Feser gave the Hayek Memorial Lecture at the Mises Institute’s Austrian Scholars Conference in 2005. In it, he touches of some points that will further shed light on his views of conflict between natural law and libertarianism. Feser began to give up on libertarianism by 2004, so this lecture was given after this evolution in his views.
In this lecture, he focuses particularly on the social writing of Hayek and Rothbard:
My critique is an internal one, though, a friendly challenge to Austrian sympathizers from someone who shares their sympathy.
Throughout, he uses the term Austrian, but what he is discussing is some combination of Austrian economics and libertarianism as he discusses both economic and social/political theory. Feser’s focus is social justice, but not as the term is used in the broad sense today:
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Both these thinkers rejected the very idea of social justice as incoherent – Hayek explicitly, Rothbard implicitly. I want to argue that they were wrong to do so, and wrong even though they were right to criticize the specifically socialist conceptions of social justice that were their main targets.
I do not intend to go through the details of these critiques – offering my critique of Feser’s critiques; this post is already much too long. Instead, I will look at his arguments for this narrowed version of social justice and alternatives to his views that these necessarily lead away from libertarianism.
As I have mentioned, the task for individuals who favor liberty – including the non-aggression…