Libertarianism and Utilitarianism, Consequentialism

From: R
Sent: Monday, July 29, 2019 2:26 AM
To: Walter Block

I too follow deontological ethics (as does Nozick) but what is the basis for your accepting that over consequentialist ethics (mine is, in part,  that the “the law of unintended consequences” makes consequentialism (which is the basis of david friedman’s views) unworkable.

From: Walter Block <>
Sent: Monday, July 29, 2019 12:37 PM
To: R
Subject: RE:

Dear Richard:

In my view, libertarianism is a principled philosophy. But, it almost always has good consequentialist (utilitarian) results. The problem with consequentialism – utilitarianism is that there are not utils, no measurements of happiness. If there were, then there’s the problem of the utility “monster”: he enjoys killing and eating us way more than we lose utility from being treated in this way.

Here’s a critique of mine on David Friedman:

Block, Walter E. 2011. “David Friedman and Libertarianism: A Critique,” Libertarian Papers, Vol. 3, Article, 35;;

Here are some criticisms of utilitarianism in general:

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. 1989. A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Boston/Dordrecht/London: Kluwer Academic Publishers)  ch. 7 on utilitarian ethics.

Rothbard, Murray N. 1997. “Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics,” in The Logic of Action One (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing), pp. 211-54.

Rothbard, Murray N. 2002. The Ethics of Liberty (New York and London: New York University Press), pp. 201-14.

Rothbard, Murray N. 2010. “Justice and Property Rights: The Failure of Utilitarianism.”

Best regards,



3:00 pm on September 5, 2019