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

Ferguson Update

In an earlier post I offered my perspective on Prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s conduct in directing the St. Louis County grand jury investigation that found no basis for indicting officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. There, I argued that based on the information then available the prosecutor acted correctly in not seeking an indictment, a position now borne out by the U.S. Department of Justice’s report on the shooting, which found that: Wilson’s use of force was not “objectively unreasonable” under the applicable federal statute, and thus no federal grand jury indictment was warranted. However, a second DOJ report blasted the small city of Ferguson, Missouri (the location of the incident) for various forms of racism, not related to Brown’s death.

Before proceeding further, we would be wise to consult the analysis of the DOJ reports offered by Professor Richard Epstein, one of the preeminent scholars now working in the classical liberal tradition. With respect to the report concerning Wilson, he notes that based on the facts and circumstances he cites, “It is not just the case that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution. It is that, beyond a reasonable doubt, the evidence supports that Wilson’s conduct was fully justified.” In other words, it is clear that he acted righty in defense of his own life and in defense of the public at large (what would have happened if Brown had walked away with the officer’s gun?). Continue Reading »

An Unregulated Parable About Regulation

Imagine that a collection of highly committed members of a Social Democrat style political party charter a cruise ship to sail around the Pacific in order to charge themselves up for the next election. The group consists of one thousand adults. Sadly, the ship suffers a catastrophic malfunction, and the group is shipwrecked on a remote and uninhabited island (well-known, however, to philosophers). Fortunately, the island has rich soil, ample potable water, and a moderate climate, and they are able to salvage the stores and equipment from the ship. Accordingly, there is every prospect that the group can survive until they are rescued. Continue Reading »