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

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 »

Sorry, But I Don’t Give a Sh*t That You’re Offended

The Charlie Hebdo murders exposed a lot of ambivalence on the part of our leaders and public intellectuals regarding free expression. For example, the Pope all but apologized for this horrific crime, offering us the homey analogy that were even a dear friend to utter “a swear word against my mother, he’s going to get a punch in the nose. That’s normal.”[1] I guess it’s time to forget all about that silly “turn the other cheek” business.

Another prominent commentator condemned the murders unconditionally, but suggested that we, as a society, should ask ourselves, “Whether pens are swords or tools, are we using them well?”[ 2]. But, why should we ask that? When an aspiring Tolstoy turns out painfully bad fiction, should we question whether he is using prose in a responsible fashion? What’s suspect about bad painting, prose and poetry? Answer: because it may offend certain people.   Continue Reading »