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). I have a second book on this subject, Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World: The Politics of Natural Rights, forthcoming at the end of this year. For additional information about libertarianism, this site, my book, and your host, please follow the links to the left.

New on the Blog

What Everyone (Else) Has Wrong About Ferguson

So much has been written about the failure of the St. Louis County Missouri grand jury to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown that I hesitate to add my voice to the cacophony. Nevertheless, since I have yet to read a piece that I think gets to the heart of the matter, I feel justified in adding my proverbial “two cents.”

Most of the commentary, including from many libertarians, is critical of prosecutor Bob McCulloch for not securing an indictment, and thereby freeing Officer Wilson of all (state) criminal charges. These opinions generally argue that a trial jury should have been permitted to determine Wilson’s guilt or innocence. Prosecutor McCulloch, on this view, is at fault for short-circuiting this process, thus potentially allowing a guilty man to escape justice. Continue Reading »

Democracy and the Rule of Law: Some Additional Thoughts

I have devoted a number of posts on this site to explicating the proper understanding of the rule of law, and its fraught relationship to representative democracy. In a previous post, I describe the threat posed to individual rights by the majority’s desire to finance their own consumption at the expense of other citizens, or even more expediently, by stealing from future generations. But recent events have reminded me that there may be an even more sinister force at work, namely the electorate’s gross ignorance of modern political history and the rudiments of economics. A case in point is Venezuela’s unfortunate history over the last 15 years. Continue Reading »