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

Jan Narveson on Libertarianism and Abortion

Professor Jan Narveson, a well-respected political philosopher, has written a piece titled “Resolving the Debate on Abortion and Libertarianism” in the journal Libertarian Papers critiquing my argument in Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World that there is no doctrinaire individualist position on the ethics of abortion. That is to say, that there is no clear-cut logical path from the basic moral principles all (or mostly all) libertarians would affirm, to an aggressive pro-choice stance. I am putting the finishing touches on a reply, which I will forward to the editors of LP, and hope to see it published soon thereafter. At that time, I will cross-post my reply here. In the meantime, if interested, have a look at Narveson’s essay.

Libertarians and Non-Interventionism, Part IV

I have written three prior posts (here, here, and here) expressing skepticism about non-interventionism, the foreign policy favored by most libertarians. As set forth in these essays, I contend that while non-interventionism is a credible defense strategy, it is not the doctrinaire individualist position and, indeed, that libertarians may reasonably reject it.

Part of the basis for my stance is the obvious potential counter-example presented by WW2. It is non-controversial that in the few years prior to our entry, Roosevelt flouted the principles of armed neutrality, actively and openly assisting the Brits against the Nazis, while coordinating with other Western powers to deny Japan access to the war materials it needed to continue its brutal aggression in East Asia.

Thus, more hawkish libertarians often cite WW2 as a triumph of the interventionist approach, saving the world from conquest by the Axis powers, and thereby sparing countless millions from death or enslavement. There is no denying the aggression of or the massive, unspeakable war crimes committed by Germany and Japan prior to our entry into this war, so non-interventionists wishing to vindicate their preferred policy are driven to formulate “creative” responses. Continue Reading »