Yascha Mounk at the utopian conducts An Interview with T.M. Scanlon: I: Free Will, Punishment and The Significance of Choice
T.M. (Tim) Scanlon is Alford Professor of Natural Religion, Moral Philosophy, and Civil Polity at Harvard, a moral philosopher, expert in contractualism, and the author of What We Owe To Each Other [more inside]
The Utopian: One of philosophy’s oldest worries is causal determinism: the fear that, if what we do and think is determined by physical processes beyond our control, then we should abandon moral categories like praise and blame and choice. But I take it that you’re less worried about that than many of your colleagues?
Tim Scanlon: I think there are three ways in which this problem arises – the problem being the possibility that a causal explanation of a reaction we give would undermine its significance in one way or another.
(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51. [more inside]
Galt's Gulch Chile is (was) meant to be a modern and real-world replica of Ayn Rand's objectivist hide-out in Atlas Shrugged. Wealthy investors (or at least folks with a lot of bitcoin) envisioned a protected libertarian community where they could ride out the impending social and financial downfall of American society. Unfortunately for those taken in by the project, it appears now that the whole enterprise was a greed-driven scam.
The Three Languages of Arts and Cultural Funding : It is a truth universally acknowledged that the public funding of arts and culture will cause political strife. Reasonable people just do not agree on this, and can be surprisingly quick to accuse others of ideological warmongering. An Australian application of The Three Languages of Politics [interview: podcast and transcript] by Arnold Kling. Via The Conversation.
The defense of the illiberal activities of the actually-existing state cuts across superficial partisan lines, and the dominant political philosophy of both American parties is a venerable ideology of realpolitik imperial supremacy that deploys the rhetoric of liberalism as pacifying propaganda and recasts the completely mundane application of basic liberal-democratic principles–the kind at work in the activities of Wikileaks and Snowden–as irresponsibly adolescent, anarchical, and even libertarian (eww!) challenges to the very idea of the liberal state. “Liberal” apologists for the actually-existing criminal state spook actual liberals from the practice of actual liberalism by insinuating darkly that any doubts about the liberal legitimacy of the security state probably makes you a loathsome, possibly racist Paultard. Wil Wilkinson on why liberal critics of the "liberal" state seem "libertarian." [more inside]
Little Libertarians on the prairie. Book research by Christine Woodside suggests that Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter, novelist Rose Wilder Lane, secretly ghostwrote the Little House books as an anti-New Deal fable, according to family journals and letters. Lane was also a friend of Ayn Rand and may have coined the term "libertarian." Tactical omissions in the massively popular frontier history of self-reliance include the land grant that gave 160 acres for a mere filing fee; the loss of their first homestead after borrowing money to save it, and Laura's blind sister receiving education funding from the territorial government (and not from Laura's job as a teacher).
Why “Libertarian” Defenses of the Confederacy and “States’ Rights” are Incoherent
There is a strain of libertarian contrarianism that holds that the Confederate States of America were within their “rights” to secede from the Union. Such contrarianism on this particular topic is detrimental to the larger cause of liberty because the logic of this argument relies upon relinquishing individual rights to the whim of the state. Indeed, as there is no legal or moral justification for supporting the Confederacy in the Civil War, it is impossible that there could be a libertarian one.[more inside]
Chen Mingyuan has lived here all his life, but he still gets lost every time he drives into Wenzhou. “All the roads in this town were built by businessmen, so none of them make any sense,” Chen says as we back out of what we just discovered is a one-way street. For the last 30 years, private citizens in this southeastern China metropolis have largely taken over one of the least questioned prerogatives of governments the world over: infrastructure. Is Wenzhou, the richest city in China's richest province, a libertarian paradise?
Matt Welch, Reason: The Death of Contrarianism
Klein, then at The American Prospect, a progressive D.C. opinion magazine founded in 1990, wanted Peters, founder (in 1969) of The Washington Monthly, to answer for the way neoliberalism had degenerated into lefty-on-lefty contrarianism. “What has happened, at least to some younger folks like me,” Klein said, “is that at times this appears to have become not an honest critique, but a positioning device. The idea that it’s not about the quality of the argument, but the display: You show honesty by attacking Democrats, you show independence by attacking liberals. At times I think that has been a damaging impulse on our side.”[more inside]
In Golden Waters, Fatlantis and Libertopia are Something Awful goon-written short story collections (and a short story) about the predicted failure of libertarian separatist colonies. They're inspired by the Seasteading Institute, a group that wants to build a floating libertarian island (and yes, they did inspire China Mieville's 'The Scar'). They should serve as a warning to Glenn Beck, who intends to create a self-sustaining community called Independence Park. The Goon fiction has already started, but its more likely to succeed than The Citadel, a proposed survivalist gun fortress in Idaho. Bonus SA short story collection: Aluminum Sky, a series about the Malatorans, a group who wanted to build an island where they could put their brains into robot cyborg dragon bodies.
“When I spoke at the two Ron Paul events in Tampa, a young man kind enough to pick me up at the airport told me a fascinating story. The vast majority of young Ron volunteers in offices he visited all over the country were paleo. If a kid ordered pizza — which was always the primary or perhaps only campaign food — he was practically booed,” Atossa Araxia Abrahamian writes in The New Inquiry about the paleo diet, libertarianism, and the appealing idea of a healthy, undistorted state of nature to which we can return if we are only pure enough. [more inside]
Last week Reason Magazine posted a 20-minute video interview with David Simon (The Wire, Homicide, Treme and more) on its web site. On his personal blog Simon accused the Reason editors of "shanking" the interview by selectively editing the video in favor of "banter and quick reposite", and sacrificing context and complete arguments to the extent that the interview seems "incoherent." In response to Simon's comments Reason has posted the full 1 hour 20 minute audio of the interview. (direct link to mp3 audio)
Let it Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace from Crooked Timber.
The heir to the Proctor and Gamble fortune has dropped a load of cash on a movie: Thrive: What on Earth will it take? The premise: We are killing the world because an invisible elite is withholding the secret of free energy, to prevent us from thriving. Transition Culture thinks it's dangerous tosh. Huffington Post thinks it's a reactionary, libertarian agenda that stands in jarring contrast with the soothing tone of the presentation. An Archdruid thinks it's what a narrative of progress must produce when the narrative no longer describes observable reality. But it's bound to be popular with the Consumer class. (Warning: evidence of toroidal energy devices that some viewers may find disconcerting).
"With regard to the idea of whether or not you have a right to health care, you have to realize what that implies... It means you believe in slavery." Senator Rand Paul weighs in on the notion of human rights at a Senate subcommittee hearing yesterday, equating the right to health care, as well as the right to water and food, as tantamount to a belief in slavery.
Atlas Shrugged and so did I. PJ O'Rourke has seen Atlas Shrugged (the movie - part 1) and ... [more inside]
"Frankly, my toilets don't work in my house. And I blame you, and people like you" [YT].Senator Rand Paul accused Energy Department official Kathleen Hogan yesterday of offering consumers more choice in reproductive decisions than in household appliances.
"House Republicans...fell seven votes short of extending provisions of the Patriot Act, a vote that served as the first small uprising of the party's tea-party bloc." This vote also defies the intention of the Obama administration to extend portions of the USA PATRIOT Act to the year 2013. (Previously) [more inside]
From the Wikipedia article:
Founded by Eliot Wigginton in the 1960s, Foxfire has published Foxfire Magazine continuously since 1966, and the highly popular Foxfire books since 1972. Both the magazine and books are based on the stories and life of elders and students, featuring advice and personal stories about subjects as wide-ranging as hog dressing, faith healing, blacksmithing, and Appalachian history.[more inside]
Who are they? Jenny Turner looks inside the Institute of Ideas, one of Britain's strangest think tanks, composed largely of entryist Trotskyites turned radical libertarians.
"I wanted that kid to lose sleep that night," a grinning Xinos says Wednesday, as he invites me for a nearly two-hour interview in his Mercedes-Benz in the gated Oak Brook community where he lives. "This is the real world and the lesson, you folks who brought your kids here, is if you want something, pay for it." [more inside]
The Seasteading Institute (previously) is the brain-child of former Google engineer Patri Friedman , and seeks to set up independent governments in international waters. In April 2009, the institute received $500,000 of seed funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel. After reading it's revised manifesto, Brad Reed (of Sadly, No) remains unimpressed. [more inside]
Sick of all that socialism? Come to Somalia! Who needs health care, the rule of law or a central government? It seems to be a pretty minimal state, some Libertarians are eying it with interest and others think it's doing very well for itself. (via Fipi Lele)
Who is the mysterious Shadow Candidate for Shadow Senator of the District of Columbia? Marx Cafe Bartender Damien Ober, kind of. Ober wrote a series of campaign ads (which can alternate between provocative, sophomoric, and simply creepy, depending on your point of view) in response to D.C.'s lack of congressional representation, and hired an actor to sit in the darkness portraying his unnamed candidate. After viewing the videos on youtube, however, the D.C. Libertarian Party has decided to give him a for-real shot at the for-fake position.
Soon, state delegates will meet in Denver to conclude a contentious competition and nominate a presidential candidate. No, it's not the Democratic National Convention. It's time for the Libertarian National Convention! Check out the schedule of events and possible seminar topics. Some find the very idea hilarious. Others are watching with more serious interest to see how the outcome may affect John McCain's campaign.
When Ron Paul email spam started hitting inboxes in late October, UAB Computer Forensics Directory Gary Warner published findings on the spam's textual patterns and the illicit botnet used to spread it -- findings which were picked up by media outlets and tech websites like Salon, Ars Technica, and Wired Magazine's "Threat Level" blog, the latter in a set of followup posts by writer Sarah Stirland: 1, 2, 3. [more inside]
Global warming skeptic Ronald Bailey--Reason's science correspondent, adjunct scholar at CATO and CEI, and editor of the 2002 book Global Warming and Other Myths: How the Environmental Movement Uses False Science to Scare Us to Death--has changed his mind.
Chief Wana Dubie is the Libertarian candidate for State Representative in Missouri's 150th District. He has a marijuana leaf tattooed on his forehead and once painted bullseye on his roof so the 'government could find him.' After a 5-year sentence for growing marijuana, he's running for office and with hopes for a 2008 bid for governor: Dubie vs. Blunt.
Libertarians, the forgotten voters (pdf) For those on the trail of the elusive swing voter, it may be most notable that the libertarian vote shifted sharply in 2004. Libertarians preferred George W. Bush over Al Gore by 72 to 20 percent, but Bush’s margin dropped in 2004 to 59-38 over John Kerry. Congressional voting showed a similar swing from 2002 to 2004. Libertarians apparently became disillusioned with Republican overspending, social intolerance, civil liberties infringements, and the floundering war in Iraq. If that trend continues into 2006 and 2008, Republicans will lose elections they would otherwise win. (via Andrew Sullivan)
The Libertarian Democrat. Kos makes the case for the Libertarian Democrat for the Cato Institute.
Haters! The Libertarian candidate for the 24th District of the Kansas House was canvassing the local Mission, KS Arts and Eats festival, speaking with attendees and distributing campaign literature. Suddenly, a councilwoman approached him with a police officer and informed him he had to leave and would be charged with trespassing if he returned, an action which the Mayor has publicly denounced and has launched an investigation into.
1000 Angry Monkeys, Blogging About Politics... The partisan political blogosphere has been humming along nicely for the last several years. But where the progressive and conservative ideologies intersect, at technology, they can possibly be best categorized as libertarian, particularly if limited to the development, growth, corporatization, regulation, and taxation of the internet. As such, there's much news worthy of our attention. More inside...
Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush Not much of this report from the Cato institute will be surprising to MeFites, but it is a great document [31 page PDF] that summarizes Bush's consistent disregard for the Constitution and drive for greater executive power.
Hindsight on Iraq is 20/20 -- but views diverge. Reason magazine asks notable libertarians, conservatives, and academics -- from Instapundit Glenn Reynolds (one word: "win") to Illuminatus! author Robert Anton Wilson ("Bush has used [the invasion] as an excuse to destroy the last few tattered remnants of the Bill of Rights") -- if they would have chosen differently in 2003, knowing how the war would develop.
Are you a Neo-Conservative? Another well designed and researched quiz that gives results you might not expect. Even at only ten questions, it's surprisingly accurate because the density of possible responses serve to counter transparency. Consider taking some other less silly online quizzes when you're done. Try staples like the Myers-Briggs and World's Smallest Political Quiz or some Blue flashbacks like the BBC's Sex ID, Belief-O-Matic, or the Europa Dart game.
Reason interview with Neal Stephenson containing (among other things!) libertarian-statist-terrorist triangulation, the epidemiology of domination systems, praise for 17th century financial & philosophical sophistication and... oh and an apologia for his endings :D [via SE, also see :]
Green and Libertarian Presidential Candidates to Demand Ohio Recount. David Cobb and Michael Badnarik, the 2004 presidential candidates for the Green and Libertarian parties, today announced their intentions to file a formal demand for a recount of the presidential ballots cast in Ohio.
"Libertarianism is the hottest philosophy on the internet! Many famous people are libertarians, including John Stossel and Dave Barry. It seems like everyone is becoming a libertarian, and now you can, too! The answer lies in several simple steps, which anyone can learn. Read on, and you, too, can become a libertarian!"
A Libertarian for Kerry. John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the EFF and a former campaign manager for Dick Cheney, is taking his libertarianism into the Democratic camp. "...we need something -- and I think it’s governmental -- to reregulate the market and make it free, because the multinationals have taken it away." (More inside).
With under four months left to the real election, the Atlas of Presidential Elections is holding a mock election (free registration required to vote), in which Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik holds a lead over John Kerry and George W. Bush. The real results may be a little bit different in November.
In an article called "The Sociobiological Conceit", Gene Callahan says darwinism is logically flawed and inherently self-contradictory: "if moral ideas are simply an 'illusion' fostered on us by our genes then so are all of our other ideas – including the ideas of sociobiology!". Callahan, fyi, belongs to the ultra-libertarian circles of the Mises Institute and LewRockwell. Would any of the evolutionists among us care to politely refute him?
Health care and politics seem to be popular topics on MeFi; here is a story that combines them both. It seems that the Libertarian senate candidate in Montana turned himself blue with a medically questionable remedy. He seems unconcerned; however, this lady is not too happy about her experience with colloidal silver.
Meet the "righteous babes" of the Libertarian Party In a welcome sign of new marketing savvy, North Carolina Libertarians have announced the "Ladies of Liberty" calendar. The fundraising, uh, tool features Lib candidates from across the country in patriotic and Vargas girl [probably nsfw] poses, and is the brainchild of the very glamorous state House candidate Rachel Mills. After her company's scandalous accounting caused Playboy to come knocking, Mills decided against using naked erotica as a campaign strategy, opting instead for a semi-clothed version. Don't get too excited, though; fellow state House candidate Jennifer Medlock says all of the women wear at least lingerie. She herself stops at a modest tank top, shorts and boxing gloves.
The Burqa Incident. British freethinker Sarah Lawrence dresses in a burqa to make a point at the US Libertarian Party Conference, and causes a hotel-wide security alert. Looks like one of those systemic sense-of-humour failures that conspire to spiral out of control these days. But isn't it a bit worrying when even Libertarian Party officials start threatening to report their own conference speakers to the FBI for suspicious dress sense?
Seven Libertarians elected to local office. Browne results similar to Reform party without benefit of matching funds.
It's a new day in America.
It's a new day in America.
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