Public posts will appear on the Community blog, and may be promoted to the front page.

Prizes? What about peerage?

MarginalRevolution points out Stiglitz's recent article for the New Scientist (they provide a link to a PDF therein). Stiglitz argues that sufficiently large prizes would help motivate research in areas that are primarily in the public interest. Read more »

On Pleasure

At the end of my previous post there's an interesting (to me, anyway) discussion about the value of pleasure. Since that discussion is buried at the end of a fairly long thread, and since Jonathan nicely extended my stay here at Catallarchy, I thought that I'd comment on the discussion out here. Read more »

Big government, small \"l?\"

Google the phrase "small-government libertarian" and you'll notice that what seems like a rhetorical flourish, mere emphasis, comes up quite a bit. Most recently, in an article by Peter Suderman (my emphasis):

Studio 60 may not mark a new political direction for Sorkin, but it does shrink the distance between his brand of liberal politics and the views of small-government libertarians.

Freedoms, Postive and Negative

Welcome, sports, political theory fans, to an all new edition of Test Your Liberal Intuitions! Today's exciting question: The claim, "Joe is free to drink bourbon tonight," means which of the following?

A. There are no agents who are coercively preventing Joe from drinking bourbon tonight.
B. Joe has drinking bourbon as an available option tonight. Read more »

Property rights.

The reason I reject outright the notion that property rights have an ethical component that shares most of the salient features of their legal expression is because I reject the basis for someone's claim on property as not justified in itself. The basis of any person's current claim is the prior claim of someone else from whom that person received the property by purchase or bequest. Inevitably, this claim regresses to a claim that is merely "finders, keepers" (presuming all transactions are valid). Read more »


An interesting rebuttal. Read more »

What Does Exit Really Mean?

If you aren't currently following the discussion in Steve Schreiber's Freedom of Movement post, then you really should be. I've just a quick comment here with, perhaps, more to follow later.

In response to Steve's worries about the viability of exit, John T. Kennedy comments that Read more »

Freedom of Movement

Here is the situation:

Some time in the future the world has fragmented into a series of small, peaceful, free-trading city-states after a period of anarchy. Each city-state was created as a voluntary, intentional community to which all original members assented. After some time has passed, those original members have children and when those children reach the age of majority, they do not consent to their condition.

For Profit, For Charity.

Tyler Cowen points out a paper by Eric Posner on allowing for-profit firms to receive the full tax benefits of not-for-profit firms insofar as they engage in charitable activities. I would just like to point out two passages from the paper: Read more »

Discordians: you may rejoice.

The International Astronomical Union has renamed 2003 UB313 "Eris" after the Greek goddess of discord. On the name:

Eris' discoverer, Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology, said the name was an obvious choice, calling it "too perfect to resist."

The End of an Era

From the files of, "This won't really interest anyone but me" comes this news that Randolph-Macon Woman's College has voted to go coed. Read more »

No More Skinny Models

From CNN comes the annoucement that skinny models are being banned from fashion shows.

MADRID, Spain (Reuters) -- The world's first ban on overly thin models at a top-level fashion show in Madrid has caused outrage among modeling agencies and raised the prospect of restrictions at other venues.

Activists have pledged that if the restrictions are not followed, "the next step is to seek legislation, just like with tobacco." Read more »

Libertarians and Conservatives

I've written in the past about the connections between (contemporary) liberalism and libertarianism. I haven't much touched on the topic of conservatism, in very large part because I don't exactly know what conservatism actually means. I see that Tom Anger at Liberty Corner has a post in which he, following Roger Scruton, outlines three distinct branches of thought that typically fall under the label "conservative". Read more »

Life, Liberty and the Download of Happiness

Piracy debates in libertarian circles often center around whether intellectual property is justified. Truly, nothing is being stolen and any predictions of about the market value of a song are simply wrong insofar as piracy is greater than expected. A sound justification, however, lies with a simple consequentialist argument: the use of copyright encourages the production of content which, overall, increases our standard of living. Read more »

Winning in Iraq

Okay, I'll just go ahead and admit it right off the bat: I haven't the foggiest idea how to actually win the war in Iraq. Yes, I write about just war theory. And yes, I'm trying to get more involved in the day-to-day realities of politics as opposed to the ivory tower of political theory. That said, the fact remains that when it comes to thinking about actual strategies for winning a war, I prefer to leave that to experts. Maybe someday we'll have a President who takes that approach too. Read more »

WTC Reconstruction

Originally, the memorials were of a variety that has become well-known since Oklahoma City bombing in 1995: walls of flowers and photographs mixed with mementos and votives built up as individuals attached their tributes to chain-link fences. While these memorials lacked permanence, they were certainly visceral and real; they emanated from the grief of individual people. So, too, was the Tribute in Light, now a staple of the annual ceremonies and the first memorial that really attempted a collective statement. It was successful because it was not clearly a memorial: it was a reproduction of the towers as ephemeral shafts of light. It remains the most eloquent statement produced since 9/11. Tribute was not to last, having been designated temporary, and the search for a collective symbol was pressed forward. The intervening years have not been kind to that decision. Read more »

Everywhere you want to be... except here.

This will be my first run at this blog, I apologize if there are some formatting errors or the like. Read more »

When Philosophy Meets Politics, or Why George Bush Is a Crummy Utilitarian

Let the revolution begin! Read more »

Cuba Behind the Curtain

We should be prepared for that day when Fidel Castro finally takes his celestial dirt nap. Media columnists, academia and the Western intelligencia the world over will be mouring the loss while offering none-too-subtle praises for the workers' utopia.

At that point, we should recall Caroline Overington's first-hand account:

Two years ago, I was given what quickly became an awful assignment. I was told to visit Cuba. Oh sure, like everybody I thought: dark rum, hot nights, fat cigars, the rumba.

Hagel on the GOP

Chuck asks:

Where is the fiscal responsibility of the party I joined in '68? Where is the international engagement of the party I joined — fair, free trade, individual responsibility, not building a bigger government, but building a smaller government?