Vous êtes invité.e.s à entendre Åsbjørn Melkevik nous présenter le livre qu’il prépare et qu’il s’intitulera « If You’re a Classical Liberal, How Come You’re Also an Egalitarian?: A Theory of Rule Egalitarianism » (pour Palgrave McMillan, Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism).
Classical liberalism has wrongly been regarded as an ideology that rejects the welfare state. This book endeavours to correct this far too common reading of the classical liberal tradition. Not only is this tradition compatible with social justice, but it can also help us understand why some egalitarian endeavours are an essential feature of a market society. If a necessary link exists between the classical liberal tradition and the moral and institutional dimensions of the rule of law, then this tradition is bound to uphold a substantial form of social justice. Coherence requires that classical liberals adopt an authentic egalitarian program. That is, if the set of beliefs classical liberals like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman have favoured is justified, then it follows that we should have social justice in market societies. Some neoclassical liberals have argued that social justice requires market capitalism. The argument of this book, conversely, is that market capitalism requires social justice, or, to be more precise, classical liberals cannot argue for market capitalism without also arguing for social justice, because of their prior commitment to the rule of law. They must ameliorate poverty and limit extreme inequality of wealth. There is indeed a need to provide a principled grounding for egalitarian policies within classical liberalism, while at the same time showing how only some such policies are compatible with the main tenets of the classical liberal tradition. This grounding has two dimensions – showing what is compatible and showing what is required. This book provides us with such grounding from a classical liberal standpoint.