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Entries Tagged as 'Libertarian Theory'

On the Slogan “Taxation is Theft”

July 14th, 2014 · 168 Comments

So, I recently succumbed to an old collegiate vice (no, not that one…) and allowed myself to get sucked into a libertarian comments section debate.  This was, on the whole, about as edifying and productive an exercise as you might expect, but having already expended an hour or two in this questionable way, I figured […]

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Tags: Libertarian Theory

Why Do Intellectuals Favor Government Solutions?

October 9th, 2012 · 25 Comments

Back in the 1980s, the late philosopher Robert Nozick wrote an essay asking: “Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?” Happily, the question as Nozick framed it is somewhat less relevant today, as Western intellectuals have increasingly accepted the superiority of some form of market economy to full-blown socialist planning. But a variant form remains: Why do […]

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Tags: Libertarian Theory

What Follows from “You Didn’t Build That”?

July 19th, 2012 · 34 Comments

Barack Obama’s recent “Elizabeth Warren Moment” at a speech in Roanoke has been getting plenty of attention, though the focus of much of the criticism seems misplaced. Here’s the full relevant passage: Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by […]

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Tags: Libertarian Theory

A Few Thoughts on Coercion

July 13th, 2012 · 19 Comments

As I seem to have inadvertently sparked this Crooked Timber essay by Chris Bertram, Corey Robin and Alex Gourevitch (B/R/G) on workplace coercion, I feel like I should probably say something about it, though Matt Zwolinski and Roderick Long already have good responses you should probably just read instead. Some assorted thoughts: First, there is […]

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Tags: Libertarian Theory · Moral Philosophy

Vacation Response Roundup

March 19th, 2012 · 6 Comments

Just back from a much-needed vacation, a quick pass at some stuff around the web relevant to the last few posts from before I left. First, my post on the Cato/Koch fight stressed my substantive concerns about how it appears, on the basis of what I regard as pretty compelling circumstantial evidence, the Kochs intend […]

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Tags: Libertarian Theory · Washington, DC

Like Rain on Your Wedding Day

March 6th, 2012 · 49 Comments

I’m a strong believer in free speech: With a few narrow and well-defined exceptions, I think people have a moral and legal right to voice their opinions, however misguided their views and however offensive their mode of expression. I also think (to pick an example from the headlines) that it’s grotesque, sexist, and idiotic to […]

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Tags: Libertarian Theory · Washington, DC

Equality of Outcome, Equality of Opportunity

October 27th, 2011 · 13 Comments

Citing Robert Nozick, Matt Yglesias argues that it’s incoherent to oppose redistribution for the purpose of equalizing people’s outcomes, while at the same time touting tax-supported efforts to ensure “equality of opportunity.” If the objection to redistribution is that people have strong claims over their own assets, then it should make no difference whether they […]

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Tags: Libertarian Theory

How Far Does Philosophy Get You?

July 11th, 2011 · 7 Comments

A theme of my recent BloggingHeads with Yglesias (and some related IRL conversations) is his claim that people overemphasize the importance of differing political philosophies in driving pratical political conclusions, relative to straightforward empirical disagreements. I’m not sure how sharp a line can be drawn between these categories, since people often talk loosely about their […]

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Tags: General Philosophy · Libertarian Theory

What Good Is a State of Nature?

July 5th, 2011 · 3 Comments

I’m happy to see something good came of that silly Stephen Metcalf hit on Robert Nozick: The smart folks over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians have decided to form a sort of online book club to reread Anarchy, State, and Utopia. In the first section, Nozick attempts to show how a (minimal) government could arise from […]

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Tags: General Philosophy · Libertarian Theory

What’s Really Wrong with the Wilt Chamberlain Argument?

June 28th, 2011 · 15 Comments

Since writing about the Wilt Chamberlain example last week, I’ve been revisiting Anarchy, State, and Utopia and thinking about what legitimate criticisms can be leveled against this particular step in Nozick’s argument.  I still think Stephen Metcalf’s complaints are basically frivolous, and his recent response to his critics does little to change my view.  On […]

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Tags: General Philosophy · Libertarian Theory