Welcome

This site is devoted to advancing the rights-based political philosophy first articulated by John Locke and championed prominently in our day by the late Robert Nozick in his classic Anarchy, State, and Utopia [1974].  It will do so by explaining minimal state libertarianism in a way that is accessible to the intelligent general reader and by hosting a forum that will subject its key ideas to scrutiny and debate.

I make my own modest contribution to this cause in my book, Nozick’s Libertarian Project: An Elaboration and Defense (London: Continuum International, 2011). My second book on this subject, Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World: The Politics of Natural Rights, was just published by Bloomsbury Academic. For additional information about libertarianism, this site, my books, and your host, please follow the links to the left.

New on the Blog

Positive Review of “Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World”

I am delighted to learn that my most recent book received a quite favorable assessment by Matthew Post in his essay, “The Foundations of ‘Our Culture’: A Review of Three Works on Liberalism and Rights,” which appears in Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy 42:3 (Spring 2016), 477-94. Perhaps my favorite part is this:

It would be misleading, however, to suggest that Friedman simply speaks to shared beliefs. He often offers arguments that are remarkably lucid, succinct, and thorough, and he is honest when he does not know how to solve a problem (489).

I will respond in greater depth to Professor Post’s review as soon as I am able. But for the moment I will simply say that, as may be apparent from his title, my humble defense of libertarian rights against the encroachments of the welfare/regulatory state has been swept up in Post’s search for an answer to the much more daunting question of whether it is possible to establish a foundation for liberalism “while avoiding the problems Rorty identified” (492); meaning, roughly, if we give up our traditional notions of knowledge. Thus, while perhaps I am the first philosopher to in history to say this, I am not sure that Post’s praise (although welcome) is entirely justified.

Libertarians And Gun Rights

Libertarians disagree about many important things, including: whether even a minimal state is morally permissible; if so, what functions may it legitimately undertake; the morality of abortion; foreign policy; whether intellectual property rights are morally defensible, and so on. One thing we don’t disagree much about is the right of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms, and to carry and employ them for purposes of self-defense. Continue Reading »