Sorry, Damon, International Laws Are Laws

My friend Damon Linker has a new piece for The Week arguing that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice cannot be war criminals, because the laws they are accused of violating are merely "international law," which is no law at all: [I]t's inaccurate to describe these rules and regulations as laws. They are, … Continue reading Sorry, Damon, International Laws Are Laws

Affirmative Action: Unequal Protection?

The Economist has come out against race-based affirmative action in the United States, a surprising (to me) move given the magazine's socially left-of-center outlook (e.g., for legalizing drugs and banning handguns). Indeed, the way in which affirmative action as currently practiced discriminates against Asians even more than against whites is difficult to justify. (I argued … Continue reading Affirmative Action: Unequal Protection?

A good answer to Landsburg’s excellent question

David Friedman provides what I think is the best answer to Landsburg's provocative question. I think I have now answered Steve Landsburg's puzzle. The difference between his example (or mine) of an action that imposes only subjective costs and his example of an activity such as reading pornography, or Bork's of using contraception, that imposes … Continue reading A good answer to Landsburg’s excellent question

Justice and sentencing

My Twitter feed has been filled with Americans and others expressing outrage about a Saudi court's sentencing a man to be paralyzed from the waist down. He had stabbed a man in the back, paralyzing him. I'm not going to defend or oppose the sentence, but I am going to defend a principle here: the … Continue reading Justice and sentencing

Income Inequality Doesn’t Matter

Roger Koppl argues this week at ThinkMarkets that “Income inequality matters.” He thinks it matters so much that he says it twice. He believes “Austrian,” pro-market, economic liberals should be speaking up more on this “central issue.” I think Koppl could not be more wrong. The issue deserves all the inattention we can muster for … Continue reading Income Inequality Doesn’t Matter

In which everyone decides I’m heartless and insensitive

Several of my progressive Facebook friends posted about Gabrielle Giffords’ testimony before Congress about gun legislation, editorializing that we/they should pay close attention because of her personal experience as a victim of violence. Now, I understand why some criminal courts allow victim-impact statements: before deciding what sort of punishment should be meted out, it’s relevant … Continue reading In which everyone decides I’m heartless and insensitive

President Obama’s Immigration Enforcement Decision: Good Policy but Illegal?

Several commentators have weighed in on President Obama's decision to stop deporting certain immigrants under 30 who were brought illegally to the country when they were under 16. This morning, Andrew Napolitano and Ilya Somin have come down firmly on opposite sides of this issue. Napolitano: Along comes the president, and he has decided that … Continue reading President Obama’s Immigration Enforcement Decision: Good Policy but Illegal?