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

Nozick’s Utopia and the Problem of Children

Nozick devotes Part III of Anarchy, State, and Utopia to developing his conception of a “framework of utopias,” which would provide persons, qua rational agents, with the widest domain for the exercise of their agency. This ideal contemplates that people, freed from the shackles of state coercion, will create and live in a virtually unlimited number of distinct communities, each with rules and institutions that reflect its particular values. These would include highly illiberal ones.

Such an arrangement permits persons to choose the environment they believe offers them the greatest opportunity for personal growth and flourishing. In addition to preventing inter-community aggression, the minimum state would exist to safeguard the right of exit, when a particular community no longer meets an agent’s needs. Although there are a variety of perhaps insurmountable obstacles to implementation, it is a philosophically attractive ideal, which I have previously discussed.

However, one obvious objection to Nozick’s framework revolves around the potential mistreatment of minor children, specifically the possibility that parents in isolated communities grossly neglect their education.[1]  Such deprivation would not only leave children completely uninformed about alternative available lifestyles, but totally unprepared to function outside their birth community, thereby robbing them of the very freedom this framework is intended to promote. Nozick clearly recognizes this dilemma when he observes: “In some way it must be ensured that they [young children] are informed of the range of alternatives in the world” (ASU, 330), but forthrightly admits that this is one of many details he is leaving unresolved.    Continue Reading »

Gone Fishing…

I have written about immigration in a number of places, including a section of Chapter 10 of my Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World, and in a number of blog posts. In light of what I have learned in my many subsequent discussions/debates of this subject, I am in the process of consolidating my thoughts in a systematic way for publication in a philosophy journal. Thus, while I have some half-baked ideas on other topics that I may eventually share, I am taking a few weeks off to finish this paper.

UPDATE (5/24/18): I have been fortunate in getting my friend, Danny Frederick, to co-author this paper with me, thereby exponentially improving it. We have finished our draft, and have begin the process of journal submission. Stay tuned for further developments.