Libertarianism and Classical Liberalism: Is There a Difference?

by Mario Rizzo I consider myself both a libertarian and a classical liberal. I have been teaching a seminar in classical liberalism at the NYU Law School for six semesters. I am always asked about the difference.  My answer is basically this. Classical liberalism is the philosophy of political liberty from the perspective of a … Continue reading Libertarianism and Classical Liberalism: Is There a Difference?

Let Wedding Cake Bakers Discriminate in Peace

By Mario Rizzo “A Colorado judge says a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs, a ruling that a civil rights group hailed as a victory for gay rights.” Fox News 12/06/2013 Friedrich Hayek argues in his famous essay “Why I am … Continue reading Let Wedding Cake Bakers Discriminate in Peace

Questions for Free Market Moralists? Some Answers

By Mario Rizzo A philosopher, Amia Srinivasan, fellow in philosophy at All Souls College, University of Oxford, writing in the New York Times Opinionator (online commentary) says that in order to be a consistent defender of Robert Nozick, the free market and classical liberalism, one must answer "yes" to all four questions below. And she … Continue reading Questions for Free Market Moralists? Some Answers

The System of Liberty

by Jerry O’Driscoll I have just completed George Smith’s The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism. I recommend it highly to all. It is a tour de force, and an essential read for all those interested in classical liberal ideas. Many of the debates today on the political right have their … Continue reading The System of Liberty

In Defense of Herbert Spencer

by Mario Rizzo This my letter as it appears in today's Financial Times (July 10, 2013): Sir, John Kay (“Darwin’s  humbling lesson for business”, July 3) makes good points about evolutionary  theory and the social sciences. But he is wrong about Herbert Spencer, the noted  English philosopher and evolutionist. Spencer was not a Darwinist of … Continue reading In Defense of Herbert Spencer

Income Inequality Matters

by Roger Koppl Income inequality matters. Let me say that again so you know I meant it: Income inequality matters. This statement may be surprising coming from a self-described “Austrian” economist and a “liberal” in the good old-fashioned pro-market sense. It shouldn’t be. It should be one of our issues. The surprise should be that we … Continue reading Income Inequality Matters

After the Fiscal Imbalance is Resolved: What Then?

by Mario Rizzo Let us suppose that not only the immediate fiscal cliff problem is solved but also the long-run fiscal imbalance is corrected. What then? Presumably federal spending will then be on a sustainable trajectory which is able to cope with cost-of-living increases. Ordinary trend economic growth will already have been figured into the … Continue reading After the Fiscal Imbalance is Resolved: What Then?

The Great Ideas of the Social Sciences

by Gene Callahan Let's take social science broadly, in the sense of German wissenschaft, so that The Republic and Politics and The Social Contract are social science. (I would contend that they are, in fact, often much more scientific than the latest regression study of how detergent use correlates with the suicide rate.) So what, … Continue reading The Great Ideas of the Social Sciences

Using Sortition to Achieve Campaign Finance Reform

by Gene Callahan I was sitting in a session of the British Political Studies Association Conference today, listening to several speakers talk about sortition (using random selection in the political process) when I was struck by a way to employ it to achieve campaign finance reform without any restriction on donations or campaign length. So, I share: … Continue reading Using Sortition to Achieve Campaign Finance Reform

The Just Distribution of Income and Wealth

by Mario Rizzo There has been a lot of talk this year, and especially during the holiday season, about the inequities in the distribution of wealth and income. But most of what has been written is quite simple-minded, if the writers mean to convey something more than their own personal preferences for a different distribution. … Continue reading The Just Distribution of Income and Wealth

How’s Your Compulsory Holiday Giving Coming Along?

by Mario Rizzo I wish people would perform the following intellectual experiment. Find out how much in federal taxes you have paid in the past year. Don’t worry about making any distinctions between the various payroll taxes and the income tax. It all goes into the same pot in the final analysis. Now assume that this … Continue reading How’s Your Compulsory Holiday Giving Coming Along?

The Intellectual Disaster of American Conservatism (Liberalism)

by Mario Rizzo I watched a rather good debate this morning on the ABC News program This Week. The participants were journalist George Will and Congressman Paul Ryan (on the “right”) and Congressman Barney Frank and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (“on the ‘left”). You can watch it now or simply read the transcript. The … Continue reading The Intellectual Disaster of American Conservatism (Liberalism)

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Sit Down To Talk

by Roger Koppl Right in the middle of the book, Thing 1 and Thing 2 sat down to talk about a controversial topic.  It might have been politics or religion.  It might have been economics or, perhaps, global warming.  I don’t know.  Anyway, it was a Very Important Topic.   Just like you and me, Thing … Continue reading Thing 1 and Thing 2 Sit Down To Talk

Another step down the road to serfdom

by Roger Koppl Peter Orszag, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, has written an article for The New Republic entitled “Too Much of a Good Thing: Why we need less democracy.”  “To solve the serious problems facing our country,” he says, “we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying … Continue reading Another step down the road to serfdom

The Führer Principle – Light

by Mario Rizzo David Gergen has written a piece decrying the lack of leadership on the debt-deficit “crisis” and calling for a new Churchill. David Gergen, who saw no problem working for both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, now teaches at the JFK School of Government at Harvard. He has a claim to being a … Continue reading The Führer Principle – Light

Politically Feasible

by Mario Rizzo Many years ago, the distinguished economist, William H. Hutt, wrote a pamphlet called “Politically Impossible?” He argued that economists should not seek political relevance by proposing only those policies that they perceive as politically possible, practical or feasible. They should speak truth to power, so to say, and advocate those policies that … Continue reading Politically Feasible

Spending Cuts and Politics of Bureaucracy

by Chidem Kurdas I just read The Politics of Bureaucracy by Gordon Tullock, one of the best books written on the behavior of bureaucrats. Although originally published in 1965, it remains very much relevant today, especially as the debt deal currently in Congress could bring spending caps on programs administered by numerous bureaucracies. These entities … Continue reading Spending Cuts and Politics of Bureaucracy

Them is Us: More Thoughts on Oslo and Multiculturalism

by Roger Koppl An editorial in yesterday’s New York Times rightly notes, “A disturbing, and growing, intolerance across Europe for Muslims and other immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.  Inflammatory political rhetoric is increasingly tolerated. And anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic parties are getting stronger notably in northern European countries that have long had liberal immigration … Continue reading Them is Us: More Thoughts on Oslo and Multiculturalism

Oslo and Multiculturalism

by Roger Koppl The terrible Oslo killings by Anders Breivik have appropriately prompted discussion of the political implications of his act and his manifesto.  Multiculturalism is an important theme in the discussion around Breivik's crimes and ideology.  A story in yesterday’s NYTimes links Breivik to the repudiation of multiculturalism by three European political leaders. “Yet some … Continue reading Oslo and Multiculturalism

Soros and Open Society in America

by Chidem Kurdas George Soros originally intended to wind down his Open Society Foundations at the end of his life but changed his mind. This worldwide network of activist groups – to whom he has given more than $8 billion and named after Karl Popper’s classic The Open Society and Its Enemies – is to … Continue reading Soros and Open Society in America

David Hume and Friedrich Hayek: Classical Liberal Giants

by Mario Rizzo I have just discovered the wonderful coincidence that May 7th is David Hume’s birthday and May 8th, as I have known, is Friedrich Hayek’s birthday. It is Hume’s 300th birthday – how amazing that he is still so relevant in a myriad of ways. It is Hayek’s 112th birthday. As most of our … Continue reading David Hume and Friedrich Hayek: Classical Liberal Giants

Libya and the Rule of Law

by Mario Rizzo   Frank H. Knight had an important insight about economics. Howsoever we may seek to narrow it, the basic human interests that make the subject important lie at the intersection of ethics, the theory of knowledge, and psychology (at least in a broad sense).  Friedrich Hayek was also right to think that the … Continue reading Libya and the Rule of Law

Toward a Libertarian-Progressive Alliance

by Roger Koppl Ralph Nader recently appeared on Judge Napolitano’s “Freedom Watch” to herald the rise of a coalition between “libertarian conservatives” and progressives.  Within Congress, he says, both groups put principle above party.  The first episode in this new alliance will be cooperation on the whistleblower bill. Let’s hope it happens! Libertarians and progressives have … Continue reading Toward a Libertarian-Progressive Alliance