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 published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2015. For additional information about libertarianism, this site, my books, and your host, please follow the links to the left.

New on the Blog

Frederic Bastiat on COVID-19

If the response of our leaders to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates anything, it is the enduring truth and continuing relevance of the following observation made by the great mid-19th Century French liberal, Frederic Bastiat:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all…It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain. (The Law, 1850)

Here too, discourse on how to respond to this deadly virus has too often been cast in terms of those who want to “do something” and those who simply wish to let this contagion run its course. Or worse, a clash between those who truly care about their fellow citizens, and those whose only concern is filthy lucre.

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“The Liberal Defense of Immigration Control,” Published At Last

As previously promised, here is a link to Danny and my paper offering a limited defense of immigration restrictions, just published in Cosmos + Taxis, a peer-reviewed, open access journal. Set forth immediately below is a summary, after which I offer a few thoughts on what I learned from the obstacles we had to surmount in getting it published.

Abstract: Contemporary liberal theorists generally support open borders and some argue that liberalism is incompatible with substantive immigration control. We argue that it has not been shown that there is an inconsistency in the idea of a liberal state enforcing such controls and that it may be obligatory for a liberal state to impose substantive restrictions on immigration. The immigration control on which we focus is that concerning people from societies that resemble closed societies, particularly those in which Islamic fundamentalism is endemic. We suggest that, if the threat we envision is real, then a liberal state has a right to limit immigration from such societies.

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