- When arguments fail (a response to libertarians) Irfan Khawaja, Policy of Truth
- State-sponsored empire building (philanthropy) Edward Carver, LARB
- How airpower reshaped the global diplomatic order Thomas Furse, Age of Revolutions
- The friendly Mr Wu Mara Hvistendahl, 1843
3 thoughts on “Nightcap”
As is usual with these interlocutors, they don’t seem to have the courage of their own loud convictions, or the courage for an attack on them. Magness has since deleted or made private the March 10 public Facebook post that I attacked, and Brennan has deleted all of the comments I’ve put in response to commenters at BHL. There don’t seem to be any limits to their cowardice, dishonesty, or plain lack of common sense. In a month’s time since the COVID-19 pandemic, Magness has yet to take back his claim that the universities were wrong to close down. As far as we know, he thinks that they should remain open to this day. That they closed down when they did was, as he put it, a case of their “losing their shit.”
Evidently, he expects us to take for granted that everyone has a right to spread disease at will, so that force can never be used to restrain anyone who does. This strikes me as a form of epidemiological fascism, and I’m of the view that it should be described in speech for precisely what it is. It deprives of every potential victim of COVID-19 of a right to self-defense against anyone who might spread it on the premise that either we use voluntary persuasion, or we suffer in silence as others spread a lethal disease, whether deliberately or not. Fascist or insane–call it what you please. But I don’t regret opposing it just as loudly as I have.
By “these interlocutors,” I mean the ones referred to in the blog post of mine mentioned above–Jason Brennan and Phil Magness.
They are brash and self-assured, it’s true, and they’ve become hostile to both disagreement and dialogue. I understand that they’re trying to give the Left a taste of its own medicine, but in doing so they’ve become what they loathe most about the academy.
What bothers me is the erasing of their thoughts. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be wrong in a disagreement, and doubly so if other people are reading the exchanges you’re in. That’s how you learn. That’s how other people learn. Cowardice might be too strong of a word to describe this trend, at least for me, but it is disturbing. If the future trendsetters of libertarianism aren’t confident enough to be wrong, the movement is in big trouble.