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Federal Residencies

In the middle of a mostly-worthless Slate article I found the following factoid which was new and shocking to me, and apropos of our previous healthcare discussions: Read more »

Toward a Fallibilist Synthesis

I see Trent's post has sparked another round of the long-running natural-rights-vs-consequentialism debate. As some here already know, I think that either approach by itself is incomplete, and I want to elaborate a bit on why. I think there is a distinct third approach to libertarianism-- the fallibilist approach-- which naturally implies a need for both natural-rights and consequentialist reasoning. Read more »

Strong Hayek Wins a Point

Blech. I get back from a highly enjoyable, relaxing two-day getaway and find the loss of Kelo staring at me on every Page One. Welcome back to the real world, I suppose. Read more »

Do We Really Have Freer-Market Health Care?

Trent's recent post on health care reminds me of something I've been meaning to post on for awhile. In debates about health care it is often assumed by all sides that the US has the least socialist, most free-market health care system of any modern developed country. Advocates of market provision of health care point to the US system's advantages as evidence of the advantages of markets; proponents of socialized medicine point to our problems as evidence of market failure. Both will concede that our system is not really a completely free market, but say that despite some significant deviations from the ideal, we still have the closest approximation to a market health system in the First World.

But is that premise true? I want to argue that it may well be false-- that there may be other countries whose health care systems are more free-market than ours in most significant ways. This requires that I talk about what "more free-market" means and what it does not mean; I'm going to claim that the metrics by which it seems that the US is the most free-market are bad ones, and that the right metrics are inconclusive at best. Warning: geekery ahead. Read more »

Liberal Guilt-Assuaging as a Public Good

This post on Crooked Timber illustrates why I have such a love-hate relationship with that blog. On the love side, their posters are smart folks who lay out their premises explicitly and honestly, and debate those who disagree in clear terms without invective. On the hate side, sometimes those premises are just horrifying. Read more »

On Institution-Building

Hi guys! Thanks for inviting me to post on Catallarchy. For my first post I'd like to comment on a discussion we had at the Catallarchicon the other weekend. As I recall, we argued for some time about the efficacy of building parallel institutions in civil society to compete with and supplant the state, as an alternative (or supplement) to political advocacy. I was, and remain, skeptical, due to the historical tendency on the part of governments to co-opt or muscle out any really successful alternative institutions. But later in the week, I got an anecdotal bit of support for the pro-parallelism position. Read more »