The most interesting thing about libertarians is that their normative arguments fail on their own terms. Well-constructed theories only permit disagreement on the basic principle level. Excepting consequentialist libertarians, libertarian theories are so bad that their basic principles don’t even generate the conclusions libertarians claim they do. The arguments are internally contradictory on a scale [...]
Earlier this week, The Heritage Foundation released a report purporting to detail the costs of granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants. This report set off a flurry of wonky debates, with both conservative and liberal commentators criticizing the methodology and assumptions used by the report’s authors.
The discussion that sprung [...]
I was intrigued by how well my Fascinating tumblr arguments post did traffic-wise. Apparently I am not alone in finding it interesting. Here I detail another engaging argument I’ve tried to keep track of on tumblr, this one about the appropriate status of transwomen within feminism.
At the heart of the dispute is [...]
So I wrote something in The Atlantic today. The basic argument is that, under certain conditions, it might make sense to make the poor poorer provided that you make the rich much less rich. Here is how that argument can work.
Assume that a huge income gap, in and of itself, harms individual [...]
Mike Konczal has a post over at Next New Deal today about rents and Nozick. He uses Nozick’s famous Wilt Chamberlain argument as a counterpoint to the anti-rentier arguments that have been floating around recently (see mine here). Nozick’s argument basically challenges people to explain what is unjust about people voluntarily [...]
That property institutions are socially constructed is so perfectly obvious that it hardly needs arguing. What else are they if not constructed? Did they exist before human beings existed? No surely not. Did they pop into existence as soon as that first creature with human-like DNA was born? Was it at that instant moment that [...]
Michael Bloomberg’s recent attempts to reduce soda sizes and now to prohibit visually displaying cigarettes in stores have generated a great deal of comments on all sides. These are the kinds of basic policies that basically everyone feels comfortable chiming in on, which is fun. One popular view has been that [...]
Michael Lind has an interesting piece in Salon advocating for an “Anti-Rentier movement.” A rentier is someone that derives their income from economic rents. The precise definition of an economic rent is politically contentious, but the easiest — albeit somewhat over-simplified — way to think about is this: rents [...]
In my last post, I said liberals do themselves a disservice by talking about equal opportunity all of the time, instead of raising other grievances they have with our economic institutions. If you listened to the people who talk on television, you’d believe the only thing concerning liberals is that the positions in [...]
Steve Pearlstein has a long piece titled “Is capitalism moral?” in the Washington Post. The piece is a total mess. It seems to misconstrue different moral traditions and hops between them without seemingly realizing it. Nonetheless, it does provide a jumping off point for a point that needs to be emphasized: equal opportunity [...]