Eric Schliesser on Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom: “On the role of Systematicity in an Impure Theory of a (Pluralistic) Liberalism worth Having” (try saying that three times fast).
The European Journal of Political Theory is promoting my “Contra Politanism” by making it available ungated and free for three months.
The Economist, “The misplaced arguments against Black Lives Matter”
John Quiggin at Crooked Timber, “What’s Left of Libertarianism” on liberaltarianism. He mentions Niskanen but I think BHL is obviously part of the shift he’s describing. I obviously think that the BHL/ Niskanen direction is the right one, and I’m happy to see its distinctiveness noted. And in addition to my general criticisms of right-fusionism I’ve been critical of something like what he refers to as “propertarianism.” That said, I want to concur-in-part, dissent-in-part, because think he’s genuinely unfair to Cato in particular, which is more liberal and more diverse than he recognizes. I’m happily affiliated with both Niskanen and Cato, and while I do a lot more at Niskanen, Cato invited me to speak at its 40th anniversary conference and gave me a chance to talk about some of my running themes: the need to break market liberal politics away from association with white supremacy and nationalism, the particular priority of making progress against the police-and-prison complex of mass incarceration, the sense of market liberalism as being allied with the institutions of constitutional democracy and open global trade, not a “smash everything” anti-institutionalism that easily morphs into nasty kinds of populism.
On the couple of issues where Niskanen and Cato genuinely differ not just on emphasis, tactics, or presentation but on real substance– crucially, climate change and progressive redistribution/ fiscal policy– I’m with Niskanen. And I think those are genuinely important differences. But Niskanen can emphasize those issues partly because the much larger Cato is still out there advancing market-liberal and classical liberal arguments across so much of the policy landscape, from privacy and civil liberties to free trade to immigration and refugees. David Boaz, Cato’s Vice-President and longest-standing public voice, has been a forceful opponent of the racism and nationalism on the right for a very long time, and wasn’t at all shy about naming Trump’s association with it: “Not since George Wallace has there been a presidential candidate who made racial and religious scapegoating so central to his campaign.” Tom Palmer has been documenting and criticizing the “fever swamp” where paleolibertarianism melds with populism, Russophilia, and racism not only since before Trump but since before BHL was a glimmer in Matt Zwolinski’s eye. Yes, I very much want to see Niskanen’s project of taking libertarian ideas in the direction Quiggin notes succeed; but the point of that is not at all to become a rhetorical club with which to whack Cato.