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Liberty in the Balance

If we truly wish to live in a free country, we need to carefully think about what, if anything, the government ought to be allowed to do. I suggest that we think about this, as Rawls would, while imagining that we might not be in the driver’s seat. We might not be favored by the law. In such a case, would we not prefer an even-handed set of rules which, while not giving us any particular advantage, also do not give particular advantages to those who do not like us very much? continue reading

A Path To Liberty

As a path to liberty, violent attacks against the government seem to be a doomed strategy, for several reasons. For one thing, they’re experts at violence; it is their core competency. For another, violent revolutions tend to attract many people who like violence for its own sake. These folks will at best stir up trouble; at worst, they’ll use the turmoil to their own ends, and people with actual functioning consciences will be lined up against the wall and dispatched. continue reading

People: Resource or Burden?

People do not merely consume and pollute. They also create; they produce. They find ways to turn negatives into positives. For example, the methane gas produced by landfills is now turned into energy. Ores which were of no economic value, now produce valuable minerals. People find ways to produce more efficiently. Today’s computers are vastly more powerful than those of a decade or two ago, and are also smaller; they use less material; they consume less energy per amount of work; and they further allow us to reduce the use of materials and energy for other purposes, in a virtuous cycle. continue reading