This chapter discusses high liberalism, starting with its conception of equality based on an equal sharing of material goods. Compared to the classical liberal ideal pursued by Americans, the European vision of liberal equality saw property rights not as guardians of equality but obstacles to its realization. This notion of property rights extends back at least to Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The chapter first considers the high liberalist views on property and equality, focusing on the arguments advanced by Rousseau, Karl Marx, and John Stuart Mill, before discussing the rise of social justice and the decline of economic liberty. It then examines John Rawls' idea of justice as fairness and the emergence of libertarianism as the leading philosophical alternative to high liberalism. It also explores the fundamental ideas of high liberals with regard to economic liberty and the role of the state in regulating economic affairs in pursuit of the distributional requirements of social justice.
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