2 The best treatment is Henri Grenier, Thomistic Philosophy, trans. J. P. E. O’Hanley, vol. 3, Moral Philosophy (Charlottetown, Canada: St. Dunstan’s University Press, 1948). An excellent recent explication of liberal constitutionalism, which clearly grasps the indirect character of liberalism’s approach to the good, is N. W. Barber, The Principles of Constitutionalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). Barber’s treatment does suffer from failure clearly to distinguish aggregate good(s) from (the) common good. See, e.g., p. 241 (speaking of “private goods” that are “aggregated into the common good”). But as I mention later, that is just a hallmark of liberalism itself.
3 Summa theologiae, 2–2.90 et seq.
4 Summa theologiae, 1.22.1 in corp.
5 Adam Ferguson, Essay on the History of Civil Society (Edinburgh: Kincaid & Bell, 1767), 183.
6 Grenier, Moral Philosophy, 353.
7 Grenier, Moral Philosophy, 454.
8 See John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Note A, Liberalism: “Now by Liberalism I mean false liberty of thought, or the exercise of thought upon matters, in which, from the constitution of the human mind, thought cannot be brought to any successful issue, and therefore is out of place.” Apologia Pro Vita Sua: Being a History of His Religious Opinions (London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1875), 288.
9 Paul Oslington, “Divine Action, Providence and Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand,” chap. 5 in Adam Smith as Theologian, ed. Paul Oslington (New York: Routledge, 2011).
10 The classic overview is Jacob Viner, The Role of Providence in the Social Order: An Essay in Intellectual History (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1972). The providentialist interpretation persists well into the early modern era; consider, for example, Giambattista Vico:
Out of ferocity, avarice, and ambition, the three vices which lead all mankind astray, [society] makes national defense, commerce, and politics, and thereby causes the strength, the wealth, and the wisdom of the republics; out of these three great vices which would certainly destroy man on earth, society thus causes the civil happiness to emerge. This principle proves the existence of divine providence: through its intelligent laws the passions of men who are entirely occupied by the pursuit of their private utility are transformed into a civil order which permits men to live in human society.
Quoted in Albert O. Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism before Its Triumph (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), 17 (emphasis added).
11 Theodoret of Cyrus, On Divine Providence, trans. Thomas P. Halton, Ancient Christian Writers 49 (New York: Newman Press, 1988), 78–98.
12 Thus Edna Ullmann-Margalit, in a pair of highly influential papers, sees the displacement of providential design by nonintentional secular mechanisms as the key to the development of the invisible hand. Edna Ullmann-Margalit, “The Invisible Hand and the Cunning of Reason,” Social Research 64, no. 2 (Summer 1997): 181–98; “Invisible hand Explanations,” Synthese 39, no. 2 (October 1978): 263–91.
13 Viner, Role of Providence, 79–82. As Richard Whately put it, for Smith, “Man is, in the same act, doing one thing by choice, for his own benefit, and another, undesignedly, under the care of Providence, for the service of the community.” Introductory Lectures on Political-Economy (1832). Quoted in Oslington, “Divine Action,” 61.
14 To be clear, the agents need not be pursuing self-interest strictly understood in a material sense, corresponding to avarice; they may be pursuing other self-regarding aims, such as glory or fame, a pursuit which may in some sense be contrary to their immediate material “interests.” For example:
In fact, the idea of an “Invisible Hand”—of a force that makes men pursuing their private passions conspire unknowingly toward the public good—was formulated in connection with the search for glory, rather than with the desire for money, by Montesquieu. The pursuit of honor in a monarchy, so he says, “brings life to all the parts of the body politic”; as a result, “it turns out that everyone contributes to the general welfare while thinking that he works for his own interests.”
Quoted in Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests, 10.
15 Samuel Fleischacker, “Adam Smith’s Reception among the American Founders, 1776–1790,” William and Mary Quarterly 59, no. 4 (October 2002): 897–924.
16 “Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism. My personal impression—and this is valid for South America—is that in Chile, for example, we will witness a transition from a dictatorial government to a liberal government. And during this transition it may be necessary to maintain certain dictatorial powers, not as something permanent, but as a temporary arrangement.” F. A. Hayek, interview by Renée Sallas, El Mercurio (April 12, 1981). See also Corey Robin, “The Hayek-Pinochet Connection: A Second Reply to My Critics,” Crooked Timber (blog), June 25, 2013.
17 This distinction is made helpfully in the papers by Ullmann-Margalit.
18 Carl Schmitt, Constitutional Theory, trans. Jeffrey Seitzer (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008), 221.
19 Carl Schmitt, The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy, trans. Ellen Kennedy (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985), 35.
20 Viner, Role of Providence, 60.
21 Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” American Economic Review 35, no. 4 (September 1945): 519–30.
22 Hayek, “Competition as a Discovery Procedure,” trans. Marcellus S. Snow, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 5, no. 3 (Fall 2002): 9–23.
23 Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616, 630 (1919) (Holmes, J., dissenting).
24 Schmitt, Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy, 35–36.
25 Frederick F. Schauer, Free Speech: A Philosophical Inquiry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982).
26 Schmitt, Constitutional Theory, 221.
27 Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, trans. Anne M. Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller, and Harold Samuel Stone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pt. 2, bk. 11, chap. 6, “On the Constitution of England.”
28 Joseph de Maistre, On God and Society: Essay on the Generative Principle of Constitutions and Other Human Institutions, ed. Elisha Greifer, trans. with the assistance of Laurence M. Porter (Chicago: Regnery, 1959); Considerations on France, trans. Richard A. Lebrun (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
29 Schmitt, Constitutional Theory, 221.
30 The idea descends ultimately from Polybius’s account of an equilibrium among Senate, consuls, and people, which of course was justified on entirely different grounds. Polybius, The Histories, trans. W. R. Paton, Loeb Classical Library 188 (London: Heinemann, 1927), bk. 6.
31 M. J. C. Vile, Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers (Oxford: Clarendon, 1967).
32 See, among others, David Prindle, “The Invisible Hand of James Madison,” Constitutional Political Economy 15, no. 3 (September 2004): 223–37.
33 See The Federalist; with The Letters of “Brutus”, ed. Terence Ball (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), no. 51 (James Madison).
34 Fleischacker, 911–12.
35 Federalist, no. 10 (James Madison).
36 James Fitzjames Stephen, “Of Criminal Procedure in General,” in Selected Writings of James Fitzjames Stephen: A General View of the Criminal Law, ed. K. J. M. Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 173.
37 For others, see Vermeule, Law and the Limits of Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
38 Nicola Gennaioli and Andrei Shleifer, “The Evolution of Common Law,” Journal of Political Economy 115, no. 1 (2007): 43, 44–45.
39 Benjamin N. Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1921), 177.
40 Gennaioli and Shleifer offer economic models that interpret the Cardozo Theorem and attempt to supply mechanisms showing evolution of the common law towards informational efficiency. For citations, and for my (qualified) skepticism about such models, especially as to constitutional adjudication, see Vermeule, Law and the Limits of Reason, 115 et seq.
41 Adrian Vermeule, “‘According to Truth,’” The Josias, July 19, 2018.
42 The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, vol. 25, The Vatican Council: January 1870 to December 1871, ed. Charles Stephen Dessain, CO, and Thomas Gornall, SJ (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973), 310.
43 Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, 277.
44 Douglas W. Rae, “Counting the Fingers of Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand,” April 5, 2011, in Capitalism: Success, Crisis and Reform, Open Yale Courses, podcast, MP3 audio, 45:42.
45 As argued at length in Warren F. Samuels, Erasing the Invisible Hand: Essays on an Elusive and Misused Concept in Economics, with the assistance of Marianne F. Johnson and William H. Perry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011).
46 Some material in these paragraphs is adapted from Vermeule, “Local and Global Knowledge in the Administrative State,” chap. 13 in Law, Liberty and State: Oakeshott, Hayek and Schmitt on the Rule of Law, ed. David Dyzenhaus and Thomas Poole (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
47 Sanford J. Grossman and Joseph E. Stiglitz, “On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets,” American Economic Review 70, no. 3 (June 1980): 393–408.
48 To be clear, Schauer also considers democratic and expressive rationales for free speech protection (see Schauer, Free Speech, chaps. 3–5). Those are outside the scope of my concerns here, although I believe that the argument from democracy at least is subject to parallel criticisms.
49 Daryl J. Levinson and Richard H. Pildes, “Separation of Parties, Not Powers,” Harvard Law Review 119, no. 8 (June 2006): 2311–86.
50 Curtis A. Bradley and Trevor W. Morrison, “Historical Gloss and the Separation of Powers,” Harvard Law Review 126, no. 2 (December 2012):
51 Sometimes this story is told through an emphasis on political parties, spanning institutions, as the mechanisms that produce cooperation rather than conflict. See, e.g., Levinson and Pildes, “Separation of Parties.” But this isn’t essential to the point.
52 Hayek, “Competition as a Discovery Procedure,” 9–10 (italics in the original).
53 David Luban, Lawyers and Justice: An Ethical Study (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), 68.
54 I don’t say “will necessarily persist” for methodological reasons, discussed in Vermeule, “Some Confusions about ‘Classical Liberalism,’ Progressivism, and Necessity,” Mirror of Justice (blog), June 15, 2018.
55 A classic discussion, both of this class of hypotheses and their opposite, is Albert O. Hirschman, Rival Views of Market Society and Other Recent Essays (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986).
56 Vermeule, System of the Constitution, 81. The classic treatment is Kenneth J. Arrow, “Social Responsibility and Economic Efficiency,” Public Policy 21 (1973): 303–18.
57 Nancy L. Rosenblum, On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).
58 Hirschman, Rival Views.
59 For an overview, see Dennis C. Mueller, Public Choice III, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
60 Fleischacker, 911–12.
61 For this distinction, see Amartya Sen, foreword to Albert O. Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests, twentieth anniversary ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), xvi.
62 Strictly speaking, in the conventional definition, the weak form of Pareto requires only that at least one person be made better off and no one worse off.
63 Patrick J. Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018); see Vermeule, “Integration from Within,” American Affairs 2, no. 1 (Spring 2018): 44–55, endorsing Deneen’s diagnosis but not his prescriptions.
64 See, e.g., Thomas Aquinas, Summa 1.22; Joseph de Maistre, St Petersburg Dialogues; or, Conversations on the Temporal Government of Providence, trans. Richard A. Lebrun (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993); Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Providence (St. Louis: Herder, 1937).
65 On display in, e.g. Ullmann-Margalit, “The Invisible Hand.”
66 Subject as always to the caveat that an invisible hand system may itself be deliberately put into place, as we have discussed above (“The Invisible Hand: Analytics”).