property rights, American legislators and jurists created a new system much more conducive to a productive and dynamic market economy. This process constituted a revolution born out of the normative expectations of ordinary people, which the government developed into a systematized and professional formal structure. (p.150 - my emphasis)
In any advanced society, there is a division of labour - the more highly differentiated the freer society - that will sensibly encompass and structure a division of labour of consumers and producers of politics and social change. It is time that libertarians open their minds to comprehend this fundamental condition of freedom.
Explains Senator Laura Ebke in her fun fact of the day: "Nebraska has had two official state names: the "Tree Planters' State" and the "Cornhusker State" Nebraska was designated the "Tree Planters' State" by legislative action in 1895. Nebraska's claim to tree-planting fame includes the founding of Arbor Day in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska City, the Timber Culture Act of U.S. Sen. Phineas W. Hitchcock in 1873 and the millions of trees planted by early settlers as windbreaks, woodlots and orchards. The 1945 Legislature changed the official state name to the "Cornhusker State.""
Freedom means progress, thus freedom means an environment more adequate to humankind - and there cannot be any other standard for judging environmental quality.
Pierre Desrochers reminds us:
Last month [written in November, 2006] our southern neighbours welcomed the arrival (or birth) of their three-hundredth million citizen. While the news should have been welcomed, a number of environmental activists and journalists viewed it as cause for concern. They had no reasons to, because a rising population in a prosperous economy is entirely consistent with a higher quality of life and improved environmental amenities. As Dan Griswold of the Cato Institute pointed out, even though the U.S. population is today four times larger than it was a century ago, during this time period "life expectancy at birth has grown from 48 to 78 years, infant mortality rates have plunged, a host of deadly diseases have been conquered, and the air we breathe and the water we drink are far cleaner than when we were a less populous country."
The idea that economic growth generates pollution problems, but simultaneously provides the means to clean up most of them and even to improve on earlier conditions, is probably too counterintuitive to be readily accepted by most people. It is nonetheless backed up by much historical evidence. A brief discussion of the causes underlying forest regrowth and improvements in air and water quality in advanced economies can be illustrative in this respect.
Take, for instance, the case of forest cover:
It is a common misconception that deforestation is a recent occurrence, with the bulk of it taking place in the tropical regions of the world in the last five decades. As Williams (2002) points out, possibly as much as nine-tenths of all deforestation occurred before 1950, as people cleared forests for shelter, food, warmth and to create a multitude of implements. Beginning in some European countries in the middle of the nineteenth century, however, these trends have long been reversed in virtually all advanced economies and in some developing economies (including China and India). Among other factors explaining this rebirth of forests in over fifty countries is the fact that farmers and foresters became increasingly efficient in their capacity to grow more food and fiber on ever-decreasing areas, with the resulting abandonment of pasture and cropland paving the way to afforestation and reforestation.
Meanwhile, wood users became increasingly adept at extracting more value out of their input, while development of substitute products, ranging from electricity to plastics and metals, reduced the demand for wood (Ausubel, 2000; Williams, 1989). Rudel et al. (2004) also point out that economic development and urbanization has created better paying non-farming jobs in urban areas, causing a number of agricultural workers to abandon their land. In places with stable or growing populations and little ability to import forest products, continued declines in forest cover spur increases in prices of forest products, causing landowners to plant trees instead of crops or pasture grasses. Disastrous floods in deforested watersheds have also motivated government officials in developing, but now prosperous, countries to implement reforestation programs.
Make sure to read the entire short piece.
See also Desrochers' Free Market Ways to Solve Environmental Problems, Millions from Waste - How Capitalism Saves the Environment, and Liberty's Vacant Preserve - the Environment, When Economists Were Still Economists.
Posted by Georg Thomas on 04/25/2015 at 12:56 PM in "Goin' Green", American Culture, Books & Media, Economics, Georg Thomas, Goin' Green, History Lessons, Laura Ebke, Media/Media Bias, National/International Affairs, Odds & Ends, Social Philosophy, State/Nebraska Politics, Technology, Internet | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Continued from The Age of Liberalism:
I have progressed to page 178 of "The Evolution of Modern Liberty," George Scherger's book published in 1904, 111 years ago. It is an excellent history of the thinking that underlies the great American documents of freedom.
I made two striking observations - well, they are striking in so far, as I am still somewhat influenced by the triumphant tone in which many libertarians tend to emphasise that the Constitution does not mention democracy. My own research into liberty has convinced me of the importance of government and democracy for a free society; and in this way, my own intellectual growth has alienated me from the anti-democratic ("Democracy - the God That Failed") fervour and crypto-anarchist demonisation of the state that have become the affective badge of membership among so many libertarians.
Scherger demonstrates convincingly - without this being his objective, I suppose, but still evident in the filters of my reading - that the intellectual mentors most formative to the pioneers of American freedom regarded both the state as well as democracy an indispensable tools for the creation of a free society.
As I scribbled in the margin:
Looking at the liberalism of the Whigs, of its leading political philosopher, John Locke, and of Blackstone and others, Milton perhaps, who profoundly influenced the convictions of the American Revolution, I detect no anti-democratic or anti-state inclinations, but instead an ardent belief in government and public sovereignty and the need to cultivate these institutions responsibly and to protect them from neglect and abuse.
The foundation of [John Locke's] political system is the sovereign power of the community. The end of all government is the good of the people. Institutions can be founded on the consent of the people alone.
In America the principles of the Whigs fell upon a more fruitful soil than in England.The Whig platform became the platform of the colonists. Its doctrines were embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the American Bills of Rights. (p. 149)
It appears that the libertarian emphasis on government abuse has gradually come to crowd out the underlying raison d'être for such concern - the insight that a certain form of government is requisite to liberty, and hence, deserves the most attentive management and protection.
Now, let us turn to the colonists:
They held the most liberal religious and political views of their time.
Many were Independents who opposed the union of Church and the State and demanded liberty of conscience as a sacred right.
Their democratic principles of church government gave rise to a democratic political spirit.
Each congregation was a miniature republic, electing its pastor and church officers, and, while independent of all others, having absolute control over its own affairs.
There were many other dissenters besides the Independents throughout the colonies-Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, and others. [...] Religious liberty and political freedom have ever gone hand in hand. There is but a step from religious dissent to political opposition. [They] were not likely to submit to oppression and infringement of their political liberties. (p. 164 - all emphases here and below added)
They acknowledged their allegiance to the Crown, but they would not admit the controlling power of Parliament. They considered the Colonial legislatures sovereign within their territories. They were composed of representatives of all the citizens of the colony.
The democratic nature of their political institution and the extent to which they enjoyed the right of self-government could not but breed in the colonists a love of freedom and of individual liberty. (p. 166)
As for the colonists predisposition for democratic ways, consider that the compact theory (the idea that men consent to form a common government) had a special meaning to them:
It was the Congregationalist Church covenant applied to civil society.
The congregation of John Robinson had entered into a covenant before leaving England for Holland. Before disembarking from the Mayflower those of that Church who had come to America, drew up and signed a compact whereby they constituted a body politic. (p. 167)
Many factors worked together to generate a democratic spirit in the colonists [...] To them the principle that all power is derived from the people was more than a theory. [...] The ideas of Milton, Sydney, Hooker, and Locke were familiar to them as Englishmen; but they had among themselves since the beginning of their history ardent champions of democratic views, viz.: Hooker, Roger Williams, Penn, and others.
In the American colonies the conditions existed which engendered democratic views [...] The character of the colonists, their surroundings and form of life, their free political institutions, their democratic form of church government, as well as their past history, bred in them a spirit of individualism. The theory of the sovereignty of the people lay at the basis of their institutions-the doctrine which, as a ray of white light contains the various prismatic colors, embraces in itself all the so-called Rights of Man. (pp. 176/177)
I am reading a fascinating little book published in 1904,
The writer makes me jump from one interesting idea to another, either taken directly from the book or inspired by it. I do not know with which idea to begin.
For starters, I shall confine myself to a simple, yet momentous observation, namely that liberalism has changed significantly since the era of its heyday in the 19th century.
In its contemporaneously dominant adoption by global social democracy, many, indeed, too many inhibitions, taboos, and reservations of classical liberalism are being breached, burdening the economy, jeopardising a balanced political system (one ensuring that no single force in society exerts absolute dominance), and undermining personal freedom - all of which being important pillars of the robust conditions of freedom.
Crude ideological stereotypes of socialist origin - above all, the chimaera of inequality - are being used to leverage insufferably invasive and collectivist attacks on our free societies.
In no small measure, I conjecture, however, these social democratic excesses are being invited by an inability, and - perhaps more deeply causative - a long-standing unwillingness of the classical liberal to enter the political fray so as to delineate his position from social democratic conceit, on the one hand, and anarchist utopianism, on the other hand.
The challenge is that many of the social democratic policies are quite compatible with (robust conditions of) liberty, while some of these have tremendous popular appeal (like certain elements of the welfare state), though there may be other and far better approaches to the respective issues. But if there is no politically vital force to represent these better, genuinely liberal approaches, social democracy is destined to become the dominant political force.
It would probably take an entire book to retrace the many roads that have led to a world in which liberals have become either
As Scherger seems to imply convincingly, the liberalism of the 19th century did include great expectations for and a vision of the state as a liberating force - why this vision has vanished, why modern libertarians have practically reversed the original liberal view of politics and the state remains a puzzle, that I think, we should pay more attention to, so as to regain the ability to see freedom where she exists and not only complain about her being absent or violated:
These declarations of the Rights of Man [most importantly in America, but also in France and later in Germany and other places, so far as they were American-inspired] mark a new ear in the history of mankind.
The humanitarian spirit underlies them-the conception that each individual citizen is entitled to the concern of the State; that this personality is of infinite worth and is a purpose of creation; that he should be recognized as an individual, as a man.
The principles they contain became the creed of Liberalism. The nineteenth century war pre-eminently the century of Liberalism.
(Scherger, G. (1904), The Evolution of Modern Liberty ..., pp. 5 - 6, Skyhorse Publishing-empahisis added)
Note that the great achievements of the age of liberalism rely on
Perhaps no other century witnessed greater and more numerous reforms and a greater extension of individual liberty.
This century is marked by the abolition of slavery in all civilized countries, by the extension of the elective franchise, by the emancipation of woman, by the popularization of government, and by countless other reforms.
(Ibid, emphasis added)
Continued at Birth of American Freedom - Government and Democracy.
Posted by Georg Thomas on 04/11/2015 at 12:24 PM in American Culture, Books & Media, Constitution, Film, Georg Thomas, Grassroots Activism, History Lessons, Liberty Laid Bare, Media/Media Bias, National/International Affairs, Pure Politics, Social Philosophy, Socialism Gone Wild, Supreme Court, Taxes and Spending | Permalink | Comments (0)
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I am a great admirer of Senator Laura Ebke.
Not least because she does what I do not do, so many of us do not do, though we ought to: she puts her convictions to the test of real politics.
I do not refrain from politics because I think it is per se wrong to engage in it, as unfortunately so many libertarians think. I stay away from the fray because it is so tough and gruelling.
Yet we need voices like that of Senator Ebke to be heard in the political arena, voices of those conscious of freedom.
A lot of my writing here at RSE is in defence of politics and the state, an incongruous position, many believe, for someone concerned with freedom.
However, over the years, I have come to realise that politics and the state are vital to our liberty; and when I say this, I think of public personalities like Senator Laura Ebke - undogmatic yet principled believers in freedom, with courage and circumspection in equal measure to defend their views tenaciously and to yield to better insight (of the need of compromise, for instance) when resistance to it becomes unreasonable.
Make sure to visit Senator Ebke's excellent facebook page.
The modern mainstream libertarian fails to recognise three basic pillars of freedom in the modern world, which incongruously puts her in opposition to a regime representing the highest degree of freedom ever attained:
The three corner points of the libertarian triangle of oblivion are
Robust Conditions of Freedom
(1) The libertarian does not understand that liberty depends on a number of robust conditions, rather than a set of perfect conditions; as long as these robust conditions are operative, many different permutations of restrictions on personal freedom may be enforced without destroying or endangering a free society. Civil society is not jeopardised by a mandate requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets, notwithstanding the question of whether such a mandate is wise or the best solution to the problem at hand.
Those conscious of freedom have no end of good points to make that are likely to prevent nonsensical decisions and detriment, but many of these considerations may be ignored at the end of the day, while freedom is still not anywhere near being abrogated.
A good description of the robust conditions of freedom is found in the Oakeshott-quote in A Culture of Freedom - Oakeshott on Liberty (1/3).
(2) The libertarian does not understand that an egalitarian demos is the very model of the public on which the idea of personal freedom rests. A free person is one that is allowed to develop and canvass her own preferred ideas as to how the public is to be defined and regulated. Within the inalienable fence of robust conditions of freedom a host of very different notions of what is conducive to the common weal will develop in a free society.
The Invisible Hand of Politics
(3) The libertarian does not understand that in order for unrestricted pluralism - a fundamental requirement of freedom's egalitarian demos - to prevail without destroying the robust conditions of freedom, we need all sorts of (designed and evolved) rituals and other mechanisms that ensure mutual reassurance, violence prevention and ultimately effective trust among the participants in the political competition of a free society.
By "effective trust" I mean, that even though we may be highly indignant about our political opponents, we will (effectively) trust them not to kill us or do other intolerably severe harm to us, and vice versa. (I know an American couple who think I am a racist simply because they put me in the Republican box, but I am sure they will never stab me for that reason. In fact, even though many of their political views are utterly revolting to me, we are on genuinely friendly terms when we meet as we occasionally do in a certain restaurant. I feel, this "effective trust" is a marvel of institutional evolution, and it is the fruit of the invisible hand in politics. We do not see how we are led to effectively trust one another as if guided by an invisible hand.
Precisely because in a pluralistic, i.e. in a free society we are given a high degree of autonomy and thus the ability to work out, advertise, and pursue our own ideas and plans, unanimity is likely to be scarce in many vital ways. A rational consensus is hard to attain on many decisive issues, so we need transrational layers of public exchange that allow us to signal and practice tolerance, productive tit-for-tat, long run give-and-take. Our political institutions and practices have secondary, unintended benign consequences as analogous to those of the invisible hand in the economic sphere that the libertarian rightly keeps praising.
Just as it is frustrating to talk to people who do not comprehend the invisible hand of the market, it is vexing to notice that the libertarian is incapable of looking for spontaneous order and the invisible hand in politics.
Grotesquely, the libertarian opposes the best form of feasible freedom ever attained.
Averse to "voice" (the expression of the political intent of free citizens) and "public choices" (publicly ratified action binding on the community), the libertarian tends to discount or be oblivious to what democratic messages tell us about libertarianism, namely that it has little appeal to the modern demos, who is hardly inclined to
1. Freedom as Real Wealth
As we have seen in Competing for Liberty (3/6) ... , Stigler suggests that freedom ought to be measured in terms of real wealth, i.e. the maximisation of the set of desirable opportunities open to an individual. If by real wealth we mean purchasing power in an exchange economy, we face two difficulties.
First, it is conceivable that a person with less purchasing power may be able to maximise the set of opportunities desirable to him to a larger extent than a person with more purchasing power (happy pauper vs. desolate billionaire). Second, Stigler's proposition does not contain criteria that filter out opportunities that we do not wish to be available under a regime of freedom.
If by real wealth we simply mean utility, i.e. maximising freedom is the same as maximising real wealth and the latter is the same as maximising utility (personal satisfaction in the broadest sense), freedom again loses
for not only is it often impossible to ascertain whether a person is actually maximising utility, but it is for the person in question often impossible to know whether she is actually maximising utility -- maybe it would have been better for her to become a computer scientist rather than a teacher of English.
No doubt, freedom in the classical liberal sense will tend to increase real wealth in accordance with both denotations of the word - purchasing power and utility maximisation. That is, freedom tends to make us more wealthy, and she tends to expand the choices at hand as well as the scope we have to choose freely from alternatives.
But these benefits of freedom depend on the type of acts of coercion that we treat as admissible and those that we suppress.
2. Coercion as an Inverse Index of Freedom
Liberty has a purpose:
the simultaneity of
Obstacles to the attainment of this bundle of simultaneous purposes to which freedom is geared may be regarded as forms of illegitimate coercion, which in turn, may be removed or prevented by the kind of coercion that is legitimate under a regime of freedom.
We cannot achieve freedom by successfully excluding the possibility of damaging storms, insect infestation, and other acts and events that lie outside the purview of human interaction. Freedom is a set of rules concerning the legitimate forms of conduct among human beings. Thus the kind of coercion to be minimised and the kind of coercion admissible under a regime of liberty is confined to certain characteristics of human behaviour capable of being addressed by laws and other rules.
3. Freedom as Efficiency
While freedom is not real wealth, but can momentously foster the generation of real wealth (see first section), she demands efficient execution. Freedom is attended by efficiency, but she is not conterminous with it. We will and ought to strive to achieve freedom as efficiently as possible.
In suppressing certain repudiated forms of coercion by other legitimised forms of coercion we seek to be efficient in achieving the underlying objectives, the bundle of purposes that define freedom.
Most importantly, efficiency is a facilitating practice, whose moral quality is exogenous to it. Whether or not we wish a practice to be pursued efficiently, indeed at all, depends on the use to which the efficient practice is put.
Depending on goal-defining tastes and preferences, maximum efficiency can be at work in human societies that are oriented toward very different moral ambitions. You can be efficient at searching out and killing Jews. You can be efficient at searching out Nazis and keeping them from doing nasty things to people.
Freedom is not unaffected by this.
Any manifestation of a free society is the result of forces competing more or less consciously for the prevalent meaning or practice of freedom.
I would argue that the purpose of freedom is to create a playing field for the competitive design and development of freedom.
To make sure I am not accused of circular reasoning, let me rephrase the last sentence:
The purpose of robust conditions of freedom is to create a playing field for the competitive design and development of alternative arrangements of specific freedoms compatible with robust conditions of freedom.
Owing to differing initial conditions, tastes, and preferences, two countries may come up with different specific arrangements of restrictions and freedoms, having derived them from respecting the same robust conditions of freedom.
Every human being is subject to his own characteristic of loyalties and traditions, group affiliation, inventiveness, acumen, local conditions, life circumstances, values, endowments and cost perceptions/scenarios. In a world where freedom comes at a price, different people can be expected to lay out different scenarios for listing and prioritising traits of freedom that they wish to invest in as private actors, as political principals, or as political agents.
For all those, who believe that shared decision-making (politics) is a deluded aberration from freedom as fully producible by market transactions, they ought to consider that economic scarcity and the attendant need to ration possessions, goods, and services produces political scarcity, the lack of value-unanimity and the attendant need to ration the implementation of ideological desiderata in society.
As she frees people to practice ideological autonomy, freedom is more productive of political scarcity - measured as the number of different views that may be expressed and practically pursued - than any other societal arrangement. Therefore, freedom must also be the project that ensures the peaceful pursuit of pluralism. In a word: freedom is a political enterprise - for more see Freedom as Method, Harm Principle, Benefit Principle, and the Good Politician.
Image credit. Following up from Competing for Liberty (4/6) - Two Functions of Law, and Liberty as Method vs Liberty as Blueprint, read more below on why liberty can never be the preserve of one school, faction, or an outstanding personality.
Crusoe-Freedom vs. Sociogenic Freedom
Freedom as Property Rights
Let us start off by
conceiving of the freedom of the INDIVIDUAL quite simply as the absence of personal or social restraints on his behaviour. Crusoe ... is a free man according to this definition ... [which] sees all limitations on a person's freedom as emanating from individual or collective actions by others.
(Demsetz, H., The Meaning of Freedom, p.286, emphasis added)
Now, let us try to extend the definition of
To this purpose, Harold Demsetz argues:
[W]e may begin by basing the freedom of a society of persons on two conditions: (1) all rights to act are private, which means not to be interfered with by the state, and (2) all persons enjoy the same rights ... [F]or brevity, denote a society satisfying them as privatized. (p.286)
In order to arrive at a reasonably unambiguous model of freedom, we must also grant the assumption that freedom-via-privatization can be achieved without incurring any costs. Why this assumption is required to ensure non-ambiguity, we shall see in a moment.
In this model, all rights are simply assumed to be private, symmetric, known, and respected. No problems of defining and enforcing private rights arise. Each person ... is a Crusoe whose interactions with others are guided by impersonally set prices and whose domain of action is determined by his (acknowledged by others) wealth. The trade-offs available to him are determined by the non-collusive aggregate of wants and preferences, the given state of technology, and the relative abundance of resources. (p. 287)
The above is a neat summary of the mostly unacknowledged assumptions inherent in the politics-and-democracy-averse libertarian vision of markets-as-social-order, i.e. the idea that all human affairs can be settled in the market place, rather than requiring additional forms of reconciliation and enforcement other than those attainable by way of bilateral transactions.
In this model,
coercion in Hayek's sense [see Competing for Liberty (3/6) ... ] is absent ... since no one controls price or any other parameter of choice. Perfect decentralization also satisfies Stigler's real-wealth maximization criterion [people (i) have consistent tastes, (ii) make correct cost calculations, and (iii) take decisions that maximise utility]. (p. 287)
Assumed to prevail are
diseconomies of scale (and hence, dispersed ownership of substitutable resources), full information, zero transaction cost, and implicitly, costless privatization. The implied dispersal of these rights deprives any one of the ability to impose costs on others. Zero information and transaction costs imply real-wealth maximization ... Coercion is absent, real wealth is maximized, and rights are private. Perfect decentralization seems very much like a leading candidate for modelling the state of liberty. (p. 287)
But then Demsetz warns:
Extending the definition of freedom to a society of individuals is not straightforward. Individuals necessarily impinge on each other because resources are scarce ... Our [above] definition of individual freedom is inadequate to describe the freedom of a society of persons. (p. 286) [...]
Weaken the assumption that private rights are freely known and respected, and ambiguities immediately cloud the relationship between privatization and freedom. How private is a private rights system that is less than completely enforceable ... How secure must private rights be for us to conclude that we are dealing with a society of free persons? (p. 287)
Now it becomes more difficult to define a society of free persons unambiguously,
because of the potential trade-offs [that these questions] imply, trade-offs that would be unnecessary if privatization could be defined and secured costlessly. (p. 287) [...]
The connection between privatization and freedom, which can be given fairly clear meaning in the context of perfect decentralization, becomes opaque in the face of positive costs of privatization. Full privatization is not attainable in the face of positive implementation costs, and the degree of privatization that is attainable by persons free to choose is that which privatizes only to the degree that they judge efficient. (p. 289)
No matter whether you subscribe to the small government approach to liberty (with a night-watchman state) or whether you support the idea of a society of free persons
conceived of as relying strictly on private means to define and enforce rights [p. 288]
an important problem that both alternatives fail to resolve: that of defining a state of liberty in a regime of scare resources.
Given that there are costs of improving the reliability of private rights, what degree of certainty in the exercise of private rights characterizes this state? ... [E]ach person will consider what other goals must be sacrificed to improve the reliability of his private rights.
Suppose that persons who populate a society place a very low value on improving the reliability of private rights and a very high value on other goals. Is the state of liberty appropriately characterized by the level of privatization chosen in this society?
What values must a people attach to freedom before their chosen degree of privatization meets the requirements of a state of liberty? Defining the state of liberty in terms of private rights (defended privately or by the state) offers no answer to this question. (p. 288) - emphasis added.
Free choice, the very precondition of free markets, engenders political scarcity, i.e. different strategies that people apply to form an attitude toward freedom that appears to them morally, religiously, or otherwise ideologically desirable and economically and otherwise practically feasible.
This is the root cause of the natural contestability and faction-transcending competitiveness of liberty. See in particular the first post in the present series: Competing for Liberty (1/6) - Libertarian Paternalism and the Contestability of Freedom.