Review of James Fitzjames Stephen’s Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1873)

Liberty Fund has an excellent catalog of classic works, the above-referenced title among them. Law and Liberty just launched a new feature, consisting of essays featuring some of the gems from the LF catalog. I wrote the inaugural essay, on James Fitzjames Stephen’s Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, which was a rebuttal to John Stuart Mill’s 1859 book On Liberty. Mill is generally remembered as a libertarian, and in some respects he was, but he was also a socialist in matters of economics and property rights. Stephen is sometimes forgotten by history, to my mind unjustly, as I explain in my essay entitled “A Victorian Case for Ordered Liberty.” Stephen was a classical liberal in his day, which translates into a social conservative in matters of culture and morals, and a libertarian in matters of economics. Stephen, in other words, defies modern characterization in our bastardized political taxonomy. I commend LEF to curious readers.

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