Tuesday , November 20 2018
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Bleeding Hearths Libertarians

Any BHL readers in Amsterdam?

If so, hope to see you here. Jos de Beus Lecture 2018 by Prof. Jacob T. Levy (McGill) Date & time: Monday 19 November 2018, 17.00-19.00 hrs. Location: VOC-room, Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48, Amsterdam Entrance is free, registration not required. ‘Justice in Babylon: Political Norms and Ideals in an Unjust World’ The Jos de Beus Lecture 2018 is made possible by the research group Challenges to Democratic Representation of the Department of Political Science at the University of...

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Bad Arguments for Democracy #1: Local Knowledge/Misusing Hayek

Let’s begin a short series on some of the bad arguments democratic theorists commonly make. Today’s bad argument: The local knowledge argument. Democratic theorists know that libertarians tend to be meh democracy but hooray Hayek. So, they hope to throw Hayek back at us–“Gotcha!”. But the democratic theorist misunderstand what Hayek is saying, and so the gotcha! doesn’t get us. Hayek’s smart idea: Hayek argues that good decisions require good information. Decision-makers need to...

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Public Deliberation as Pre-Meditated Injustice

Bob catches his wife cheating on him. He murders her right then, in heat of the moment. This is of course unjust. But suppose he instead plots revenge over the course of a year, and then murders her later. Bob would likely be charged with first degree murder instead. He’d be charged with a more severe crime and receive a more severe sentence. Committing injustice in the heat of the moment is bad; committing the same injustice after cool deliberation is usually worse. Everyone...

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Libertarianism: Eric Mack’s New Book

Many readers of this blog will know Eric Mack’s work. He is the leading libertarian political philosopher. And he has just put together a nice new book explaining libertarian political philosophy and its various varieties. There’s a lot of new innovative stuff there, even for libertarian political philosophers who know the field. Do buy it. It’s under $20. Here’s what some important people say about the book. My Amazon review is below theirs. “This book is,...

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Bombs, rhetorical and otherwise

Political speech inspires belief, and action. This shouldn’t be controversial, but it is. Assassination attempts against public figures who have been singled out for abuse by President Trump, and the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue, have refocused attention on Trump’s incendiary rhetoric. He dismissed the idea that he might have any reason to “tone down” his language amidst the violence, suggesting that he might “tone it up” instead. And he has continued to attack some of those...

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Two Hypotheses about the Leftward Slant in Academia

1. Academia is a highly right-wing place; leftism serves as an “expressive recompense” for that. 2. Academia is the gatekeeper of power and status. Leftism serves to temper the future holders of power. Tyler Cowen asks whether L.A. is the most right-wing American city: Right-wing isn’t exactly the right word, but neither is conservative nor libertarian.  Let’s put it this way: in which American city is the principle of sexual dimorphism so pronounced and so accepted and so built...

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If You’re Not Continuously Outraged, You Must be a Horrible Person!!!

Today on Facebook I read a comment from someone saying he hates America because so many Americans are apathetic about politics and current events. (He didn’t offer any comparative stats about apathy in other countries, so I don’t know how much he also hates Canadians, Mexicans, or the Swiss. Presumably, he despises almost everyone in the world, since very few people are highly engaged.) The argument seems to be something like this: Horrible things are happening...

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In Defense of Viewpoint Diversity

I’ve got a new article up at Inside Higher Ed arguing that greater viewpoint diversity in academia would be good for both research and teaching. Here’s an excerpt: Viewpoint homogeneity is also a problem in the classroom, even if, as [University of Pennsylvania professor Sigal] Ben-Porath has noted, it is rarely the case that “other views are not presented or are silenced” or that “professors preach their political ideology in class.” John Stuart Mill argues that it is not enough...

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Why the “Grievance Studies” Hoax Was Not Unethical. (But it’s not very interesting, either.)

A lot of people are now having quite a bit of fun at the expense of “Gender Studies,” “Fat Studies,” “Feminist Social Work,” and similar fields after the revelation that several hoax papers have been published in their academic journals. But not everyone is amused. Ann Garry, the interim editor of Hypatia (one of the spoofed journals) stated that “Referees put in a great deal of time and effort to write meaningful reviews, and the idea that individuals would submit fraudulent...

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