The Pons Asinorum of Political-Economic Theory

In many debates of a political or economic nature, I find myself again and again arguing with people on both the left and right who take the consent-vs.-coercion framing of political and economic issues as fundamental. Those on the right tend to take consent as the essentially sufficient condition for an institution to be morally acceptable. Somewhat surprisingly, those on the left accept the same framing of the issue, and just take the other side—arguing that certain institutions are “actually” coercive.

Listen Libertarians! Part IV

In this Part IV, we consider the rather fake “inalienable rights” theory of classical liberal/libertarian thought that is consistent with a civilized voluntary slavery contract, a nondemocratic pact of subjection, and a coverture marriage contract, all of which are outlawed in the advanced democracies.

Listen Libertarians! Part I

This is Part I of a five part review of John Tomasi’s Hayek-Rawls remix in his new book: Free Market Fairness.

Inalienable Rights: Part III A Litmus Test for Liberalism

Surely it is not too much to ask a modern liberal theory of justice that it provide a coherent account of why some contracts, e.g., self-sale contract, should be deemed invalid and why the rights such contracts would legally alienate are inalienable. In that sense, the theory of inalienable rights provides a historical litmus test for liberalism.

The Charter Cities Debate and Democratic Theory

The charter cities debate is great for helping to bring out these non-democratic aspects of classical liberalism and conventional economic theory not to mention right-wing libertarianism.

Inalienable Rights: Part II Intellectual History

Where did the ideas behind the inalienable rights theory emerge in the history of thought?

Inalienable Rights: Part I The Basic Argument

What is the inalienable rights theory that descends from the Reformation through the Enlightenment and that answers the classical apologies for slavery and autocracy based on implicit or explicit voluntary contracts?