Cover of Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives? by Nathan W. Schlueter and Nikolai G. Wenzel
Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives?
The Foundations of the Libertarian-Conservative Debate
Nathan W. Schlueter and Nikolai G. Wenzel

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November 2016
232 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804792912
Paper ISBN: 9781503600287

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In Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives?, Nathan W. Schlueter and Nikolai G. Wenzel present a lively debate over the essential questions that divide two competing political philosophies. Wenzel—a libertarian who believes the state should be restricted to protecting life, liberty, and property—and Schlueter—a conservative who thinks the state has a larger role to play in protecting public welfare, safety, and morals—explore the fundamental similarities and differences between their respective positions.

Over a series of point-counterpoint chapters, they lay out the essential tenets of their own stances, critiquing the other. This engaging dialogue introduces readers to the foundations of each political philosophy. To vividly illustrate the diverging principles underlying conservatism and libertarianism, the authors explore three different hot-button case studies: marriage, immigration, and education. Compact, accessible, and complete with suggestions for further reading, Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives? is an ideal teaching tool that places these two political perspectives in fruitful dialogue with one another.

About the authors

Nathan W. Schlueter is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Hillsdale College.

Nikolai G. Wenzel is a Research Fellow at the University of Paris Law School's Center for Law & Economics. Previously, he held the Wallace and Marion Reemelin Chair in Free-Market Economics at Hillsdale College and was Associate Professor of Economics at Flagler College.

"The American ethos is rooted in classical liberalism, which forms the foundation for modern conservatives, libertarians, welfare liberals—and their enduring debates. This dialogue between a conservative political philosopher and a libertarian economist illuminates the common ground and the profound disagreements among people who share a common heritage."

—David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute, and author of The Libertarian Mind

"Schlueter and Wenzel explore the conflict and kinship between conservatism and libertarianism with a degree of scholarship that shames the thin 'debate' foisted upon Americans by so many talking heads. Their tenor of mutual respect sets a benchmark for future meetings—or brawls—between our two tribes. Whether or not there can ever be a fusion of these philosophies, their shared appreciation for free people and free markets provides much common ground upon which we might cooperate to preserve our traditions and our liberty."

—Jim DeMint, President, The Heritage Foundation

"American conservatism now faces a crack-up and realignment. Polls and pundits shouldn't decide its future, but rather a serious reflection on justice and the common good. Enter Wenzel and Schlueter's new book. Their arguments are rich and learned, clear and engaging. Whether they are discussing high principles or real-life applications, these authors never shirk the task of good political philosophy: wise judgment. This is a guide for students, activists, thought leaders, and public servants alike."

—Robert P. George, Princeton University

"Schlueter and Wenzel's intriguing book provides not only a useful primer on two distinct political theories, but also a compelling model for how thoughtful individuals can engage in respectful debate despite their deep disagreements. This timely title will help readers see why the longstanding, but uneasy, alliance between conservatives and libertarians is now under threat."

—Jason Brennan, Georgetown University and author of Against Democracy