Nightcap

  1. Required reading at French military schools Michael Shurkin, War on the Rocks
  2. Stealing libertarianism Chris Dillow, Stumbling & Mumbling
  3. Liberty is self-government, not rights alone Richard Reinsch, Modern Age
  4. How Big Film distorts colonialism’s legacy Lipton Matthews, Mises Wire

Nightcap

  1. The language of taxation Frances Woolley, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative
  2. On feudal exploitation Chris Dillow, Stumbling & Mumbling
  3. A failed experiment John Tierney, City Journal
  4. Edward Van Halen (1955-2020) RIP Irfan Khawaja, Policy of Truth

Nightcap

  1. Conflicts of interest in economic research Fabo, et. al, NBER
  2. In the dragon’s shadow Frank Beyer, Asian Review of Books
  3. 2020 is a black comedy Scott Sumner, The Money Illusion
  4. The risk of creeping Apartheid? Chris Bertram, Guardian

Nightcap

  1. The bottom of the Progressive barrel Michael Koplow, Ottomans & Zionists
  2. Taking liberties with the history of freedom James Hankins, Law & Liberty
  3. Happiness: a tale of two surveys Nick Nielsen, The View from Oregon

Nightcap

  1. Why Adam Smith was right Branko Milanovic, globalinequality
  2. Understanding the war in Kenya and Ethiopia Dalle Abraham, Africa is a Country
  3. Propaganda and art in Iran today Amir Ahmadi Arian, NYRB
  4. The crypto state Bruno Maçães, City Journal

Nightcap

  1. Tell me about your mother Claire Jarvis, Hedgehog Review
  2. The internet of beefs Venkatesh Rao, Noema
  3. Bangkok’s bloodless revolt Kapil Komireddi, Critic
  4. Rethinking world order Rebeccah Heinrichs, Law & Liberty

Nightcap

  1. Goya Robin Simon, Literary Review
  2. Muslim guilt Mahvish Ahmad, Disorder of Things
  3. Postwar prosperity Jonathan Hopkin, Aeon
  4. Tripling America Kay Hymowitz, City Journal
  5. The tragedy of Donald Trump Ross Douthat, NY Times

Nightcap

  1. Can there be a global history of India’s caste system? Shuvatri Dasgupta, JHIBlog
  2. Caste, Silicon Valley, and anti-Caste NPR (pod…cast)
  3. How should law schools treat the powerful? Will Baude, Volokh Conspiracy
  4. The return of postal banking? Larry White, Alt-M

Nightcap

  1. Pirates, liberty, and imperialism Regina Much, Commonweal
  2. Can hierarchies be rescued? Chang Che, Los Angeles Review of Books
  3. How to restrain judicial review Ryan Doerfler (interview), Vox
  4. Twilight of the union Colin Kidd, New Statesman

Nightcap

  1. Orwellian Othering Bryan Caplan, EconLog
  2. Cancel With Them Irfan Khawaja, Policy of Truth
  3. The rise of extreme politics in a federation VOXEU
  4. Conquests, atrocities, and non-Europeans Lipton Matthews, Mises Wire

The Westphalian myth

Was the Peace of Westphalia and its implications for state sovereignty one big myth?

The apparently ineradicable notion (repeated even by many recent historians of the war) that the Peace of Westphalia sanctioned the “sovereignty” of Switzerland and the Netherlands and their independence from the empire demonstrates this. In the case of the Swiss it is based on a willful (and sometimes uninformed) interpretation of the relevant clause in the treaties, giving it a meaning that its drafters did not intend. And as to the Dutch the treaties do not even deal with them.

The complete autonomy of Switzerland vis-a-vis the empire was uncontroversial in practice, and the Swiss were reluctant to have anything to do with the peace congress. If they eventually allowed themselves to be represented there by the burgomaster of Basel, it was because this city had only joined the Swiss confederation after the other cantons had had their autonomy recognized in a treaty of 1499. The supreme courts of the empire (more particularly, the Imperial Cameral Tribunal) did not consider Basel to be exempt from their jurisdiction and allowed lawsuits against Basel and its citizens, a situation that had caused continual irritation. For this reason Basel insisted on having the immunity of the entire confederation reconfirmed in such a way that it would cover Basel, too. The request was granted, and a clause to that effect included in the treaties. This clause, which explicitly names Basel as its initiator and beneficiary, restates the immunity (exemptio) of the Swiss cantons from the jurisdiction of the empire and their complete autonomy (plena libertas).

Read the rest (pdf). All you Holy Roman Empire fans will enjoy it, too.

Nightcap

  1. Hayek (Streeck, Hazony) and world federation and colonialism Eric Schliesser, Digressions & Impressions
  2. The new secessionism Jason Sorens, Modern Age
  3. Winning the court, losing the constitution John Grove, Law & Liberty
  4. The quest for German national identity Anna Corsten, JHIBlog

The collapse of socialism and the sovereignty gap

When socialism collapsed in the late 1980s-early 1990s, many debates and contentions were settled, but the issue of sovereignty has only grown in importance thanks in large part to more economic integration. The European attempt at federation, undertaken after the fall of socialism, has not gone well precisely because it cannot close the Westphalian sovereignty gap. The bloodshed in the non-liberal world has largely been a product of the inability of states to fragment, an inability which is encouraged by notions of Westphalian sovereignty and institutionalized by IGOs such as the United Nations or World Bank.

If states wish to break away, but are prohibited from doing so by enormous costs (such as violent aggression from the state it wishes to break away from, or hostility from illiberal states that can use IGOs as mediums to act on those hostilities), then a federation which welcomes states into its union, and which is strong enough to deter aggression, would be a welcome, liberal development.

This is from my forthcoming article in the Independent Review. Here’s a sneak peak (pdf) at the whole thing. I’m guest editing a symposium on the subject at Cosmos + Taxis, in case any of you want to write a response, or add to the conversation…

Nightcap

  1. In search of the writer-diplomat tradition Robert Fay
  2. Trump is plenty capable Will Wilkinson, Open Society
  3. The case against Mars Byron Williston, Boston Review
  4. Against human colonies Daniel Deudney (interview), LH

Nightcap

  1. The meaning of Amy Coney Barrett Ross Douthat, NY Times
  2. What does Ruth Bader Ginsburg mean for women? Amy Wax, CRB
  3. Talking about a constitutional restoration Titus Techera, L&L
  4. Give it away (Marcel Mauss) David Graeber, Free Words