Reparations Revisited

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post arguing that Nozickian libertarianism entails reparations.* The reparations in question follow from Nozick’s “principle of compensation,” which offers compensation for what Nozick calls “preventive restraints,” that is, coercive restrictions on individuals imposed in order to lessen the risk that they will violate others’ rights. So-called Terry stops are a paradigmatic example of a preventive restraint in Nozick’s sense (I argued), so that those on the receiving end of them would on Nozick’s view be owed compensation. If we assume (ex hypothesi, but still plausibly) that young black men (or black people generally) are disproportionately on the receiving end of preventive restraints, then young black men (or blacks generally) would disproportionately receive Nozickian compensation. That compensation, I suggested, is a form of what’s commonly called “reparations.” Continue reading

Baby, No More Times

I’m inclined to rant today. As readers have probably figured out, that doesn’t really differentiate today from any other day, but still.

Today’s rant is about Catholic education. Let me preface it by saying that I like Catholic education. I got my Ph.D. at Notre Dame. I’ve spent the last twelve years teaching at a Catholic-Franciscan university, “The Franciscan University of New Jersey,” no less. I just got a paper accepted at a conference at Sacred Heart University on the “Catholic intellectual tradition” wherein I defend the pedagogical legacy of Cardinal Newman. I teach the Catechism of the Catholic Church in my ethics classes. Some of my best friends are members of the Knights of Columbus.  Continue reading

I Pity the Fool

One thing which is suggested by the letters themselves is that Locke’s courtship was not rewarded as he hoped. “P.E.” welcomed love, but of a different sort from that which Locke offered her. She wanted a rarefied spiritual love. Locke was more ardent. He protested first with sadness and later with bitterness that her love was too cold. …

In another letter he assured “P.E.” that she was right in thinking he wished to come back to Oxford for the sake of people there; but he said she was wrong in putting her name after that of another person. However, he asked her to increase as much as she could that other person’s friendship for him. This other person was named in the letter as “Mr. T” and Locke was a little jealous of him. He told “P.E.” he could not believe that the new friendship between her and “Mr. T” would ruin their friendship, but it looks as if he was afraid that it might.

–Maurice Cranston, John Locke: A Biography, p. 48.

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Obey Your Master: A Visit with Narcotics Anonymous

About a year ago, I attended a meeting of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) as part of an assignment for a class on addictions counseling I’d been taking in the Master’s in Counseling Program at Felician University.[1] Struck by the philosophical richness of what I’d encountered at the meeting, I thought I’d reproduce a version of my report on it here in case readers found it of any interest. In the interests of preserving the confidentiality of the group’s members, I’ve omitted any identifying features of the meeting with respect to time, place, and the identity of those present, describing the event only in the most general way. My aim here is to reflect on matters of general principle, not to dwell on the particulars of anyone’s life. Continue reading

Frivolous, Malcontent Scholar Reads an Obituary Over Coffee

Soon after Abu Bakr Baghdadi was killed by American forces back in October, a lot of “woke” people, including some of my FB friends, took to Facebook and just about everywhere else to voice their outrage over the fact that The Washington Post had described Baghdadi, in their obituary of him, as an “austere scholar.” Boy, had the Post lost its way. Just sick. Continue reading

The More You Suppress Him, the Larger He Get

I have in the past criticized the U.S. government’s decision to bar Tariq Ramadan’s entry into this country on ideological grounds (26 page PDF). This isn’t because I have any admiration for Ramadan, to put it mildly, but because I don’t think that decisions to allow entry into a country should be made on ideological grounds. Genuine security concerns are one thing; ideological objections are another. The distinction isn’t that hard to draw, and shouldn’t be that hard to respect. In Ramadan’s case, we neither drew nor respected it. We managed in the process to make a martyr of him and take a crap on our own principles. Continue reading

Find Your Way Back: Confessions of a (Seriously) Confused Ex-Libertarian

I don’t consider myself a libertarian any more, and am not sure I ever was one in a wholehearted way, but I can say this much: once upon a time, I held a more clearly libertarian position about politics than I currently do. I heard a story on NPR yesterday that reminded me of a puzzle that my libertarian commitments generated (in combination with some of the commitments that I took to cohere with it), but that I never ended up resolving. Maybe some reader can resolve the puzzle and tell me where I went wrong. Continue reading

Reason Papers Vol. 41:1 Is Out

The latest issue of Reason Papers–the first issue edited by Shawn Klein (Arizona State University)–is now out. This issue contains (among other things) the long-awaited symposium on Vicente’s Medina’s Terrorism Unjustified, based on an Author-Meets-Critics session held at Felician University in April 2018. Thanks to everyone who worked on the issue, and especially to Shawn, for the work they put into it. Incidentally, though there isn’t one in this issue, the journal often runs a “Discussion Notes” section for responses to material in previous issues. So if you feel inclined to respond to anything you read here, send something along to Shawn via the journal.

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