Friday Links

–A challenge to libertarians on the coecivene power of private entities.

–A.O. Scott on superhero movies as a Ponzi scheme.

–Richard Beck of Experimental Theology on why he blogs.

–A political typology quiz from the Pew Research Center. (I scored as a “solid libera.l” Although I’d take issue with the way some of the choices were presented.)

–An end to “bad guys.”

–Def Leppard’s Hysteria and the changing meaning of having a “number 1” album.

–The folks at the Moral Mindfield have been blogging on the ethical implications of killing bin Laden, from a variety of perspectives.

–Ta-Nehisi Coates on Abraham Lincoln and slavery.

–Marvin had a good post earlier this week on the death of bin Laden and Christian pacifism.

–Christopher has a post on problems with the language of “inclusion” and “exclusion” in the church.

–I don’t always agree with Glenn Greenwald, but I’m glad he’s out there asking the questions he asks. He’s been blogging up a storm this week on the circumstances surrounding bin Laden’s death.

–Brandon has a concise summary of the history behind Cinco de Mayo.

ADDED LATER: How do you feed 10 billion people? By eating less meat for starters.

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4 thoughts on “Friday Links

  1. I agree with some of the observations on the coercive power of private entities. I know there are many people whose libertarianism is more pragmatically-oriented than mine whose theories are vulnerable at the very points the piece suggested. But nothing he said really addressed the key issue for libertarianism. If initiation of force is the devil, you don’t try to get rid of it by increasing it. If the state has a monopoly on coercion, and has the power to do a lot of it, private entities will then seek to control the power of the state, as we see in our own time.

    We don’t need to make specific laws to limit the size of corporations. The current problem is that they become too large because they don’t pay the price for failure after engaging in risky business practices. If they were allowed to fail more, there would be fewer mergers and more small companies, and hence a greater distribution of power.

  2. I agree that a deontologically based libertarianism would have responses available that a more consequentialist variety wouldn’t. However, suppose that a world with a minimal state (or the anarcho-capitalist utopia preferred by some libertarians) actually resulted in a net increase in coercion (because a weak or non-existent state allowed coercive private entities to flourish). Wouldn’t that be worse from your point of view?

  3. It would be a worse consequence. But I’m not a consequentialist. On the other hand, I think it a less likely consequence. Plus, I’m not a “push the button” anarchist who imagines seeing the government gone tomorrow. Since I’m against initiation of force, I don’t generally believe in using force against the government. So the way to see less state will be for private means to take over government functions.

    Also, I think that there would be private entities people could use that would fight coercion, and do so more to people’s satisfaction. The current system satisfies us in some ways, but we are often unaware of all the ways it is dissatisfying, as we’ve written off the idea that it could be better. I think much of schooling exists to teach kids just to live with it. They are brought up in an environment where only certain authorities may interfere with, say, bullying, and they decide to do nothing about it. A certain passivity is systematically inculcated.

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