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Hume's PoliticsCoordination and Crisis in the History of England$
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Andrew Sabl

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691134208

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691134208.001.0001

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Vertical Inequality and the Extortion of Liberty

Vertical Inequality and the Extortion of Liberty

(p.188) Chapter 6 Vertical Inequality and the Extortion of Liberty
Hume's Politics

Andrew Sabl

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at how Hume's theory is obviously attractive to those who live under conditions of brutal civil war or anarchy, or who fear such. Contemporary citizens demand not just order but other things: at the least, liberty, equality, and democracy. With respect to the first two of these, at any rate, Hume agreed and rejected the Hobbesian doctrine that order trumps all other goods. For those who prefer that problems take analytic form, they can regard the kind of political authority that arises as a solution to coordination problems as threatening to bring about two kinds of inequality—these might be called vertical and horizontal. The chapter shows how Hume attacked vertical inequality, which goes by the classic names of monopoly, tyranny, and corruption, by disaggregating “government” very thoroughly.

Keywords:   David Hume, order, liberty, equality, democracy, monopoly, tyranny, corruption, Hobbesian doctrine

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