The Classical Liberal Constitution


Next week, Harvard University Press will be releasing my new book, The Classical Liberal Constitution: the Uncertain Quest for Limited Government. This volume — which consists of 700 pages and took over seven years to write — is the most systematic exposition of my views on constitutional law that I have ever produced, offering an alternative to both traditional liberal and conservative legal thought. 

For a brief teaser of the full book, consult my new column for Hoover’s Defining Ideas, where I note:

… [i]t is imperative to remember that eternal vigilance is indeed the price of liberty. When our Supreme Court drops its guard and defers to the federal government on matters of taxation and regulation, we end up with a huge government that saps the energy of a nation and gives us the tragedy that is Obamacare.

The Court’s progressives uphold these laws because they believe in their efficacy, even though labor unions and agricultural cartels always work against the long-term aggregate interests of the community. For their part, conservatives often practice a narrow and misguided originalism that ignores the foundational economic principles that lend coherence to the Constitution as a whole. The classical liberal approach does neither. It rejects both the judicial restraint of the conservatives and the economic naiveté of the progressives, and in so doing supplies the only blueprint for judicial action that can help lift this nation from its current malaise. We pay a high price for straying from first principles.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive

    Available on Kindle?

    How about a ricochet discount?

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive

    Sing it, brother!

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Coolidge

    How about a signed copy?

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Coolidge

    I think Richard has a chance at the Supreme Court now.

    Thanks Harry Reid!

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Member

    Is this book a legal text, or something accessible for the layman?

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Inactive

    Funny, I’ve been reading Hadley Arkes, Tom West, Harry Jaffa — if these are originalists Epstein has in mind — for years.  There’s nothing remotely “narrow” about natural law reasoning. One simply cannot have the economy I and other libertarians want without rootedness in first principles as articulated by such thinkers. 

    If only Ricochet would set up a podcast between Arkes and Epstein.   I might then listen again to Epstein, whom I summarily wrote off some time back after his risibly ignorant slander of same-sex marriage opponents, comparing them to miscegenation advocates. 

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    RPD: Is this book a legal text, or something accessible for the layman? · 26 minutes ago

    um….700 pages…that answers the question for this layman. 

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Inactive

    The perfect airplane book, assuming you’re on a 70-hour flight next to John Yoo.

    • #8

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