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?
Over at Reason, Stephanie Slade has a nice, thoughtful piece on whether watching football - providing the NFL and college football programs with revenue - is unethical, given the immense harms to players through traumatic brain injuries and the diseases they cause. A selection: A person can believe an action is wrong even if she … Continue reading Is Watching Football Unethical?
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
Jason Brennan touts the case against voting on the Princeton University Press blog: There’s nothing morally wrong with being ignorant about politics, or with forming your political beliefs though an irrational thought processes—so long as you don’t vote. As soon as you step in the voting booth, you acquire a duty to know what you’re … Continue reading Shame on You, Voter
Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi have a thought-provoking piece entitled, "A Bleeding Heart History of Libertarianism," in the latest Cato Unbound. They criticize postwar libertarians (specifically mentioning Mises, Rand, and Rothbard) for seeing property rights as absolute and, in their view, regarding the welfare of the working poor as irrelevant to moral justifications for capitalism: … Continue reading “Neoclassical Liberalism,” Property Rights, and Capitalism
So let's take some examples of things one could do for the benefit of the environment: eating less meat; polluting less by, e.g., driving less; propagating native species and destroying invasive species; reducing, reusing, and recycling; not littering; not spraying pesticides. Assume for the sake of argument that we will all benefit if everyone did these things. Do we then have a duty to do them? Would it be wrong not to do them?
Arnold Kling at EconLog echoes my skepticism a few days ago about predatory lending. This is from his post on the proposed financial reform legislation: Finally--and this will get me in big trouble--I have to rant about the notion of a consumer financial protection agency. I know that it's axiomatic that poor people are helpless … Continue reading Kling on Predatory Lending
Moral philosophy makes progress by tracing first-order arguments about justice back to their atomic particles, the basic principles on which they are based. By its proper standard, moral philosophy has actually made great strides over the centuries.