Should the U.S. Recognize Catalonia If It Secedes from Spain?

Over at Learn Liberty, I take up the question of what the rest of the world should do if Catalonia's referendum on independence on October 1 succeeds, as is expected. I apply some straightforward assumptions about justice and individual freedom to the case. Secession is hard because it always involves violating some people's rights -- … Continue reading Should the U.S. Recognize Catalonia If It Secedes from Spain?

Immanuel Kant, Philosopher of Freedom

My latest Learn Liberty blog post is on the topic above and can be found here. Excerpt: Kant’s moral philosophy justifies extremely strong individual rights against coercion. The only justification for coercion in his philosophy seems to be defense of self or others. His ideal government therefore seems to be extremely limited and to allow … Continue reading Immanuel Kant, Philosopher of Freedom

Partisan Politics Makes Smart People Stupid

I've started a new blogging gig at Learn Liberty, a project of the Institute for Humane Studies. I'll be putting links to these posts here. My posts there will have the benefit of an editor, which is probably something I need. The first is on partisan rationalization and why epistocracy may not save us after … Continue reading Partisan Politics Makes Smart People Stupid

Talking with High School Students About Open Borders

New at e3ne.org, I discuss my conversations with high school students about the moral legitimacy of border restrictions: We started our discussion with a little bit of improv theatre. I played a foreigner trying to get into the United States without documentation. Students volunteered to play a border guard trying to keep me out. Between … Continue reading Talking with High School Students About Open Borders

Is the U.S. Government Illegitimate?

How can one group of human beings come to enjoy a right to enforce its authoritative commands on other human beings? In other words, how does government come to enjoy a right to rule, and how do citizens come to incur a duty to obey? I consider the answer over at e3ne.org. The reasoning depends … Continue reading Is the U.S. Government Illegitimate?

Mill on Paternalism

I have a "nutshell" summary and critique of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty now up at e3ne.org. Excerpt: Mill thus defends freedom of conscience, speech, and lifestyle on completely “practical” grounds, but he leaves some significant loose ends in On Liberty. For instance, there are lots of examples of “harms” that the government shouldn’t regulate, … Continue reading Mill on Paternalism

Legal Regimes for Secession: Applying Moral Theory and Empirical Findings

My paper on the political philosophy of secession is now out in Public Affairs Quarterly, an open-access journal. Read it here. Teaser: The United Kingdom currently sets the gold standard for management of secessionist politics. The British and Scottish governments negotiated in good faith over the terms of the independence referendum that Scotland held on … Continue reading Legal Regimes for Secession: Applying Moral Theory and Empirical Findings