Author Archive | Roderick

War Spin

I’m a fan of Donald Kagan’s four-volume study (1, 2, 3, 4) of the Peloponnesian War, which includes some important information you won’t get from Thucydides and Xenophon, as well as a relief from their anti-democratic bias. Anyone with a interest in Greek history will read it with profit.

Unfortunately, along with Kagan’s appreciation for Athens’ democratic institutions (for my own defense of which see here and here) comes a tendency to gloss over or justify Athens’ imperialist foreign policy. I haven’t read Kagan’s condensed one-volume version, but this review of it strikes me as a fair assessment of that aspect of the longer version too. Kagan is right, of course, that Sparta was not the innocent victim that Thucydides sometimes suggests. But Kagan leans too far in the other direction. (It’s no coincidence that Kagan is also one of the signatories of this neocon screed.)

One thing I think Hans Hoppe is right about is that domestically liberal societies often tend to have aggressive foreign policies simply because economic freedom makes them wealthy enough to afford such policies. (I actually said this before I read Hoppe, here for example.) Athens seems like a good example of this phenomenon.


JLS 21.2: What Lies Within?

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

Journal of Libertarian Studies The latest issue (21.2) of the Journal of Libertarian Studies features James R. Edwards on the advantages of private charity over government welfare; Brian Smith on the implications of Tocqueville’s ideas for the prospects of free-market anarchy in a democratic culture; Raymond J. Krohn on the contrast between the genuine libertarianism of Lysander Spooner and the pseudo-libertarianism of the Jacksonian Democrats; Laurence Vance on the federalist case for the Kelo decision; David Gold on the origins of laissez-faire constitutionalism in resistance to pro-business legislation; Dan D’Amico on Alex Tabarrok’s anthology on private prisons; and Norbert Lennartz on Michael van Notten’s and Spencer MacCallum’s defense of Somali customary law.

Read a fuller summary of 21.2’s contents here.

Read summaries of previous issues under my editorship here.

Read back issues online here.

Subscribe here.


R.I.P. Madeleine L’Engle

One of my favourite authors from childhood has died. I learned about the fourth dimension from A Wrinkle in Time, and was haunted by The Arm of the Starfish.


Nyaya Ayn

Ayn Rand at 100 [cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

My article “Ayn Rand and Indian Philosophy” appeared last year in the anthology Ayn Rand at 100 published by the Liberty Institute in Delhi, India. Unfortunately, the version of my article that was printed was filled with editorial errors – changes that affected my meaning, misattributions of quotations, and so forth. So I’ve put a corrected version online.

(For some thoughtful and judicious commentary on my article from a young Indian Randian with the unassuming name of Ergo, see here. I expect an even more incisive analysis after he actually reads it.)


Anthologies Abound

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

Mickey Mouse consulting a large book Can’t remember if I announced this before, but information about the anarchy/minarchy anthology I co-edited with Tibor Machan is available here. As you’ll see, the book is coming out in February, is pricier than I’d like, and contains contributions from many familiar comrades, including Aeon Skoble, Charles Johnson, John Hasnas, Lester Hunt, Jan Narveson, and your humble correspondent.

Just be thankful it’s not as pricey as this book that Fred Miller and Carrie-Ann Biondi edited on the history of philosophy of law, which has two articles by me, one on the Socratics and one on the Hellenistics.


Unto Him Who Hath

Just yesterday I posted an interview in which I said:

You have things like taxes and regulations and licensing fees and zoning regulations and various things that make it easy – the richer you are, the easier it is for you to start up a business because you can afford the lawyers to pay and the fees to jump through all these hoops and so forth. I mean, for example, there are a lot of places where a license to operate a taxi cab costs $100,000, which the average poor person doesn’t have lying around. I mean, a taxi service would be an excellent service for someone to start out with if they don’t have a lot of money because it doesn’t require a lot of capital up front. All you need is a car and a cell phone to start off with if you want a small taxi company – things like that.

Now today’s LRC brings yet another example of how government uses taxi regulations to shaft the poor and benefit the rich.

The government’s meter is always running ….


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