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Resonant Hobbes

  I have claimed before that civil society is a fragile thing. I’ll add to that that the more civil a society is the more fragile it is. By “civil” here I mean “be-stated”, and this is a continuous variable. Also before, prioritizing personal freedom over political freedom, I claimed that the freest nations are the ones with…

Triaxial Epistemology

By way of Popehat, Arnold Kling on a root problem with contemporary political discourse, summarized in the Wall Street Journal: Mr. Kling’s three “languages” are ways of talking about politics and government, and they align roughly with the progressive, conservative and libertarian viewpoints. Progressives, Mr. Kling thinks, typically express opinions using an “oppressed-oppressor axis”: societal…

Ideology is the Enemy: Prelude

Over the next several weeks months I will be writing about the recent ascendance of ideology in the United States and why it worries me.  Specifically, I worry that the voting public’s generations-long desire to live in a peaceful, vibrant, financially feasible and pluralistic community is being slowly replaced with a willingness to abandon those…

Outreach, Rand Paul Style

I’ve been thinking lately about Rand Paul’s recent attempt at what is called minority outreach at Howard University, “the historically black college” (apparently the mandatory phrasing). I’ve been thinking about what, exactly, Paul did wrong. And I’ve been thinking about whether it’s fair of me to focus on where he misstepped instead of where he…

The Tragedy of the Commons

by M.A. The concepts of a “Free Market” and the idea of an unregulated market producing whatever gains an advocate is looking for, or advancing a policy that liberals or conservatives (depending on the argument in question) ought to agree with, has come from my Libertarian friends a lot lately. After one of my friends…

Three Things About Paul Ryan as Romney’s VP Pick

I loathe Ryan, not least of all because I can now no longer sit in front of the telly (my Netflix queue has been full of British sitcoms) and let my frustration reservedly smolder as I watch the Sunday morning political shows while eating breakfast*, because doing so would inevitably entail putting up with the constant reprieve that, whatever…

The Solitary, Poor, Nasty, Brutish, and Short Libertarian Life

You know, I myself dabbled in libertarianism once—not in college, of course. There’s a lot to appreciate about its emphasis upon liberty. Ultimately, I couldn’t quite pass the purity test, though. This weekend, while reading Andrew Koppelman’s thoroughly compelling beatdown of Randy Barnett, something occurred to me. My problem with libertarians is actually pretty simple:…

IDEALog Comparison, or Maybe We’re Really All Liberaltarians

by James Hanley Thanks to all who took the time to take the IDEALog survey and report their results to me, and my apologies for taking so long to present the results. I’ll present the findings in a moment, but first some background and development (just to make this an excruciatingly long post). Background: Liberalism…

Testing ideology

~by James Hanley Fellow reader Stillwater, responding to my critique, writes: you [Hanley] keep insisting there is this significant difference between our theories, our policies, our preferred values, our analytical methods. If there isn’t a category difference captured by all those distinctions, then we’re talking about subtle shading on the edges of things. But if…

What’s In A Label

Andrew Sullivan calls out Jonathan Chait for arguing that libertarianism is inextricably linked to racism.  Chait’s view, in a nutshell, is that in practice, libertarianism is a gateway doctrine to racism: “I am sure Paul’s motives derive from ideological fervor rather than a conscious desire to oppress minorities. But the relationship between the abstract principles of his…

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…

A Response to ‘Democracy, Coercion, and Liberty’

~by James Hanley Erik’s been trying to work out a question about the libertarian justification of the state, and so far it hasn’t gone well. His first attempts were not well understood, at least by me, and judging by the ensuring discussions, not by most others, either. In his latest attempt I thought he phrased…

The economic hurdles of a left-libertarian alliance

~by Shawn Gude We’re in rather unpropitious times for left-libertarian bridge-building. I don’t take glee in making this assertion; I’m more crestfallen than content. Indeed, I’ve spilled a fair amount of ink arguing that leftists and libertarians should join forces on an array of paramount issues (and advanced the selfsame argument in my senior thesis).…

Liberalism, Centrism, and Libertarianism

Since I have been called a “fake liberal” recently, I thought I’d delve into the subject once again. I am a liberal mainly because the rather short arc of liberalism traces pretty well alongside the equally short arc of human progress, out from the bonds of poverty and class dependency and toward something better, toward…

Market liberals

Matt Yglesias makes tons of sense with his latest foray into an ongoing debate between him and John Quiggin and others. I think Matt operates in that awkward position of being not-progressive-enough for much of the American left, and not-libertarian-enough for the libertarians. So he’s constantly defending himself from both flanks, with many libertarians nodding…

On Neoliberalism

First things first: I absolutely loathe the term ‘neoliberal’ and its derivatives. For one thing, neoliberals are much more akin to classical liberals than traditional leftists, and there’s an obvious dissonance between ‘classical’ and ‘neo’. In some sense, ‘neo’ makes it sound like something of an upstart, usurper ideology rather than a throwback to an…

“Libertarianism and Madisonianism

~ by James Hanley BlaiseP made the following Madison-inspired comment about libertarianism: It is a statement of sovereign truth that every scheme which believes men to be angels, that freedom is the highest good, that the public good shall be subordinated to the private interest, is either a recipe for tyranny or a Panglossian panegyric devoid…