Tag: Hadley Arkes

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In the wake of Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the Supreme Court held that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is necessarily sex-based, a number of conservative legal thinkers have unsheathed rather sharp swords against Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices, past and present. The arguments vary but generally boil down to dissatisfaction with textualism and […]

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In recent articles (http://brownpelicanla.com/hadley-arkes-the-rediscovery-of-the-born-alive-act/ and by Timothy Jackson of the Federalist http://thefederalist.com/2018/01/23/not-hyperbole-democrats-now-refuse-oppose-infanticide/), Hadley Arkes asks a very simple question of the left (I’m paraphrasing from several of his statements): “Does a woman have a Constitutional right to a dead baby?” Preview Open

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Hadley Arkes in his review of Richard Epstein’s “The Classical Liberal Constitution” in The New Criterion achieves an unlikely triumph. The effect after reading the review is not that I believe one man’s philosophy has bested the other’s, but rather that I can appreciate both men’s philosophies even more. Arkes’s review is the most thorough […]

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Great Man, Great Book: Hadley Arkes and First Things

 

Hadley-ArkesThere are a handful of political/philosophical books that have caused me to re-orient the way I think about the world.

Three examples: Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom clarified the way I think about markets and the ever-expanding bureaucratic state; Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions created a framework for the way I think about the differences between the liberal and conservative minds; and C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man, a brilliant (and short) defense of objective truths, reaffirmed some of my most fondly held beliefs.

Another such book has come into my life, this one dramatically clarifying my thinking about ethics and the first principles of moral and political life. The author is the American moral and legal philosopher Hadley Arkes (pronounced with two syllables), longtime professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts. The book’s title is First Things: An Inquiry Into the First Principles of Morals and Justice (1986). It is a brilliant modern exposition of the “natural rights” philosophy.