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

Danny Frederick Guest Post, “Freedom, Indeterminism, and Fallibilism.”

My friend Danny Frederick has just published an exciting book, Freedom, Indeterminism, and Fallibilism, that approaches many familiar but vexing problems in moral and political philosophy from an innovative, promising direction. Drawing on ideas presented in his large oeuvre of published work, and utilizing many of Karl Poppers’ important insights, Danny sets forth provocative theories regarding rationality; free will; the moral basis for individual freedom, and its limits; the functions of the liberal state; and the problem of political authority. Although overturning much of the conventional thinking on these topics, Danny’s arguments should be congenial to classical liberals and libertarians.

Danny graciously accepted my invitation to present his own synopsis of his book on my blog , which appears below. I am sure he will be happy to address any questions readers of this may have. I hope his book gets the wide readership it deserves. Here is a link to the publisher’s (Palgrave Macmillan) website, providing additional information, excerpts, and purchasing information. Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »