My essay is about two conceptions of the configuration of ownership in the polity, the individualist and the collectivist. The latter implies overlordship.
I say that an intellectual shift from the former to the latter occurred principally after 1880. I quote a few of the great many authors who championed the shift. They talk clearly about issues of ownership. I quote L.T. Hobhouse three times. He was one of the important figures in the shift.
The heart of my essay, then, concerns the two configurations of ownership and the semantics and presumptions that correspond to each. As I say in the essay, “The issue all turns on the configuration of ownership.”
The three-letter permutation own occurs 29 times in my essay. All 29 occurrences pertain to the central idea.
In Professor’s Matthijs’s comment on my essay, the three-letter permutation own occurs just twice, as follows:
- “Klein’s own ‘straw-man’ argument”
- “his own dogmatic libertarian thinking”
Thus, there is not a single occurrence of own as it relates to the central idea of the essay that Professor Matthijs is supposed to be commenting on.
The first two sentences of my essay read: “Libertarians and conservatives say that Obamacare forces you to buy health insurance. Folks of the left are apt to shrug at calling it force.”
Professor Matthijs has shrugged off the entire essay. All I can do is put the question to him directly:
Professor Matthijs, does Obamacare force individuals to buy healthcare?
The individualist configuration of ownership frames the idea of liberty we associate with Hume, Smith, and so many other leading figures up through 1880, and later with such figures as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Richard Epstein. It was the heart of the old liberalism, which the many exponents of the “New Liberalism” saw they needed to call “old” because theirs — openly framed by the collective configuration of ownership, or overlordship — was new.
Professor Matthijs, Do you understand why I see Obamacare as forcing individuals to buy healthcare?
Likewise, I ask the following questions to Professor Matthijs:
Does marijuana prohibition initiate force? Is the law (and concomitant enforcement) an initiation of coercion?? Does it tread on liberty?
And, do you understand how I see it?
Does the minimum wage initiate force against employers who would pay less than $7.25 per hour? Is the law itself an initiation of coercion? Does it tread on liberty?
Do you see any difference between these laws and laws against theft and murder?
If Professor Matthijs is able to understand how I see it, then perhaps we can have a conversation about that way of seeing things, and how Hobhouse and social democracy relates to that way of seeing things.
I would be most interested in his thoughts about the place of that idea of liberty — the Hume-Smith idea — in social democracy.
Professor Matthijs, what place does that idea of liberty have in social democracy?
 Allett, John. 1981. New Liberalism: The Political Economy of J.A. Hobson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Weiler, Peter. 1982. The New Liberalism: Liberal Social Theory in Great Britain, 1889-1914. New York: Garland Publishers.