Some Weekend Quotations-Men Of Systems

‘The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board.’

-Smith, Adam. Part VI-Of The Character Of Virtue“. The Theory Of Moral Sentiments. 

A brief introduction to Adam Smith’s ‘Theory Of Moral Sentiments’

Beware the men of systems, moralizers, rationalists, idealists and utopians:


As previously posted: Steven Poole at Aeon: ‘We Are More Rational Than Those Who Nudge Us.’

‘And so there is less reason than many think to doubt humans’ ability to be reasonable. The dissenting critiques of the cognitive-bias literature argue that people are not, in fact, as individually irrational as the present cultural climate assumes. And proponents of debiasing argue that we can each become more rational with practice. But even if we each acted as irrationally as often as the most pessimistic picture implies, that would be no cause to flatten democratic deliberation into the weighted engineering of consumer choices, as nudge politics seeks to do’

A 20th century address of such problems:

‘But my object is not to refute Rationalism: its errors are interesting only in so far as they reveal its character.  We are considering not merely the truth of a doctrine, but the significance of an intellectual fashion in the history of post-Renaissance Europe. And the questions we must try to answer are: What is the generation of this belief in the sovereignty of technique? When springs this supreme confidence in human ‘reason’ thus interpreted? What is the provenance, the context of this intellectual character?  And in what circumstances and with what effect did it come to invade European politics?’

Oakeshott, Michael. Rationalism In Politics“. Rationalism In Politics And Other Essays. Liberty Fund, 1991. Print. (Pg 17).

Related On This Site: Cass Sunstein’s got to create some space between the Bloomberg backlash and the totalitarians on the Left: Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It

I’ve got enough friends, thanks: Repost-Cass Sunstein At The New Republic: ‘Why Paternalism Is Your Friend’

Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes: Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge

New liberty away from Hobbes…toward Hayek…but can you see Locke from there?: Repost-From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’

Update And Repost-From The Spiked Review Of Books: ‘Delving Into The Mind Of The Technocrat’

Full piece here.

Our author, Daniel Ben-Ami, makes some good points while reviewing Robert Frank’s the Darwin Economy. Here are some quotes from the Princeton Press page on the book (found at the link):

‘The good news is that we have the ability to tame the Darwin economy. The best solution is not to prohibit harmful behaviors but to tax them. By doing so, we could make the economic pie larger, eliminate government debt, and provide better public services, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. That’s a bold claim, Frank concedes, but it follows directly from logic and evidence that most people already accept.’

It’s good to know there are people arguing for such a collectivist moral and political philosophy out of the Origin Of Species and Darwin’s theories of natural selection. Of course, this view requires our betters to gently steer the Ship Of State through the stormy seas of human irrationality, manipulating its levers of taxation wisely, with only the stars of reason, Darwinian group selection, and the dismal science as their guides.

Ben-Ami invokes the fact/value distinction:

‘Students have long been taught that economics is a ‘positive science’ – one based on facts rather than values. Politicians are entitled to their preferences, so the argument went, but economists are supposed to give them impartial advice based on an objective examination of the facts.’

Well, if we do use the fact/value distinction, we should acknowledge that all economists (e.g. Milton Friedman) would fall short of achieving factual knowledge on this view….but point taken.  There is a deeper debate about where to ground our knowledge and what it is that we know.  Economics and potentially unfalsifiable theories are here presented as knowledge upon which to organize all of our lives.   Ben-Ami goes on:

The focus of The Darwin Economy is to work out how best to resolve such conflicts. To do so, he turns to an influential approach developed by Ronald Coase, a Nobel laureate in economics based at the University of Chicago in the late 1950s. His concern was to find a pragmatic way to resolve conflicts rather than having to rely on moral principles

To illustrate his argument, Coase gave the example of a confectioner who had used his business premises for many years. A doctor moved in to occupy the neighbouring property and the confectioner’s machinery did him no harm till he built a consulting room at the end of the garden, next to the confectioner’s premises. The noise and vibration of the machinery began to disturb the doctor’s work.

Coase then made the following assumptions:

  • If the doctor did nothing it would cost his surgery $20,000 in damage;
  • If he moved to a different location it would cost him $10,000;
  • The factory owner could eliminate the noise by installing soundproofing at a cost of $5,000;
  • The costs for the two to negotiate were minimal.

From these premises, it is clear that the two sides should be able to negotiate an agreement with each other for the installation of soundproofing. This is the case even if the government does not make the factory owner responsible for noise damage.

Why not just use the power of taxation to nudge people where you want them to go…if you already happen to know what is rationally in their best interest (or the common interest) anyways? Individuals come into conflict with each other while pursuing their own rational self-interest, and eventually many use the State to resolve their conflicts (property disputes, tort law etc), so why not just head them off at the pass?

Why not make this the knowledge which justifies the authority which oversees your life choices?

Why not grant such ideas, and the people implementing such ideas, power?

And if you’re worried about your freedom?:

”To those who believe that such measures can lead to the denial of individual freedom, Frank enlists an unlikely ally: John Stuart Mill. The nineteenth-century British philosopher is normally seen as the arch proponent of liberty, but Frank turns him into its opposite. Mill supported the maximum possible freedom for individuals with the important caveat that they should not be able to harm others. For instance, I should be free to criticise individuals as harshly as I like but I should not have the right to punch them in the face. Frank extends the harm principle to cover more or less any behaviour that could be deemed harmful. His argument is not that harmful behaviour should always be banned, but government should in many cases impose extra taxes to make it more expensive.’

J.S. Mill’s harm principle is being used to rectify the harm done to individuals by the State through the laws by wielding that State power rationally.  If an individual lives downwind of say, a smelting plant, and comes to develop a disease he thinks can be proven to have been caused by the plant’s activities, he might be able to file suit.  This of course, may be proper legal recourse, but is also used to defend global warming, as virtually any industrial activity can be held legally and morally responsible for causing harm to the individual on this view (acid rain, climate change, rising sea levels, poorer air quality etc).  Scientism abounds amidst deep thinking and actual science.

——————————————————–

I don’t know if the below quote by Jerry Pournelle is true in all cases, but it highlights the problem technocrats never talk much about:  Human fallibility…institutional incentives, and how things so often look in practice beneath the latest theories of knowledge:

The Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

‘Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:

 First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization’

Steven Poole at Aeon: ‘We Are More Rational Than Those Who Nudge Us.’

‘And so there is less reason than many think to doubt humans’ ability to be reasonable. The dissenting critiques of the cognitive-bias literature argue that people are not, in fact, as individually irrational as the present cultural climate assumes. And proponents of debiasing argue that we can each become more rational with practice. But even if we each acted as irrationally as often as the most pessimistic picture implies, that would be no cause to flatten democratic deliberation into the weighted engineering of consumer choices, as nudge politics seeks to do’

Taxing soda in Seattle schools has unintended consequences.  It’s not just taxation, it’s banning happy meals altogether.

Related On This Site:  Sunstein’s got to create some space between the Bloomberg backlash and the totalitarians on the Left: Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It

I’ve got enough friends, thanks: Repost-Cass Sunstein At The New Republic: ‘Why Paternalism Is Your Friend’

Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge

New liberty away from Hobbes…toward Hayek…but can you see Locke from there?: Repost-From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’

Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

Leo Strauss argued there is great danger in this approach, i.e. the problems of Europe.  Political science, the social sciences, economics and the explanatory power of these products of reason and rationalism could increasingly form the epistemological foundation for explaining the world, people’s interior lives, how we ought to live and what we ought to do.  This includes where our rights come from and who should be in charge:  Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

 

Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge

Steven Poole at Aeon: ‘We Are More Rational Than Those Who Nudge Us.’

‘And so there is less reason than many think to doubt humans’ ability to be reasonable. The dissenting critiques of the cognitive-bias literature argue that people are not, in fact, as individually irrational as the present cultural climate assumes. And proponents of debiasing argue that we can each become more rational with practice. But even if we each acted as irrationally as often as the most pessimistic picture implies, that would be no cause to flatten democratic deliberation into the weighted engineering of consumer choices, as nudge politics seeks to do’

You’ve got to learn how to see these things coming, and use your reason:

For some, I’m guessing behavioral economics has proved an alluring form of knowledge to favor existing political philosophies, formulate legal theories, and yes, to further Leftist and liberal political ideology (not all, of course, and not overtly).

After all, if previous economic models assume you, as an individual, behave rationally in making economic choices in your own self-interest and thus leave you alone in important ways, this is much less appealing than claiming that you behave sometimes irrationally in predictable ways, possibly on the level of cognitive science, and well what a wonderful opportunity for some people to step-in and make sense of this new knowledge for you and control your life.

Lately, whenever I see a scientific claim out in the media, however banal or possibly well or ill-founded, I keep in mind the bands of wandering post-Enlightenment ideologues who seek to attach their ideological, emotional and political commitments to the sciences.  Just as healthcare and education stir deep sympathies and present difficult moral, practical and institutional challenges for all of us, these fields tend to attract those who already have enough knowledge to run your life for you. or ‘just want to help’.

That’s often not really about the sciences.

And if such ideas are used to justify increasing intrusion into your life, it’s probably not really about being liberal, either.

—————

Related On This Site:  Sunstein’s got to create some space between the Bloomberg backlash and the totalitarians on the Left: Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It

I’ve got enough friends, thanks: Repost-Cass Sunstein At The New Republic: ‘Why Paternalism Is Your Friend’

Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge

New liberty away from Hobbes…toward Hayek…but can you see Locke from there?: Repost-From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’

Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

Leo Strauss argued there is great danger in this approach, i.e. the problems of Europe.  Political science, the social sciences, economics and the explanatory power of these products of reason and rationalism could increasingly form the epistemological foundation for explaining the world, people’s interior lives, how we ought to live and what we ought to do.  This includes where our rights come from and who should be in charge:  Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

Repost-Cass Sunstein At The New Republic: ‘Why Paternalism Is Your Friend’

Full piece here.

Some information about the new behavioral economics.

He’s attempting to clarify his position:

‘We should immediately distinguish between paternalism about means and paternalism about ends. Means paternalism is like a GPS. You can ignore what the GPS says and try your own route, but if you do so, there is a serious risk that you will get lost. To return to the fuel efficiency example: means paternalists would steer consumers in the direction of considering all relevant costs at the time of purchase, certainly by providing relevant information, and if a fuel economy mandate would help consumers on balance, they would be willing to consider it’

‘Means’ paternalists just want to give you information, according to Sunstein, and want public officials to have that information so that they can make the most well-informed decisions possible.  They want to nag you.  ‘Ends’ paternalists want to morally improve you to their own vaunted status, and want to control you.

So imagine yourself at home when the doorbell rings.  A couple of Jehovah’s witnesses are standing there, bright-eyed.  They’re not just telling you there’s ‘serious risk that you will get lost.‘  They’re telling you that you’re already lost, that you’ve always been lost, and that you were born lost.  Jesus is your GPS.  You tell them you’re not interested, and because you didn’t bite, they’ll eventually walk off to the next house.  You may breath a sigh of relief that we don’t have any specific religious test for office.

Proselytizers are often ‘ends’ people, and there’s that familiar realization during the course of a conversation that you are a means to some other end, however earnest and faithful its practitioners appear to be.

So, now you open your door, and there’s Cass Sunstein, telling you he’s a ‘means’ paternalist, appealing to you directly, as a consumer.  You need a GPS with the latest behavioral economics software.  The more information you have, the better your choices are likely to be.  There’s a whole new field of knowledge that can change your life.  Did you know that you often make bad decisions, and the same bad decisions again and again?  You may not even be aware of it, but you’re constantly being steered into bad decisions already.  Our brains may even be wired that way. No, it’s not false consciousness, but you really should become aware of just how unreasonable our decisions can be.

As he goes on talking, he does state that perhaps you’ll need a push from time to time, from a paternal figure, so as not to get lost.   He’s already spoken with your boss, the city fathers, and many politicians and bureaucrats.   The information is that important.

Now he may support, depending on the circumstances, legislation that would mandate the car lot to provide that information for you.  Perhaps you imagine this could even include something like the ‘Bureau Of Relevant Cost Information.’  He’s clearly a top-down kind of guy.

Sure, you’ll probably pick up those costs in slightly higher prices, but you might save that money in the long run by having made a better choice.

‘No one should deny that freedom of choice is a central part of a good life. Paternalism can be a serious mistake, especially if it eliminates that form of freedom and overrides people’s judgments about their own ends. Education, warnings, and other nudges usually have big advantages over mandates and bans, precisely because they allow people to go their own way. But legitimate concerns about illegitimate paternalism should not be allowed to prevent officials from seeking to identify the best ways to improve people’s lives, even if they end up influencing people’s choices.’

Well, maybe Sunstein isn’t so concerned about stopping by your house at all.  He goes to the people who ‘matter.’

I suspect my objection to Sunstein’s thinking is that there are already ‘ends’ within behavioral economics itself, namely the end of establishing laws that not only explain how your mind works, but presumably how all of our minds as we make certain kinds of choices.  Are these scientific laws?  No, probably not.

Are these laws universal, and thus true for everyone, everywhere, all the time?  No, probably not.

I find myself looking for a libertarian under all the layers of paternalism, rationalism, top-down control and so much faith in the latest products of reason.

If you have any thoughts and comments, or insights about those empirical claims, let me know.  Feel free to highlight my ignorance.

Related On This Site:  Sunstein’s got to create some space between the Bloomberg backlash and the totalitarians on the Left: Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It

Kant is a major influence on libertarians, from Ayn Rand’s Objectivism to Robert Nozick’s ‘night-watchman’ state:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…Link To An Ayn Rand Paper: The Objectivist Attack On KantRepost-Youtube Via Libertarianism.Org-David Friedman: ‘The Machinery Of Freedom’…Anarcho-capitalism:  Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader

Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge

New liberty away from Hobbes…toward Hayek…but can you see Locke from there?: Repost-From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’

Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Sheldon Richman At Reason: ‘Classical Liberalism Vs. Modern Liberalism’

Leo Strauss argued there is great danger in this approach, i.e. the problems of Europe.  Political science, the social sciences, economics and the explanatory power of these products of reason and rationalism could increasingly form the epistemological foundation for explaining the world, people’s interior lives, how we ought to live and what we ought to do.  This includes where our rights come from and who should be in charge:  Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

How does Natural Law Philosophy deal with these problems, and those of knowledge?

Anthony Randazzo At Reason’s Hit And Run: ‘The Case Against Libertarian Paternalism’

Full piece here.

Randazzo links to Mark White’s book on the subject.

Randazzo:

‘Practically speaking, therefore, nudges can’t do what they are intended for—to design a system to help individuals overcome cognitive biases make choices in their best interests—because economists and policymakers can’t understand the full range of motives that determine “best interest” when picking a retirement planning strategy to consuming a sugary beverage. Instead of helping people overcome cognitive weaknesses, policy makers are just nudging people towards the interests that policy makers prefer. “Libertarian” or not, paternalism is paternalism.’

Expect more from rationalism and perhaps even behavioral economics, however, when used to justify State power by paternalists, or at least as a moral source for law, lawmaking, and public policy.

It’s not just knowledge, but knowledge enough to ‘nudge’ other people.  That’s very appealing to some people.

Taxing soda in Seattle schools has unintended consequences.  It’s not just taxation, it’s banning happy meals altogether.

Related On This Site: I’ve got enough friends, thanks: Cass Sunstein At The New Republic: ‘Why Paternalism Is Your Friend’

Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It

Sheldon Richman At Reason: ‘Classical Liberalism Vs. Modern Liberalism’

Repost-From The Spiked Review Of Books: ‘Delving Into The Mind Of The Technocrat’

Cass Sunstein At The New Republic: ‘Why Paternalism Is Your Friend’

Full piece here.

Some information about the new behavioral economics.

He’s attempting to clarify his position:

‘We should immediately distinguish between paternalism about means and paternalism about ends. Means paternalism is like a GPS. You can ignore what the GPS says and try your own route, but if you do so, there is a serious risk that you will get lost. To return to the fuel efficiency example: means paternalists would steer consumers in the direction of considering all relevant costs at the time of purchase, certainly by providing relevant information, and if a fuel economy mandate would help consumers on balance, they would be willing to consider it’

‘Means’ paternalists just want to give you information, according to Sunstein, and want public officials to have that information so that they can make the most well-informed decisions possible.  They want to nag you.  ‘Ends’ paternalists want to morally improve you to their own vaunted status, and want to control you.

So imagine yourself at home when the doorbell rings.  A couple of Jehovah’s witnesses are standing there, bright-eyed.  They’re not just telling you there’s ‘serious risk that you will get lost.‘  They’re telling you that you’re already lost, that you’ve always been lost, and that you were born lost.  Jesus is your GPS.  You tell them you’re not interested, and because you didn’t bite, they’ll eventually walk off to the next house.  You may breath a sigh of relief that we don’t have any specific religious test for office.

Proselytizers are often ‘ends’ people, and there’s that familiar realization during the course of a conversation that you are a means to some other end, however earnest and faithful its practitioners appear to be.

So, now you open your door, and there’s Cass Sunstein, telling you he’s a ‘means’ paternalist, appealing to you directly, as a consumer.  You need a GPS with the latest behavioral economics software.  The more information you have, the better your choices are likely to be.  There’s a whole new field of knowledge that can change your life.  Did you know that you often make bad decisions, and the same bad decisions again and again?  You may not even be aware of it, but you’re constantly being steered into bad decisions already.  Our brains may even be wired that way. No, it’s not false consciousness, but you really should become aware of just how unreasonable our decisions can be.

As he goes on talking, he does state that perhaps you’ll need a push from time to time, from a paternal figure, so as not to get lost.   He’s already spoken with your boss, the city fathers, and many politicians and bureaucrats.   The information is that important.

Now he may support, depending on the circumstances, legislation that would mandate the car lot to provide that information for you.  Perhaps you imagine this could even include something like the ‘Bureau Of Relevant Cost Information.’  He’s clearly a top-down kind of guy.

Sure, you’ll probably pick up those costs in slightly higher prices, but you might save that money in the long run by having made a better choice.

‘No one should deny that freedom of choice is a central part of a good life. Paternalism can be a serious mistake, especially if it eliminates that form of freedom and overrides people’s judgments about their own ends. Education, warnings, and other nudges usually have big advantages over mandates and bans, precisely because they allow people to go their own way. But legitimate concerns about illegitimate paternalism should not be allowed to prevent officials from seeking to identify the best ways to improve people’s lives, even if they end up influencing people’s choices.’

Well, maybe Sunstein isn’t so concerned about stopping by your house at all.  He goes to the people who ‘matter.’

I suspect my objection to Sunstein’s thinking is that there are already ‘ends’ within behavioral economics itself, namely the end of establishing laws that not only explain how your mind works, but presumably how all of our minds as we make certain kinds of choices.  Are these scientific laws?  No, probably not.

Are these laws universal, and thus true for everyone, everywhere, all the time?  No, probably not.

I find myself looking for a libertarian under all the layers of paternalism, rationalism, top-down control and so much faith in the latest products of reason.

If you have any thoughts and comments, or insights about those empirical claims, let me know.  Feel free to highlight my ignorance.

Related On This Site:  Sunstein’s got to create some space between the Bloomberg backlash and the totalitarians on the Left: Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It

Kant is a major influence on libertarians, from Ayn Rand’s Objectivism to Robert Nozick’s ‘night-watchman’ state:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”…Link To An Ayn Rand Paper: The Objectivist Attack On KantRepost-Youtube Via Libertarianism.Org-David Friedman: ‘The Machinery Of Freedom’…Anarcho-capitalism:  Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader

Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of Knowledge

New liberty away from Hobbes…toward Hayek…but can you see Locke from there?: Repost-From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’

Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Sheldon Richman At Reason: ‘Classical Liberalism Vs. Modern Liberalism’

Leo Strauss argued there is great danger in this approach, i.e. the problems of Europe.  Political science, the social sciences, economics and the explanatory power of these products of reason and rationalism could increasingly form the epistemological foundation for explaining the world, people’s interior lives, how we ought to live and what we ought to do.  This includes where our rights come from and who should be in charge:  Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

How does Natural Law Philosophy deal with these problems, and those of knowledge?

Daddy’s Gonna Make You Do It

Nick Gillespie’s piece at Reason here: ‘3 Cheers for Coercive Paternalism – Or, Why Rich, Elected Officials Really are Better than You’

Where did Mayor Bloomberg get his ideas?

A few ticks left of ‘Libertarian Paternalism,’ Gillespie links to Sarah Conly’s piece at the NY Times: ‘Three Cheers For the Nanny State‘ expanding upon her book ‘Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism.’

‘Coercive Paternalism’ has a nice ring to it. Continue reading