SIDNEY HOOK, ROBERT NOZICK, AND THE PARADOXES OF FREEDOM
a1 History, The Graduate Center, City University of New
Diggins observes in this essay that, while Nozick and Hook shared a
passion for freedom and for understanding liberty in all its complexities,
the two philosophers, one a libertarian and the other a democratic socialist,
occupied different worlds when it came to how they viewed property and power.
Nozick believed that freedom and justice depended upon a minimal state that
would be severely restricted in its exercise of power. Sidney Hook never
renounced his conviction, born of his early attraction to Marxism, that truly
dangerous power is wielded not principally by government but by private
individuals of great material wealth: by industrialists. Diggins examines the
divergent views of these two seminal thinkers on such issues as human rights,
private property, democracy, and judicial review. The differences are
profound, yet they shared a common interest in the life of the mind and in
exploring such hoary philosophical topics as free will versus determinism and
the grounding of moral values.