Monday, August 31, 2015
"What assures that state operatives will behave well?"
"No, that wouldn't solve the problem. I'm against all government."
"Hey, there's still a question on the table. You got an answer?"
Saturday, August 29, 2015
If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. (Lincoln)
If self-ownership is not right, nothing is right.(Suggested reading: Michael Huemer, "Moral Knowledge," excerpted from Ethical Intuitionism. Also, Murray N. Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty.)
Relatedly, I talked about libertarian class analysis with Scott Horton: here.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
One thing that bothers me about the idea of limited government is how unlimited it is. After all the acknowledged illegitimate departments are eliminated, what's left? Only the IRS (perhaps under another name), the police/courts/prison complex, and the military. Lovers of liberty are supposed to be comforted by that program? Those are the three most threatening parts of the state -- and they are left standing! (Minarchists may object that I assume the taxman won't face unemployment, but have no doubts about this. A monopoly state without the power to tax is as imaginable as a square circle.) I'd feel much better if all that remained were the department of motor vehicles and the bureau of weights and measures.
Minarchists may try to reassure us that the remaining departments will be strictly limited by a constitution. To evaluate that claim, consult the Public Choice literature and the work of Anthony de Jasay. Also American history.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015
They should ask the Israelis.
It was, after all, Israel’s leaders who insisted that the nuclear file be addressed first and on its own, and who pushed back hard against any attempt to forge a more comprehensive understanding or grand bargain with Iran (an idea explored over a decade ago in back-channel talks during the term of President Mohammad Khatami). Last summer for instance, when Iran and the West found themselves on the same side against Islamic State (also called ISIS) in Iraq, senior Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz, who was head of the Iran file at the time, noted that Israel had pushed for and received commitments from “the Americans and the British and the French and the Germans—that a total separation will be enforced,” that is, the West would not negotiate with Iran on regional issues until the nuclear question was dealt with. Israel, in other words, demanded that the nuclear file be treated as a standalone issue—the very thing that it now criticizes about the deal.So writes David Levy at Foreign Affairs magazine. The point is that Israel did not want to risk a rapprochement between the United States and Iran, a prospect that could water down Israel's influence in the United States and in the region.
Iran had offered a comprehensive grand bargain to the United States in 2003, in which all outstanding issues would be discussed, including Iran's support for the Palestinians. Indeed, as part of the proffered grand bargain, Iran accepted Saudi Arabia's previous Arab Peace Initiative (2002, renewed 2007), which would have included recognition of Israel in a two-state context. President George W. Bush gave Iran's overture the back of his hand, having branded Iran in 2002 as a member of the Axis of Evil along with Iraq and North Korea. (This was a fine thank-you for Iran's cooperation after the 9/11 attacks.)
Friday, August 14, 2015
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
This month marks the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, President Harry Truman's acts of mass murder against the Japanese in August 1945. Some 90,000-166,000 individuals were killed in Hiroshima on Aug. 6. The Nagasaki bombing on Aug. 9 killed 39,000-80,000 human beings. (It has come to my attention that the U.S. military bombed Tokyo on Aug. 14--after destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki and after Emperor Hirohito expressed his readiness to surrender.)