As a group, libertarians have not dealt well with the prospect of anthropogenic global climate change. As most parts of the world scramble to find “solutions” to what they anticipate will be a serious problem for human civilization, libertarians have often brushed the issue aside by denying that climate change is real or, if it is real, that humans have caused it…A more serious problem with the libertarian habit of questioning the scientific basis for concern about climate change is that it does not indicate what position libertarians would endorse if climate change were known to be happening. We have no compelling reason to believe that anthropogenic climate change or a substantively similar phenomenon cannot happen. Accordingly, it seems extremely reasonable to ask what libertarians would say about such a phenomenon if they knew that it was occurring now.

Thus begins a new article by Dan C. Shahar (aka Danny Shahar¹) published this month in The Independent Review (v. 14, n. 2, Fall 2009, ISSN 1086–1653, Copyright © 2009, pp. 219–237). I encourage everyone to find a copy and read it. For you agorist types, I was able to find the unpublished online PDF. For libertarians everywhere, the heat is on.

¹ Danny, as many of you know, is the voice behind the Back to the Drawing Board blog (which recently went dark indefinitely). Please rummage through his archives if you want more. Presently, he is studying under David Schmidtz, among others, at the University of Arizona.


Pulp Non-Fiction

May 17, 2009

I’m a big fan of Danny Shahar’s blog. It is one of my “regular reads” and part of the charm is that his posts are both interesting and epic (in length). Recently, he has posted a series of four (so far) epic posts on metaethics. I never pass up a discussion on metaethics but there is a great deal to cover and Danny is churning out new talking points faster then I can read it all.

However, I will be raising objections to Danny’s (and his friend Vichy’s) conception of metaethics primarily from the perspective of Roderick Long’s work on a praxeological foundation for ethics. While I do find Long’s metaethical theory compelling, my primary reason for selecting this pairing in the metaethical Battle Royale is that they seem matched as nearly perfect opposites. There is, to me at least, an almost eerie correspondance between Danny’s supporting points for moral fictionalism and the aspects of ethical thought that Long seeks to criticize. It seems like the perfect case to flex Long’s theory. Read the rest of this entry »