Tag: ethics

What I Really Think about Libertarianism


My libertarian friends may be surprised to hear this, but my respect for libertarianism has grown quite a lot since my introduction to Ricochet two years ago. Admittedly, my estimation at the time was pretty low. I had lots of libertarian undergraduates, and I also encountered a handful of professors and grad students with broadly libertarian views, so I was well familiar with that “I’m-conservative-but-not-a-moral-nag” snobbery. That bothered me only a little bit. My real reasons for dismissing libertarians were twofold.

First, libertarianism struck me as reactionary in broad sense. It presents itself as a universally applicable theory about the relationship between the individual to the state, but on that score, I found Ayn Rand far less insightful than Thomas Aquinas, Plato or Aristotle. Her influence, I saw, related to more idiosyncratic conditions of her time: the rise of the administrative state. That was, I supposed, a real problem in our time, but in historical terms it was still contingent; not every society has these same problems. As a political theory, then, it seemed to me that libertarianism drew unjustifiably broad principles on the basis of historically distinctive challenges.

‘Good vs. Evil’ vs. ‘Weak vs. Strong’


As the fight rages between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza, those supporting Israel shake their heads at progressives around the world. How can a movement which boasts of its dedication to tolerance, feminism and LGBT equality endorse a terror state founded on thuggery and theocracy?

Israel is a modern, multicultural nation in a sea of medieval misery. Women can vote, gays can marry, and Arabs can serve in government. Just over the security fence, women are subjugated, gays are lynched, and there isn’t a Jew to be found (unless he has been kidnapped).

The Benefits of Not Giving the Benefit of the Doubt


Teaching children to give others the benefit of the doubt is good parenting. Adults who give their neighbors and co-workers the benefit of the doubt are better citizens and lead happier lives than those who don’t.

Ordinary interaction between people is often subject to misinterpretation. Did that person rudely cut in front of me or did she think I wasn’t in line? Was I given a lousy seat because the hostess didn’t like me or was it a compliment that she thought I could add some life to the table with the dull in-laws? Was my boss intentionally ignoring me when we passed on the sidewalk or did he truly not notice me?

Member Post


Welcome, at last, to the official book discussion of Fr. Robert J. Spitzer’s Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues. I’ll pose a question or two to get us started, but first, I’d like to restate the principles for reference throughout our discussion. Principles of Reason Preview Open

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