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

Immigration Paper…Finished (for now)

In my Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World (pp.162-67) and in blog posts here and here, I have defended the idea that a liberal state may permissibly impose immigration controls if required to maintain the tolerant, pluralistic nature of its polity. In light of the intense controversy surrounding this issue both within libertarian circles and more broadly, I wished to address this topic in a more thorough, comprehensive way.

As described in an earlier post, I was fortunate to recruit my friend Danny Frederick as a co-author, and we recently completed a draft that satisfies us both. Its title is “The Liberal Defense of Immigration Control,” and here is the abstract:

Liberal theorists generally support open borders and some recent work has argued 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, though relatively minor, 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, though not to prohibit, immigration from such societies.

We are still looking for a journal, but have decided to limit our search to those that permit self-publication prior to submission. Here is a link to our paper. We anticipate that it will undergo further revisions as part of the peer-review process, and so welcome all critical questions and comments in the hope of improving our arguments.

Freedom Implies Responsibility, College Edition

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a top-tier Democratic presidential candidate, is out with a proposal that would forgive most of the $1.5 trillion in higher-education student debt now outstanding. She and a number of other presidential hopefuls are also proposing “free” or heavily subsidized tuition at public colleges and universities.

These plans are, of course, anathema to libertarians because they impermissibly use the coercive power of the state to benefit some individuals at the expense of others. In this case, tax dollars are taken from those who elect not to pursue college degrees in order to first make, then forgive, student loans for those who do. And now, if these candidates get their way, to pay this tuition outright. Eighteen-year-olds are sufficiently mature to decide for themselves, without interference by the state, whether or not to pursue higher education, and to live with the consequences.

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