At 8 am last week, the American political philosopher John Tomasi was presented at a morning seminar at Timbro, the leading liberal think tank in Scandinavia. The talk and following discussion by three Swedish commentators can be heard here.
His recent book Free market fairness was the occasion for the presentation.
What struck me was a couple of ideas that seem new; there is common ground between libertarianism (Nozick) and social justice (Rawls), Hayek had an early similar version of Rawls´ original position already by 1940s and that the political, economic theorists have mostly had disregard for business and trade. JM Keynes and Marx share the same aristocratic contempt for petty bourgeois activities as did Aristotle and ancient elites such as the upper castes in India (a point often taken by the middle class spokesman, liberal and successful businessman Gurcharan Das). Proponents of social justice, all parties in Sweden and most European too, believe that the good life is beyond business, beyond the practicalities of everyday lives and common people. The social democrats are the worst elitists, with their welfare state admiration and disrespect for market economies.
John Tomasi comes across as the best so far in decent and compassionate liberal philosophy. His position is derided as Bleeding Heart Liberalism but let not that keep you from listening to him and get his book.