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Roderick Long

Roderick Long

Roderick Tracy Long (born February 4, 1964) is an American professor of philosophy at Auburn University and libertarian blogger. He also serves as a senior scholar for the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an editor of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, director and president of the Molinari Institute, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society. Long received a B.A. in philosophy from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. He edited the book Anarchism/Minarchism: Is a Government Part of a Free Country?. Long was an editor of the Journal of Libertarian Studies.

Articles by Roderick Long

Forthcoming Anthology on Dialectical Libertarianism

26 days ago

Check out Chris Matthew Sciabarra’s announcement for his forthcoming anthology Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom (edited by Sciabarra, Roger Bissell, and Edward Younkins) here, and the abstracts of chapters here.
Contributors include Jason Lee Byas, Robert Campbell, Troy Camplin, Kevin Carson, Gary Chartier, Billy Christmas, Douglas Den Uyl, Nathan Goodman, Robert Higgs, Steven Horwitz, Stephan Kinsella, Deirdre McCloskey, David Prychitko, Douglas Rasmussen, John Welsh, the editors themselves (Sciabarra, Bissell, and Younkins), and your humble correspondent. (You’ll notice a few BHL bloggers on that list.)
In Sciabarra’s words: “These essays explore ways that liberty can be better defended using a dialectical approach, a mode of analysis that grasps

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Bullshit Within the Limits of Bare Reason

January 29, 2019

My review of David Graeber’s book Bullshit Jobs in the February 2019 issue of Reason magazine is now online.

Spoiler alert: it’s not a sequel to Harry Frankfurt’s book.

Published on: January 29, 2019January 29, 2019Author: Roderick Long

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Review: New York 2140

January 25, 2019

Robinson, Kim Stanley. New York 2140. (Orbit Books, 2017).

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the best science-fiction writers working today. Recurring themes in his stories include ecology, archeological exploration, anti-capitalist politics, and the ineluctable passage of time – all of which feature in New York 2140, which, like much of his work (including Icehenge, The Martians, 2312, Galileo’s Dream, and Aurora) fits almost-but-not-quite into the future history established in the Mars trilogy, his best-known work. (The inconsistencies are explained in Galileo’s Dream, where we learn that these various narratives belong to distinct but closely adjacent timelines.)

New York 2140 is a sprawling, magnificent tour de force. In its pages, the half-sunken (owing to global warming

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Anarchy in Manhattan

December 21, 2018

The Molinari Society will be holding its mostly-annual Eastern Symposium in conjunction with the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in New York City, 7-10 January 2019. Here’s the schedule info:
Molinari Society symposium: New Work in Libertarian and Anarchist Thought
G5C. Tuesday, 8 January 2019, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, 811 7th Ave. (at W. 53rd St.), New York NY, room TBA
chair:
     Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)
presenters:
     Jason Lee Byas (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), “The Political Is Interpersonal”
     Dylan Andrew Delikta (Memorial University of Newfoundland), “Anarchy: Finding Home in the (W)hole”
     Alex Braud (Arizona State University), “Putting Limits on Punishments of Last

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Anarchy in Manhattan

December 21, 2018

The Molinari Society will be holding its mostly-annual Eastern Symposium in conjunction with the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in New York City, 7-10 January 2019. Here’s the schedule info:
Molinari Society symposium: New Work in Libertarian and Anarchist Thought
G5C. Tuesday, 8 January 2019, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, 811 7th Ave. (at W. 53rd St.), New York NY, room TBA
chair:
     Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)
presenters:
     Jason Lee Byas (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), “The Political Is Interpersonal”
     Dylan Andrew Delikta (Memorial University of Newfoundland), “Anarchy: Finding Home in the (W)hole”
     Alex Braud (Arizona State University), “Putting Limits on Punishments of Last

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Looking for Daylight: Minarchist Strategy’s Missteps

September 13, 2018

Reason magazine editors Nick Gillespie and Catherine Mangu-Ward have recently debated the question of minarchism (i.e., minimal government) vs. free-market anarchism.
As an anarchist, I’m obviously on Mangu-Ward’s side of the debate. But both writers make some assumptions about strategy that I find problematic.
I’ll start with Gillespie, who expresses impatience with “boring, tedious, and fundamentally irrelevant discussions about hypotheticals, first principles, and extreme a priori-ism that are light-years removed from anything to do with the world we actually live in.” Gillespie mockingly admonishes us anarchist nerds to drop the philosophising and wake up to pragmatic reality:
Why bother figuring out what school choice programs should look like? Haven’t you heard? TAXATION

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Reign of Fire

September 13, 2018

Are the wildfires that have been devastating California a gift from government? So argues William Finnegan in a recent article, “California Burning.”
According to Finnegan, the seeds of disaster were planted when the mission of the U.S. Forest Service was expanded in the early decades of the 20th century:
The Forest Service, no longer just a land steward, became the federal fire department for the nation’s wildlands. Its policy was total suppression of fires …. Some experienced foresters saw problems with this policy. It spoke soothingly to public fears, but periodic lightning-strike fires are an important feature of many ecosystems, particularly in the American West. Some “light burning,” they suggested, would at least be needed to prevent major fires. William Greeley, the

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Blast from the Past: 21 Years Ago

May 3, 2018

Social Justice, Left-libertarianism

I see that a video has recently been posted on YouTube of me, Jacob Levy, David Bernstein, and Richard Geddes on a panel on race, class, and gender at an IHS conference at Dulles Airport in 1997. Buncha young punks.

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Left-Libertarians at Libertopia

April 13, 2018

Announcements, Left-libertarianism

Next month (3-6 May) in San Diego I’ll be speaking at the Libertopia conference, which is back after several years’ hiatus. Here’s my topic and abstract:
Hoppean Libertarianism as Right-Wing Tribalism: A CritiqueRoderick T. Long
One of the main conduits by which many libertarians in recent years have been drawn into the orbit of the Alt-Right is the work of Hans-Hermann Hoppe. I argue that Hoppe’s views on such matters as racial difference, immigration, monarchism, and the desirability of culturally homogeneous communities are systematically mistaken, as well as incompatible with a libertarian understanding of human action.
My Molinari Institute / Center

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Upcoming Panels: Marriage and Anarchy

March 26, 2018

Announcements

Two Molinari/C4SS panels are coming up at two different conferences later this week:  1. The Molinari Society will be holding its mostly-annual Pacific Symposium in conjunction with the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association in San Diego, March 28-April 1, 2018. Here’s the schedule info:
Molinari Society symposium:Author Meets Critics: Gary Chartier’s Public Practice, Private Law: An Essay on Love, Marriage, and the State
G9C. Friday, 30 March 2018, 7:00-10:00 p.m. (or so), Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, 910 Broadway Circle, San Diego CA, room TBA
chair:Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)
critics:Jennifer Lockhart (Auburn University)Lori Watson (New

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Class Act

January 11, 2018

Announcements, Libertarianism

Karl Marx once wrote:
I do not claim to have discovered either the existence of classes in modern society or the struggle between them. Long before me, bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this struggle between the classes, as had bourgeois economists their economic anatomy. My own contribution was
1. to show that the existence of classes is merely bound up with certain historical phases in the development of production;
2. that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat;
3. that this dictatorship itself constitutes no more than a transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.

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Two New Publications

January 4, 2018

Announcements, Economics

My chapter on “Anarchism and Libertarianism” is forthcoming in Nathan Jun, ed., Brill’s Companion to Anarchism and Philosophy (Leiden: Brill, 2017), at the usual insane Brill price. In the chapter I explore the relationship between libertarianism (in the free-market sense) and the anarchist movement, including the question whether anarcho-capitalism counts as a genuine form of anarchism. (My C4SS colleague Kevin Carson has a chapter in the book as well.)

According to the publisher, I’m only allowed to make 25 hard copies of the chapter – but I’m also allowed to post a copy online, so long as it’s on my personal website. That seems to me a bit like saying “No

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Scaling Down

January 4, 2018

Economics, Left-libertarianism

Of interest to those involved in either the debate over free-market anarchism or the debate over the relation between government intervention and economies/diseconomies of scale (or both):
In a recent article titled “Do Economies of Scale Exist in Private Protection? Evaluating Nozick’s ‘Invisible Hand’,” Brian Meehan argues that contrary to those (like Nozick) who think that even in the absence of violent conflict a competitive market for security firms in a stateless society would tend to evolve toward monopoly, state regulation of private security firms actually tends to result in an increase in firm size and a decrease in number of firms.

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Left-Libertarian Economic Anthology Published

March 11, 2017

Announcements

I’m pleased to announce (belatedly) a new anthology from the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS): Free Markets & Capitalism?: Do Free Markets Always Produce a Corporate Economy?, edited by Cory Massimino and James Tuttle.

One third of Free Markets & Capitalism? (not to be confused with C4SS’s earlier anthology Markets Not Capitalism) reproduces an online exchange from last year among Kevin Carson, Derek Wall, and Steve Horwitz on the question of whether corporate capitalism would indeed wither away in a genuinely freed market, as left-libertarians contend, or whether instead, as both capitalist and socialist critics of left-libertarianism maintain (whether cheerfully or

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Stop Banning Muslims, Stop Banning Guns

March 11, 2017

Current Events

The debate over President Trump’s travel ban and the debate over gun control look surprisingly similar – except for who’s on which side.
In each case, supporters of the policy argue that it’s necessary in order to prevent incidents of lethal violence, while opponents argue, first, that the policy’s likely impact on such incidents is overstated, and second, that it’s unjust to restrict the freedom of a vast group, most members of which are peaceful and innocent, merely on the grounds that a small percentage of that group’s members might turn violent.
When the vast group in question is Muslim immigrants and would-be immigrants, those defending restrictive policies tend to be

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Liberty and Immigration Symposium

December 31, 2016

Announcements

The Molinari Society will be holding its annual Symposium in conjunction with the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, 202 East Pratt Street, in Baltimore, January 4-7, 2017. Here’s the current schedule info:
Molinari Society symposium: Libertarianism and RefugeesGFC. Thursday, 5 January 2017, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon.
presenters:James P. Sterba (University of Notre Dame), “Libertarianism and the Rights of Refugees ”Jan Narveson (University of Waterloo, Ontario), “Accommodating Refugees and Respecting Liberty”
commentators:Charles W. Johnson (Molinari Institute)Roderick T. Long (Auburn University)

Unfortunately, I won’t

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Against Greatness

December 19, 2016

Announcements, Current Events

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about making America “great again” – from a man who seems not to care how many people’s liberty he violates in order to pursue his conception of national greatness.
In this context, I’m happy to announce the Molinari Institute’s latest t-shirt, which features a quotation from Jeffersonian political activist Abraham Bishop, one of the most radical of the American founders:
“A nation which makes greatness its polestar can never be free.”

Thanks to Sheldon Richman for introducing me to this line, which comes from an 1800 antiwar speech titled Oration on the Extent and Power of Political Delusion; here’s a bit of context:
A nation which makes

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What’s So Bad About Flag Burning?

December 17, 2016

Current Events

President-elect Donald Trump’s recent call for a year’s prison term or loss of citizenship for those who burn the American flag – incidentally a reversal of Trump’s previous support for flag-burners on the Letterman show two years ago – leaves me with some questions. Four questions, specifically: two for Trump’s conservative supporters, and two for his liberal critics.

My first question for pro-Trump conservatives is this: In the past I seem to recall hearing quite a few of you (though admittedly not Trump himself) speaking pretty loudly in favor of free expression when the issue was laws in Muslim countries criminalizing speech or writings that “disrespect” Islam or the Prophet

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iRad II.1 in Print, iRad I.4 Online

November 24, 2016

Announcements

After a couple of years’ hiatus (for financial reasons), The Industrial Radical is back! The fifth issue of the Molinari Institute’s left-libertarian market-anarchist magazine goes in the mail to subscribers this week. (The Molinari Institute is the parent organisation of the Center for a Stateless Society.)
The page files for this issue have been ready to go for a while, being originally intended for our Autumn 2013 issue – which means that some of the references to current events are a bit dated. (The next issue will be up to date, with all new content.) But the theoretical content remains timeless.
Issue II.1 features articles by Sebastian A.B., John Ahrens, Paul Buchheit, Kevin

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The Benefits and Hazards of Voting

November 7, 2016

Democracy

Conventional wisdom has it that a) you have a duty to vote, and more specifically that b) at least in winner-take-all two-party electoral systems like the u.s., you have a duty to vote for whichever you regard as the least bad of the two major candidates (as opposed to “throwing away your vote” on a third-party candidate).
According to a contrary argument, one that enjoys some popularity in libertarian circles, c) voting – for anyone – is irrational, since the outcome is overwhelmingly likely to be the same whether you vote or not.
I think all three of these positions are mistaken.
(I’m not going to talk in this post about the argument that voting is immoral; but see my discussions here and

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Kant Unbound!

November 3, 2016

Rights Theory

I neglected to post about this while it was actually happening, but I just finished participating in a Cato Unbound exchange on Immanuel Kant’s place in classical…

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Book on Confucian Libertarianism Published

June 8, 2016

I’m pleased to announce the publication of the second item from the Molinari Institute’s new POD publishing program. This one is my own Rituals of Freedom: Libertarian Themes in Early Confucianism, a book-length expansion of a much shorter article I …

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If You Love Freedom, Thank an Anarchist

May 30, 2016

It’s often said – particularly on holidays like Veterans Day and Memorial Day – that Americans owe their freedom (such as it is) to u.s. military veterans. This claim has always puzzled me. In what war in living memory was the freedom of Americans at…

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Molinari Review 1.1: What Lies Within?

May 21, 2016

The Molinari Institute (the parent organization of the Center for a Stateless Society) is proud to announce the publication of the first issue of our new interdisciplinary, open-access, libertarian academic journal, the Molinari Review, edited by you…

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Remembering the Paris Commune

May 20, 2016

This month marks the 145th anniversary of the violent suppression of the Paris Commune by the French national government. The Paris Commune remains a potent symbol for many people – though what exactly it symbolizes is a matter of dispute. To conserv…

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The Problem Doesn’t Stop With Amtrak

May 19, 2016

Amtrak is in legal trouble. The rail service provider has long enjoyed an anomalous legal status, as a for-profit corporation created by the U.S. government. But in 2008, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, or PRIIA, heightened that an…

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Questions and Answers on Workplace Democracy

May 4, 2016

My BHL colleague Chris Freiman has three questions for left-libertarians concerning how we reconcile our “commitment to workplace democracy” with the “other commitments that libertarians are inclined to have.” Here I suggest some answers.

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Panarchist Anthology Published

April 14, 2016

A new anthology titled Panarchy: Political Theories of Non-Territorial States, edited by Aviezer Tucker and Gian Piero de Bellis, has been released by Routledge. The concept of panarchy comes from an 1860 work of that title by the Belgian botanist an…

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New Molinari/C4SS Books

April 10, 2016

Two of my Molinari/C4SS comrades have new books out. One is Kevin Carson’s The Desktop Regulatory State: The Countervailing Power of Individuals and Networks. The blurb says: Defenders of the modern state often claim that it’s needed to protect us – …

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