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Tag Archives: Current Events

School Choice and Car Choice: What’s the Difference?

Imagine the following conversation: “Here’s your new Ford Focus!” “What? I didn’t ask for this. Please return it.” “No can do. Already paid for.” “Well, that’s not my problem.” “It sure is—the state taxed some of your income to pay for it.” “But that’s ridiculous—why can’t I buy the car that I believe best suits my family’s needs? We’d do much better with a Kia that is more fuel efficient and has a higher safety rating.” “Sorry, that’s not how the system works. You can customize a...

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When Non-Violence Isn’t Enough at Reason

Today at Reason, I have a longer write-up summarizing some of the main moves I make in When All Else Fails: The Ethics of Resistance to State Injustice. Read it here. If you see, e.g., cops using excessive force, or arresting someone for something that shouldn’t be a crime, may you resist? I argue yes–you may treat them the way you would treat private civilians doing the same thing. Of course, that’s dangerous: Shooting the cops in this case is dangerous—they may send a SWAT team to...

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When Non-Violence Isn’t Enough at Reason

Today at Reason, I have a longer write-up summarizing some of the main moves I make in When All Else Fails: The Ethics of Resistance to State Injustice. Read it here. If you see, e.g., cops using excessive force, or arresting someone for something that shouldn’t be a crime, may you resist? I argue yes–you may treat them the way you would treat private civilians doing the same thing. Of course, that’s dangerous: Shooting the cops in this case is dangerous—they may send a SWAT team to...

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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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The Complicated Case of Political Dissent and Higher Education

I wrote a short letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education in response to Jason Stanley’s “Fascism and the University” that can be found here. An excerpt: The case for addressing conservative under-representation in higher education is stronger than Stanley indicates. My worries begin with his treatment of free speech concerns. He says, “One typical method [of undermining the credibility of the university] is to level accusations of hypocrisy. Right now, a contemporary right-wing...

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Unicorn Socialism

In his recent defense of socialism, Corey Robin writes: The socialist argument against capitalism isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree. When my well-being depends upon your whim, when the basic needs of life compel submission to the market and subjugation at work, we live not in freedom but in domination. Socialists want to end that domination: to establish freedom from rule by the boss, from the need to smile for the sake of a sale, from the obligation to sell...

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Reign of Fire

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...

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Academic Freedom is a Bipartisan Value

In an interview with Inside Higher Education, Jason Stanley makes a number of claims about academic freedom and support for free-market capitalism that are worth questioning. Stanley rightly calls out Turning Point USA for its “Professor Watchlist,” which targets left-leaning faculty members. He says that these sorts of organizations “specifically target academics who deviate from the myths that support American far-right ideology. They try to intimidate into silence scholars whose...

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Socialism: What’s in a Word?

Chris Feinman, following a suggestion by Jason Brennan, has just published a good post on socialism, showing that socialists are not entitled to define socialism by its goals and aspirations, because that allows them to immunize socialism from real-life catastrophic applications of it. I add, as an afterthought, that in these debates either we are entitled to use real-life examples or we are not. Critics of capitalism like to bring up the bad effects of capitalism and globalization....

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