Against Traditional Morality

by James Hanley Guest author: James Hanley. Tom Van Dyke has written a very thoughtful post about the role of traditional morality in law. There are various points at which we could quibble with his argument, but here I offer a direct rebuttal of his support for traditional morality as a basis of law, arguing…

Reproductive Rights and Libertarianism

~by Sam Wilkinson For reasons that I cannot understand, the threat posed by various conservative candidates to women’s reproductive rights rarely seem to warrant mention or concern amongst those who profess themselves to be most concerned with liberty. Perhaps I travel in the wrong circles – with a two kids and a mortgage and a car payment and a…

Hopelessness and Torture

“It’s a mistake to say this was about inflicting pain. These measures were about instilling a sense of hopelessness, and that led them to compliance.” — Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (2002-5) His statement, for the way he said it, is all the more striking.  It was not about inflicting pain…

Shande

I was going to keep my damn mouth shut today, because, well, my attitude toward the news is May his name be blotted out! and it’s kind of hard to shake a grogger at your computer every few minutes.  Then: There is this: “Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of…

Searching for Oskar Schindler

by Christopher Carr I considered titling this post a more academic “Rejoinders to a Utilitarian Framework for Evaluating the Morality of Abortion” but thought better when I realized how many lines that would take up. First, I’d like to say thank you again to Erik for agreeing to guest-post my recent offerings on abortion to this excellent blog and…

A Utilitarian Framework for Evaluating the Morality of Abortion

by Christopher Carr Jeremy Stangroom is a British author, philosopher, co-founder of The Philosopher’s Magazine Online – one of the premiere philosophy publications on the Internet – and the director of Philosophy Experiments – where users can participate in a variety of interactive thought experiments.  One of the more popular experiments is called Whose Body Is It Anyway; it is about the taboo…

Abortion and Slavery again

Ta-Nehisi has pushed once again into the abortion and slavery debate, this time following the invocation of that analogy by Rick Santorum and Joe Klein’s subsequent defense of Santorum’s rhetoric. Now, I’ve admitted in the past two things about the fetus-as-slave analogy: first, that it is not a very good analogy – and indeed I…

If You Can’t Win the Argument, Pretend it Doesn’t Exist

Spencer Ackerman on the Obama administration’s legal justification for drone strikes: In March, the State Department’s legal adviser gave a speech asserting that the strikes are legal, not demonstratingwhy they are. The closest that Harold Koh came to articulating his case was to say: The administration doesn’t intentionally kill civilians (“…attacks [are] limited to military objectives and…

Virtually crime free

I was discussing Kevin Drum’s post on falling crime rates in America and the old Freakonomics argument came up – that the only possible explanation for this phenomenon is the after-effects of Roe v. Wade. The fewer unwanted pregnancies, so the argument goes, the fewer potential criminals. Interestingly, alongside falling crime rates, we also see…

I’m not Harriet Tubman either

I don’t think the pro-choicers and the pro-lifers are going to agree on this one. But I do think that Ta-Nehisi is either missing what I’m trying to say here, or he – and the commenters at his blog – are incapable of seeing how this analogy might look different if they held different assumptions…

No, I am not Frederick Douglass

[updated] Okay. Perhaps I stirred the pot a bit too vigorously. In any case, let me clarify a few things. Ta-Nehisi Coates – whose work I admire greatly, too!* – has quite a lot more to say about the abortion/slavery analogy. I described it as ‘bulky, awkward, creates more heat than light, etc.’ whilst still…

Abortion, slavery & personhood

So several of Andrew’s readers disagreed with my post on abortion and slavery. And at least one of my readers had some particularly colorful things to say to me in an email after it was posted. Let’s tackle Andrew’s readers first and then move on to Ta-Nehisi Coates (via Sullivan, who is keeping the discussion…

If. And If.

“If Kagan is gay, but is being closeted about it, then I don’t trust her on gay issues… About the only people who seemed convinced that being gay is a major insult or slander are the juvenile morons on the Right and the White House.” Yep. This could really turn into a train wreck if…

Compare and Contrast

From TNR’s excellent review of The Killer Trail, a history of  one murderous French expedition into the heart of 19th century Africa (emphasis mine): The Europeans, Taithe notes, never recognized African kingdoms as states, and never interpreted the Geneva Convention as applying to these colonial wars. “Against the uncivilized,” the historian writes, “‘no need to…

The Boss Tweed-ization of national politics

“Reformers should be focusing on lifting limits on the flow of money from parties to candidates and restoring the role of the parties as the funders of campaigns. Instead of Candidate Smith asking Donor Gonzalez for money – and Donor Gonzalez asking for a favor in return – party chairman Robinson will ask thousands of…

No Fear of Citizens

Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down its own precedent in order to overturn campaign finance laws prohibiting corporations and unions from making “independent expenditures” relating to political campaigns within the weeks leading up to an election.  The opinion is certainly significant.  For those of us of a more libertarian mindset, it is a huge blow…