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Tag Archives: norms

A Conservative Irony

An argument that conservatives often make against libertarianism is that libertarians are insufficiently concerned about virtue and good behavior. That argument isn’t empty. Conservatives can probably point to instances of libertarians thinking that certain behaviors should be legal but concluding, on that basis alone, that there’s nothing wrong with such behaviors. I’m a libertarian who thinks that, in Leonard Read’s famous words “anything that’s peaceful” should be...

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To Clap or Not to Clap?

Jay Nordlinger, always an insightful writer on music (and a brilliant writer on pretty much anything he writes about), has two posts on applause. I mean applause _during_ rather than after a concert. One is on “propriety by consent”: a politician’s sense of propriety, in this case Richard Nixon. The other tries to answer the question why applauding a beautiful aria during an opera is considered proper, whereas applauding an astonishing movement of a sonata performance...

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It’s blackmail all the way down

David Henderson recently raised doubts about whether blackmail should be illegal, and Robin Hanson advocated legalizing blackmail. David cited the argument that activities that are generally legal (such as gossip), should not become illegal merely because money changes hands. Robin cited the argument that blackmail is a way of enforcing society’s norms, and that the threat of blackmail might deter bad behavior. Tyler Cowen argued against legalizing blackmail, as did...

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