Alessandro Rico

Bruno Leoni and Conservatism

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This paper proposes a conservative interpretation of some aspects of Bruno Leoni's thought. It relates the theory of the law as individual claim to Nash bargaining solution, and to the anti-contractualist idea of society as man's natural condition: Leoni's conservatism amounts here to a technique for the preservation of a social cooperative order. Leoni's conception of power as an exchange between individuals is interpreted as the foundation of a conservative theory of political obligation. Leoni's evolutionary doctrine of the juridical order is evaluated in respect to conservatism as a theory of social change, and to Hayek's epistemology, with its notion of complex phenomena and spontaneous orders. Eventually, Leoni's criticism of democracy is connected to John C. Calhoun's reflections on the evils of mass democracy and majority rule.


  • Leoni
  • Conservatism
  • Law
  • Spontaneous Order
  • Democracy


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