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.
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]
Let it Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace from Crooked Timber.
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.
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]
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?
Critiques Of Libertarianism is a good read. The kind of concerns raised on this light-hearted site is what keeps me off of the Libertarian party.