Human Nature, War and Armed Conflict

The list of ongoing armed conflicts in the worlds is long (see, for example, here) and has been long for centuries. There are many websites and research institutes that keep track of their number, the parties involved, the main issues, et cetera. There are many different definitions of war and armed conflict. Here, wars are … Continue reading Human Nature, War and Armed Conflict

The Private Production of Defense

Lucas’ post reminded me of a piece that I wrote for his website ThinkIR, in 2013. Most of it I re-used in my book Degrees of Freedom (2015). Of course it is also a piece on its own, that readers of NoL may find of interest. Thanks Lucas! +++++++++++++++++ It is fun to think about … Continue reading The Private Production of Defense

Underrated & overrated libertarian thinkers

Here is my take on Tyler Cowen’s views on libertarian thinkers who are either overrated or underrated in shaping the libertarian tradition. Please be aware that I think libertarianism and classical liberalism are two different strands of liberal thought, as argued in more detail in an earlier post here at NOL and in my latest … Continue reading Underrated & overrated libertarian thinkers

Ayn Rand and International Politics

In a previous post I promised to write about Ayn Rand and her views on international politics, based on a recently published article. I find Ayn Rand a fascinating figure in libertarian history, for a number of reasons. Her life style and ways she went about it in her life are so far distanced from … Continue reading Ayn Rand and International Politics

Highly recommended work on Ayn Rand

Most scholarship on Ayn Rand has been of mediocre quality, according to Gregory Salmieri, the co-editor of A Companion to Ayn Rand, which is part of the series “Blackwell Companions to Philosophy.” The other co-editor of the volume is the late Allan Gotthelf, who died during it’s last preparatory stages. The reasons for the poor … Continue reading Highly recommended work on Ayn Rand

Foreign Policy in the Liberal Tradition: The Real Story

Over at the Niskanen Center, Matthew Fay wrote a blog entitled “Thinking about Libertarian Foreign Policy.” Brandon was so nice to point this out to me. Fay’s main point is that, apparently contrary to what some libertarians think (Fay leaves them unnamed, no references either), there is big divide between the foreign policy pronouncements of Donald … Continue reading Foreign Policy in the Liberal Tradition: The Real Story

Liberalism and Sovereignty

More than a year ago I promised Jacques a post on sovereignty and while I am not always able to follow up very quickly, I tend to do what I promise. So here it is! Jacques’ main cri de coeur was why (classical) liberals should care about sovereignty at all. When it comes to the … Continue reading Liberalism and Sovereignty

Let’s clear up the liberal mess

It appears there are as many liberalisms as there are liberals. To name just a few: libertarianism, classical liberalism, bleeding heart liberalism, economic liberalism, political liberalism, social liberalism, high liberalism, minarchism, objectivism, anarcho-capitalism, neoliberalism. And in international relations theory there is for example neoliberal institutionalism, liberal internationalism or embedded liberalism. Clearly this all amounts to … Continue reading Let’s clear up the liberal mess

So you think war can be eliminated?

You might be one of those libertarians, or you belong to some other creed, who think war can be eliminated. For example through international trade, the better use of our ratio, or more influence for regular people on foreign policy decisions. In my own work I have tried to make clear all of these claims … Continue reading So you think war can be eliminated?

How to value international law as a classical liberal

I live in the ‘City of International Peace and Justice’ according to the city marketing of the municipality of The Hague. There is some truth in it, as the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and temporary courts such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia are all located within the … Continue reading How to value international law as a classical liberal

Let’s leave the fairy tales behind

Freedom-loving people are almost always nice and genial. I count them among my best friends, and in fact, I think of myself as one. Some of them have sharp intellects, publish great stuff, are brilliant discussants and all of them are prepared to take on the left-leaning, social liberal (for American readers: liberal) majority anytime. … Continue reading Let’s leave the fairy tales behind

The ugliness of international politics

What has been widely feared is about the happen, it seems. President Assad’s troops, supported by the Russians, are winning the battle over Aleppo. That is not great from a lot of perspectives. To name just a few: first of all for the civilians, who are killed and bombed continuously. Secondly, the crushing of the … Continue reading The ugliness of international politics

Classical Liberalism, Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism

In another thought-provoking post on Facebook (does the guy ever write mediocre stuff, I wonder?) Barry raised the question of the relation between classical liberalism, nationalism and cosmopolitanism. He wrote the following: “On the capture of classical liberal/libertarianism by anti-cosmopolitans. This is very influential at the heart of the ‘leave’ ‘elite’ in the UK, and … Continue reading Classical Liberalism, Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism