At the risk of flattering Isaiah Berlin, who I believe to be a very overrated figure, it is important in debates about liberty to not muddle two different concepts.
Liberty in the “negative” sense refers to essentially non-interference. Previously, I have spent a lot of time pointing out that this sense of liberty is incompatible [...]
Whenever libertarians talk about the evils of liberty-restricting paternalism, I can’t help but recall that the endorsement of paternalism is the only plausible way their theory of laissez-faire property is supposed to get off the ground in the first place.
As Nozick notes, the appropriation of property is inherently liberty-destroying:
It will be implausible to [...]
Every time you attack libertarianism, libertarians respond by saying you haven’t actually attacked libertarianism. You’ve only attacked one libertarian or one perspective, but that’s not the right one to look at it. You are engaging in a straw man argument. And so on. It never ends. You can’t ever deliver a square blow against it [...]
Long-time readers will be familiar with my point that the most libertarian world is one in which people are free to do anything short of acting on the bodies of others. This is the world that perfectly implements the idea of negative liberty, non-aggression, and self-ownership. Naturally, this world does not have property, since property [...]
In response to Rand Paul’s hilarious claim that parents own their children, Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig (ESB) posted at The New Republic about a slew of libertarian views about parenting that are stranger than even that.
One of those views comes from Rothbard’s book Ethics of Liberty. In the book Rothbard applies the non-aggression, [...]
There is a funny group of people out there who became laissez-faire propertarians for secular reasons but then later had to backfill ways to reconcile it with their Catholic religion. One of the things these people often do is concede that, as Locke famously wrote, the poor have a right to the surplus of the [...]
After a long break, I have found myself sufficiently annoyed once again at arguments regarding property that make no sense and fail to apprehend even the most basic criticisms that have for centuries been levied against them. So, I have decided once again to clarify how incoherent it is to say your views on taxes [...]
Occasionally, I happen upon people who claim that they base their economic justice views on the idea of Pareto Improvements. On this view, economic justice requires that all moves to make individuals better off must not make other individuals worse off. Those who promote this view often seem to have roughly laissez-faire capitalist preferences. In [...]
In my prior post, I discussed the interesting case of certain right-wingers calling deregulation that they don’t like regulation. Specifically, I point out that when the state backs out of enforcing noncompete agreements, this is not regulation; rather, it is deregulation. It reduces the scope of the government. It imposes no rules on [...]
Adam Ozimek wrote a piece titled “Can Regulation Create Good Jobs?” The jumping off point for the piece is the recent slate of discussion around Jimmy John’s requiring its employees to sign noncompete clauses:
The latest of these [stories] involves a sandwich chain that allegedly asked its line workers to sign noncompete agreements. [...]