Sterba advances the argument that libertarian negative liberty supports a welfare state. Narveson disagrees, using social contract theory to support his position.

David Boaz is the executive vice president of the Cato Institute and has played a key role in the development of the Cato Institute and the libertarian movement. He is the author of The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom and the editor of The Libertarian Reader.

Boaz is a provocative commentator and a leading authority on domestic issues such as education choice, drug legalization, the growth of government, and the rise of libertarianism. Boaz is the former editor of New Guard magazine and was executive director of the Council for a Competitive Economy prior to joining Cato in 1981. The earlier edition of The Libertarian Mind, titled Libertarianism: A Primer, was described by the Los Angeles Times as “a well‐​researched manifesto of libertarian ideas.” His other books include The Politics of Freedom and the Cato Handbook for Policymakers.

His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, and Slate, and he wrote the entry on libertarianism for Encyclopedia Britannica. Finally he is a frequent guest on national television and radio shows.

Jan Narveson is professor of philosophy emeritus at the University of Waterloo.

Featuring the dueling authors Jan Narveson, University of Waterloo; and James P. Sterba, University of Notre Dame; moderated by David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute. Are the political ideals of liberty and equality compatible? This question is of central and continuing importance in political philosophy, moral philosophy, and welfare economics. In this book, two distinguished philosophers take up the debate. Jan Narveson, author of The Libertarian Idea, argues that a political ideal of negative liberty is incompatible with any substantive ideal of equality, while James P. Sterba, author of Justice for Here and Now, argues that Narveson’s own ideal of negative liberty is compatible with, and in fact leads to the requirements of, a substantive ideal of equality. Of course, they cannot both be right. Thus, the details of their arguments about the political ideal of negative liberty and its requirements will determine which of them is right. Their debate will be of value to all who are interested in the central issue of what the practical requirements of a political ideal of liberty entail.