- Generals and Political Interventions in American History
- “they neglect to take account of the experiences of postcolonial states that form the vast majority of members of the international system. “
- The U.S. Hasn’t ‘Pulled Back’ from the Middle East At All
- No special sharia rules in American courts for Muslims’ wrongful-death recovery
- Is Gary Johnson a True Libertarian? American libertarianism has a purge problem
- Identity politics and the perils of zero-sum thinking
- Turkey and the Case of the Magical Vanishing Coup
- Is the overthrow of a democratically elected government ever justified?
- John and Abigail Adams educated their son, John Quincy, to become the worthy successor of the Founding generation of the new regime
- An American economist’s observations from Europe
- The Influence of Culture on Science, and the Culture of Science
- Confessions of an Ex-Prosecutor
PS: Did anyone else notice that the Brexit vote was 51%-49%? I mean, there’s a lot to think about there, especially for libertarians who claim that democracy sucks but Brexit/Nexit/Grexit is totally and completely justified if the people demand it…
I’m glad you highlighted the Ilya Somin/Will Wilkinson debate [here – bc], but I just found the whole thing so damn confused. I’m not a libertarian (or an Objectivist) but I ended up leaning more toward Somin than toward Wilkinson. But the real problem is that the terms “moderation” and “extremism” are left undefined throughout. Extremism in the pursuit of clarity is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of muddle is no virtue.
In that respect, at least, I think Ayn Rand’s analysis of “extremism” makes more sense than anything that either Somin or Wilkinson are saying. As she puts it, “‘extremism’ is a term which, standing by itself, has no meaning. The concept of ‘extreme’ denotes a relation, a measurement, a degree….It is obvious that the first question one has to ask, before using that term, is: a degree–of what?…Measurements, as such, have no value-significance–and acquire it only from the nature of that which is being measured” (Rand, Capitalism, pp. 196-97). The nature of what’s being measured is the one thing that neither Somin nor Wilkinson discuss (though Somin certainly comes closer). Which is why the debate they’ve having is relatively pointless.
Wilkinson treats his youthful encounter with Ayn Rand as nothing more than that. If he took a closer look at what she said, I think he’d find that there’s more there than he remembers.
That’s from the infamous Dr Khawaja, who does his blogging at the always excellent Policy of Truth group blog. You can find a link to Rand’s Capitalism here. I think Dr Khawaja is wrong to suggest that this debate is relatively pointless, though, at least to libertarians who care about electoral politics. I do agree with him that Wilkinson should revisit his familiarity with Rand’s work, though.
- Ilya Somin argues that Detroit’s aggressive use of eminent domain needs to be incorporated into any discussion of Detroit’s failure (be sure to read through the ‘comments’ section, too).
- Richard Wolff blames “capitalism” for Detroit’s failure. No seriously.
- Historian Andrei Znamenski has a great piece in the Independent Review on the political life of Karl Lueger, a socialist who became mayor of Vienna in the late 19th century.
Ultimately, I think that Detroit’s failure can be chalked up to bad fiscal policy, cronyism (at the local, regional and federal levels) and freer trade (which lets me drive a high-quality Toyota rather than some clunker from Detroit).
Lueger was an advocate of social justice and consequently of national socialism. Znamenski found that he had a profound influence on the thinking of an impressionable young artist living in Vienna at the time.