3 Responses to Blast from the Past: 21 Years Ago

  1. Irfan Khawaja May 3, 2018 at 11:44 am #

    The real punk is that guy who opens the Q&A. What’s with the hair? And that outfit? And the question?

    I don’t remember attending this, but there I am.

  2. dL May 10, 2018 at 1:04 am #

    (i) Twenty years later and still no one can figure out what the heck Bryan Caplan was asking in the Q&A….

    (ii) RE: Levy and Group Rights. Not being able to able to point to a rights violation before the occurrence of a rights violation does not preclude one from making a prediction of a rights violation. Making predictions is the big part of the scientific method, social sciences included. And, frankly, Levy is a lousy predictor. Whatever “group rights” conception he operates by, it’s fatally flawed. He was dead wrong on the Iraq war, the war on terror, and of we go by the metrics typically used by Cato and The Niskanen Center to measure “freedom.” Mumbai as well.

    (iii) Class Theory
    Here’s how I might sum up the topic circa 1997. The methodological individualism of government actors expounded by the modern classic liberals cannot account for the 19th century liberal conception of class(e.g, the modern classical liberals insist there is no such thing as “the state.”). Is this a scientific advancement or a major methodological flaw? Perhaps an open question back in 1997. Not so much today, a generation into the 9-11 political economy. Today, it’s obvious that it is a serious methodological flaw.

    Once the methodological individualism of the modern classic liberals is jettisoned, where do you go next? Do you reach back to the old masters(with updates from the likes of a de Jasay or a Giorgio Agamben) or do you slither sideways into some type of Rawlsian social justice redistribution scheme? The criticism of going old school is that you may be right, but you will likely accomplish nothing. The criticism of the social justice schemes is that you will invariably sell out the most marginalized in the name of social justice for the marginalized.

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