Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Perfectionism

Is Pluralism a Legitimate Defense of Arizona’s Anti-Gay Bill?

Recently, Arizona governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed a controversial piece of legislation that would have allowed businesses in Arizona to refuse service to homosexuals on the grounds that to do otherwise would infringe upon their religious freedom. The bill was widely condemned, and I had no wish to pile on, but I’ve read a piece that offers an interesting defense of the bill. While I don’t think the argument ultimately holds up, it’s an argument that needs to be taken seriously and picked apart.

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How to Deal with Hate Speech

Now that I’m once again at a university doing university work, I have the pleasure of having my mind pointed at different subjects and writings that I otherwise might not get around to investigating. I’ve been looking at a book by Corey Brettschneider entitled When the State Speaks, What Should It Say? In this book, Brettschneider seeks to resolve an interesting dilemma in liberal political theory–namely, how liberal states, which are committed to liberty and equality, should deal with citizens who have illiberal opinions. Here, Brettschneider calls these illiberal opinions “hateful views”, and argues that a view is hateful if it seeks to undermine the liberty or equality of groups of people on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, and so on. I’d like to discuss Brettschneider’s view with you a bit today.

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Stephen Davies’ Libertarianism

I went to an interesting talk today given by Stephen Davies of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a British free market think tank, in favour of the libertarian position. In the past, I have not been particularly kind to the libertarian position, both in its theory and in the practical policies that result from it. Davies did, however, present the libertarian position in an interesting fashion. Whereas usually libertarianism is derived from some foundational larger philosophical theory (some libertarians are right utilitarians, natural rights theorists, egoists, and so on), Davies wishes to divorce libertarianism from its wider philosophical context and consider it on its own, irrespective of which foundational theory it sits upon. In the past, some of my criticisms of libertarianism have been themselves criticised for over-relying on problems with foundational theories rather than considering the planks of libertarianism in isolation. Today, I shall look at libertarianism as presented by Davies and see where it leads me.

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