Category Archives: libertarianism

What Everyone (Else) Has Wrong About Ferguson

So much has been written about the failure of the St. Louis County Missouri grand jury to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown that I hesitate to add my voice to the cacophony. Nevertheless, since I have yet to read a piece that I think gets to the heart of the matter, I feel justified in adding my proverbial “two cents.”

Most of the commentary, including from many libertarians, is critical of prosecutor Bob McCulloch for not securing an indictment, and thereby freeing Officer Wilson of all (state) criminal charges. These opinions generally argue that a trial jury should have been permitted to determine Wilson’s guilt or innocence. Prosecutor McCulloch, on this view, is at fault for short-circuiting this process, thus potentially allowing a guilty man to escape justice. Continue Reading »

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Democracy and the Rule of Law: Some Additional Thoughts

I have devoted a number of posts on this site to explicating the proper understanding of the rule of law, and its fraught relationship to representative democracy. In a previous post, I describe the threat posed to individual rights by the majority’s desire to finance their own consumption at the expense of other citizens, or even more expediently, by stealing from future generations. But recent events have reminded me that there may be an even more sinister force at work, namely the electorate’s gross ignorance of modern political history and the rudiments of economics. A case in point is Venezuela’s unfortunate history over the last 15 years. Continue Reading »

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Nozick and Hayek on Property Rights

Chapter 2 of my new book, Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World: The Politics of Natural Rights (forthcoming by the end of the year), provides a concise moral justification of property rights, and then discusses the threat posed to them by eminent domain, regulatory takings, and zoning. Subsequent chapters explore equally consequential, but less blatant, assaults on these rights. In arguing that economic liberty is entitled to the same deference accorded other freedoms, I draw on the insights of Robert Nozick and F. A. Hayek, and I wish to very briefly focus attention here on a certain convergence in their thinking. Continue Reading »

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Danny Frederick’s Review of NLP in Reason Papers

Reply to Danny Frederick’s Review Essay of Nozick’s Libertarian Project (“NLP”), in Reason Papers Vol. 36, no. 1 (henceforth “RP”)

I wish to start by thanking Danny Frederick for investing his time in reading and carefully critiquing my book. If all critics were as meticulous and fair as Danny has been to me, there would be far more constructive engagement between philosophers, and much less of theorists fruitlessly talking past each other. I concentrate below on which I regard as the key points raised in his Review EssayContinue Reading »

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