I have often thought that debating other people is just as good (if not better) for learning about other how other people think (and imagine things) as reading a book on a subject. In this spirit, I thought it’d be cool to point out some of the great debates I’ve had a pleasure of being a part of either though participation or simply as an observer.
Cato Unbound is by far the best place to go if you want to get a good, scholarly, but still colloquial, debate on a topic. This month’s lead essay is on ‘Bleeding Heart Libertarianism’ and features responses from a number of prominent academics. I highly recommend taking some time to read through the whole symposium.
Over at the blog Coordination Problem, economist Steve Horwitz takes a grad student (Daniel Kuehn) out for a beating in the proverbial woodshed in the ‘comments’ section.
Again in the ‘comments’ section, I take Jacques Delacroix to school on matters of foreign policy and the law.
And at MarginalRevolution, co-bloggers Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok go at it on banking institutions. Here is Part 1 (by TC), Part 2 (AT), Part 3 (TC), and Part 4 (AT).
All of these are tough reads with lots of top scholars debating big ideas (save for me, though Jacques is a world-renowned scholar on international trade and development), so you might want to come back to this post and click around a little bit at a time. All of the debates are highly, highly recommended.
Oh, and the Mises Institute has their new blog up and running (it’s very good): The Circle Bastiat
5 thoughts on “A Few Good Debates”
The comments section on the Cato Unbound piece was closed, so I will make my comment here.
Are the true heirs of Locke, Smith, and Spencer those that more or less say the same things as them, only fitted to today’s situations, or the ones that attempt to improve upon the original ideas but apply them the same way in all situations?
Were there not men who influenced Locke and Smith and Spencer, that were even less liberal than them? Yet Locke and Smith and Spencer should be considered the true heirs rather than those men contemporary to them that were also influenced by the same men, but remained comparatively static in their theories.
If we are talking about who best represents the ideas of Locke and Smith and Spencer, it is certainly those liberals that make the same case as them, i.e. Hayek and Friedman.
But if we are talking about who more radically transformed the ideas, arguably for the better, it is those that differ from them on the issues in question, i.e. Mises, Rothbard, and Rand.
Asking who is the inheritor of any radical creed, as liberalism was and still is to my mind and answering that it is those who remained the truest to its founders, contradicts what it means to be radical.
Are the inheritors of radicalism the conservatives that agree with the founding radicals, or the radicals that further radicalize the radicalism, sloughing off those practical and theoretical parts that would slow this progress?
Don’t get me wrong. I dig all these people. These are all men (except Ayn, a woman) who improved upon something, some to a greater degree than others. None of them hoarded or squandered their inheritance.
A fine, thoughtful response Hank.
Thanks. I had trouble getting it out, but I managed.
PS Liberalism is bad ass.
Freedom does that. Maybe that is why William Wallace let them hang and quarter him, for example. Or was the movie fake?