Several of us have sung the praises of Students for Liberty in this space and they are indeed an amazing group of young people who will one day lead this movement. In recognition of that generational shift, Sarah Skwire, Aeon Skoble, Lynne Kiesling and I, along with the direction of Sarah’s husband Darren [...]
In his new book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman illustrates a lesson of central importance to bleeding heart libertarians: that if you want to help the poor, trusting your intuitions about how to do so is a bad way to go.
Kahneman illustrates this point with a story from Thomas Schelling’s [...]
Say you think that all autonomous people are entitled to make decisions without state interference, even if those decisions are ultimately self-harming. You may then notice that there are a few people around you who are less-than autonomous. What should we do about them?
Children (and not just the drowning ones) are a [...]
I’m pleased to announce that Jessica Flanigan is going to be guest blogging for BHL for the coming month.
Jessica works on political philosophy and applied ethics. This year she is a ABD at Princeton’s Program in Political Philosophy and a visiting scholar at Brown University. Next semester, she will join the Jepson School of Leadership Studies [...]
Capitalism and Freedom was published in 1962 without much fanfare, though it has since stood the test of time. But Free to Choose was an international sensation when it was published in 1980. Among economists of a certain generation, they find Capitalism and Freedom the more tightly reasoned book, and [...]
Economists are frequently (a) subjectivists about value and (b) consequentialists. (a) and (b) are in tension.
Brief dialectical summary:
Non-Consequentialist Philosopher: What should we do?
Typical Economist: Maximize utility!
Philosopher: What should you do?
Economist: Pursue what I value.
Philosopher: What about when pursuing what you value doesn’t maximize [...]
While flying yesterday, I began a set of readings for a Liberty Fund conference on Bastiat (thanks Matt!). I haven’t read Bastiat in a serious way since grad school. My reaction to the first set of readings recalls the (perhaps apocryphal) story of when Eric Clapton first heard Jimi Hendrix play. Supposedly Clapton said “that’s [...]
Last week in my Constitutional Economics class we discussed Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty (1960). My favorite chapter in that book is Chapter 2, “The Creative Powers of a Free Civilization.” Hayek argued that “Liberty is essential in order to leave room for the unforeseeable and unpredictable; we want it [...]
Libertarians sometimes take their analogies too far. From the plausible insight that taxation is like forced labor certain respects, they jump to the entirely implausible conclusion that taxation is forced labor. To libertarians, this move appears to be a penetrating insight into the “essence” of taxation. To non-libertarians, it appears to be a kind of [...]
I think that libertarian hostility to Hobbes has blinded them to one of his deepest insights, an insight that in many ways makes him less authoritarian than many of the libertarians I know.
I. Hobbes and the Problem of Private Judgment
First, I recommend this on Hobbes’s moral and political philosophy.
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