An Online Journal for Libertarian Scholarship
Welcome to a new type of libertarian publication: fast, scholarly, accessible to all. Libertarian Papers is a peer-reviewed, exclusively online interdisciplinary journal. We welcome contributions on any suitable topic of libertarian scholarship, including philosophy, economics, legal theory, political science, history, and social or cultural analysis.
Libertarian Papers seeks to provide an outlet for scholars working in the libertarian tradition who are interested in:
Libertarian Papers is a peer-reviewed journal of libertarian scholarship established January 22, 2009. It aims to advance scholarly research in disciplines of particular interest to the libertarian community, broadly conceived. The journal is interdisciplinary in scope, publishing original research from a wide variety of fields, especially philosophy, politics, and economics, but also legal theory, history, literary criticism, and social or cultural analysis. Its broader mission is to continue the tradition established by publications such as the Journal of Libertarian Studies.
Along with the journal, we provide legal forms and templates. They are categorized by topics, so it will be easy to find a relevant document. We’ve also collected a wide range of state-specific templates that comply with state regulations. All these forms can be found below.
Kansas is a state that requires its residents to complete various forms to prove their identity or residency, establish a company, or register a vehicle. Here we provide links to popular forms used in the state, including Form LC-50 to create a limited liability company (LLC), a child support form to ensure that both parents are contributing financially to the support of their children, and Form K-4 to report taxable income and tax liability. You’ll find the latest versions of each form available for download below.
There are various forms available for Kentucky residents. The most common form is the Kentucky individual income tax return, which is used to file state taxes. Other forms include the application for unemployment insurance (Form Ui-1), authorization for electronic deposit of child support payments (Form CS-202), and written notice of withdrawal of form 4 rejection (Form 5).
If you live in the state of Louisiana, you’ll be glad to find some of the state forms available for download here. In this section, we’ve collected essential legal templates for Louisiana residents, including an affidavit of small succession (helps heirs quickly transfer property from the deceased to their name), cash sale deed (allows landowners to sell their undeveloped property to the state for a set price), and standardized credentialing application (needs to be completed by all healthcare professionals to work Louisiana). By taking advantage of this convenient resource, you can save yourself time and hassle when completing necessary paperwork.
You are encouraged to use the following forms if you live in the state of Massachusetts. For example, you need to use a resident income tax return form to file taxes. The document must contain details on a person’s earnings and the taxes paid during the year. Or, if a car gets in an accident, Massachusetts residents will be required to fill out a vehicle accident report. To find more legal documentation, you need to check the templates below.
Completing legal paperwork is an essential part of any business and individuals’ life. The following forms can be used to track employee hours, collect payments, and file for a divorce. These documents are provided by official authorities and usually include instructions on how a specific form must be filled out. For example, the North Carolina Department of Revenue provides several forms that taxpayers can use to file their taxes or report income. In this section, you can take a closer look at some of the most popular North Carolina forms.
New Jersey residents looking to complete state forms may find what they need in this section. The collection of New Jersey PDF forms covers an array of topics, from tax documents to applications for licenses and permits. Residents can download and print the forms they need or fill them out electronically before submitting them.
This section is meant to make applying for various state services easier for New York citizens. If you own any type of vehicle, be sure to check a request for certified DMV records. This document will simplify the process of filing requests for your own or another person’s information from the agency. If you’re a business owner in New York, you’ll also want to make sure you’re using the latest legal forms. The templates below will help you prepare all the necessary paperwork, both for personal and business purposes.
The Army National Guard (ARNG) provides trained and ready forces to the governor during state emergencies and full-scale national military operations. The ARNG also assists other federal agencies in times of need. In order to carry out these responsibilities, the ARNG uses specific forms, including mobilization orders, applications for membership, and unit status reports. If you’re a member of the ARNG or are considering joining, you need to learn about different forms that you may need to complete.
The United States Navy (USN) provides many forms for their sailors while on active duty or during shore leave. These forms can be filled out and submitted electronically. Many of these forms are also available in paper format, should you need a hard copy. Some of the most common Navy forms include leave requests, travel claim forms, and medical treatment authorization forms. It is essential to understand how to correctly complete these documents to collect the required information and keep accurate records.
The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) manages such activities as providing food, medical care, and safety to individuals in need. The Agency has created a number of forms to make it easier for residents to access the services they need. These forms include applications for healthcare coverage, social services programs, and disability benefits. Look through the templates below if you want to use the agency’s services.
In today’s business world, requesting information or products from another company or organization is a common occurrence. Companies often provide request forms to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible. These forms allow businesses to track and manage their requests while also providing a record of communication between the customer and company or two companies. Request forms can be used for different purposes, including product inquiries, proposals, and orders. When creating a request form, it is crucial to ensure that all the necessary information is included. This will help ensure that both companies can fulfill the request on time.
Applying for a job or college can be long and challenging. However, with the help of the proper application forms, it can be much easier. Check the templates that we’ve gathered for you and select the one that best fits your needs. These applications mainly include job applications provided by different employers, like KFC, Little Caesars, and Big Lots. However, you can also find credentialing, loan, and rental applications here.
Letter templates are also common when it comes to legal matters. There are various types of letters that can be used according to their purposes, such as letters of intent, instructions, and recommendation letters. Some of them may have stricter requirements than others – while a letter of recommendation can be written more in a free manner, a letter of intent should follow the particular structure and include specific components. Check the following available templates that may come in handy in your professional and personal life.
If you own a vehicle, you know about the amount of paperwork you are required to complete when registering an automobile, renewing your registration, or transferring a title. If you are new to vehicle ownership, this section will definitely come to your rescue. We’ve compiled the list of all the necessary forms to handle these procedures with no trouble.
Today’s universities use forms for various purposes, from admission and registration to financial aid and scholarships. These forms offer an easy way to collect and manage information. You may use the following documents to apply for admission, request the transcript, and receive a degree certificate. These templates are easy to fill out online or download on your device to get a hard copy if needed.
Here, you may get other legal templates, including the driver’s license application, the vehicle registration, and the voter registration form. These documents are provided by state and local governments and particular companies and organizations. For example, there is a work note form provided by Kaiser Permanente or a patient assistance program application form provided by Lilly Cares. You can also find some general forms, like notice of a lease violation and release of liability for hunters.
There exists a gap in libertarian publishing. For authors with scholarly papers on libertarian topics, their choices are limited. They may publish in one of a few traditional paper-based journals, such as The Independent Review, Reason Papers, or (until it ceases publication) the Journal of Libertarian Studies. The number of such journals that serve as outlets for libertarian scholars is, in any event, too small, as the number of libertarian thinkers continues to grow with every generation. And these excellent paper-based publications do not take full advantage of the Web: authors wait a long time (sometimes over a year) for publication. They cannot always instantly share an electronic link of their publication. Because these journals are paper-based, there are also space limits—this limits both the size of articles and the number of articles that can be published. Unfortunately, a traditional journal also requires a lot of resources for copyediting, design, administration, and printing.
Existing online libertarian, or free-market-oriented publications, such as LewRockwell.com and Mises Daily, typically focus on shorter, more popular-format articles and thus are not suitable for lengthy, academic, or heavily-footnoted works. With the advent of the web and blogging, authors also now have the option of self-publishing: they post the paper to their site or some private site, link it in a blog post, or post a “working paper.” But this is not an acceptable way to publish—working papers are not usually polished or final, there is no acceptable citation format or journal name, and, of course, no presumption of quality garnered by the peer-review process.
A web-based scholarly journal is what is needed. Such a journal need not be limited to shorter or popular-format pieces. And it needs to have no arbitrary space limits—articles may be any size; no relevant articles need to be turned away—and can be published quickly after the peer-review process is complete. The cost can be almost zero, and almost no staff is required, other than an Editor, Editorial Board, and network of referees to assist with reviewing.
Enter Libertarian Papers. Published by the Mises Institute, Libertarian Papers is an online journal that welcomes scholarly submissions on various topics of interest to libertarians. In addition to articles in the traditional academic format, we welcome book reviews and review essays and other formats, such as lectures and essays. We also publish English translations of foreign-language libertarian articles. Other than such translations, our focus is on previously unpublished works, with some exceptions made for essential works that are inaccessible (such as two forthcoming articles by Bruno Leoni).
As noted on the submissions page, after review, and upon acceptance, the article is formatted and published online.
Finally, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License wherever possible. We even provide the Word file of the article—our “source code”—to make it easier for others to republish, incorporate, print-on-demand, or cut-and-paste (this also gives authors a final copy of their published article in editable form, which is unheard of). We want our ideas read, spread, and copied. As Cory Doctorow notes, “for pretty much every writer—the big problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.” We do not, of course, oppose the profit motive, as some who cling to state-granted intellectual property laws might allege, but we do recognize the stifling effect copyright has had on the communication of ideas. And as spreading the ideas of liberty is the end of our action, in Misesian terms, we are indeed seeking a handsome profit by unshackling these ideas to spread them as widely as possible. And in the spirit of open discourse and the free flow of ideas, unlike most other academic journals, we allow comments on our articles via the blog posts announcing them.
Libertarian Papers is edited by Stephan Kinsella, a libertarian writer, and attorney in Houston. LL.M., King’s College London-University of London; J.D., Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University; B.S.E.E., M.S.E.E., Louisiana State University. Kinsella is a Senior Fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, the founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF), a member of the Advisory Panel of the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS), General Counsel for Applied Optoelectronics, Inc., and formerly a partner with Duane Morris L.L.P. and adjunct law professor at South Texas College of Law. Kinsella was Book Review Editor of the Journal of Libertarian Studies (2000-04) and has published many libertarian articles in journals such as The Freeman, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Reason Papers, the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, LewRockwell.com, and Mises Daily. His libertarian publications include the recent monograph Against Intellectual Property (Mises Institute, 2008); Property, Freedom, and Society: Essays in Honor of Hans-Hermann Hoppe (co-editor, with Jörg Guido Hülsmann; Mises Institute, 2009); and the forthcoming The Ethics of Action: Fundamentals of Libertarian Legal Theory (Mises Institute, forthcoming 2011). Kinsella’s legal publications include International Investment, Political Risk, and Dispute Resolution: A Practitioner’s Guide (co-author, with Noah Rubins; London: Oxford University Press, 2005; second edition forthcoming 2011), five other legal treatises published by Oxford University Press or Oceana Publications, and the forthcoming Louisiana Civil Law Dictionary (co-author, with Gregory Rome; forthcoming 2011).
As announced in this post, the O.P. Alford III Prize in Libertarian Scholarship has been, from 2002 to 2008, a $1000 prize awarded by the Mises Institute bi-annually to the paper published in the preceding two-year period that best advanced libertarian scholarship. The award is named for a great entrepreneur and friend of the Mises Institute, O.P. Alford III. As we advance, the $1000 Alford prize will be awarded annually–instead of every other year–to the best article published in Libertarian Papers in the preceding calendar year. The next Alford prize will be awarded at the Austrian Scholars Conference 2010 to the best article from Libertarian Papers published in 2009, as chosen by the journal’s Editor and Editorial Board.
Libertarian Papers is included in:
Intro and exit music for our podcasts is excerpted from “Asturias” by Dylly pursuant to a Creative Commons License.
Readers of Libertarian Papers may find of interest Murray Rothbard’s 1977 Editorial in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Libertarian Studies, explaining the goals and purpose of the founding of that journal.
“Innovative Dynamism Improves the Environment”
Abstract: The economic system of innovative dynamism often harms the environment. The opposite is true. As economies flourish through innovative dynamism, birth rates decline, new ways to extract old resources are invented, and previously useless materials are turned into useful new resources. Human and nonhuman animals are often adaptable and resilient to environmental change. Flourishing economies can better protect current species, create new species, and possibly revive some currently extinct species. The rate of global warming is likely to be slow enough that humans and most nonhuman species can adapt to it. If the rate quickens and creates high costs, entrepreneurial geoengineering, enabled within the system of innovative dynamism, can slow or even reverse the warming. We should not shackle the innovative-dynamism system that enables us to live long and flourish.
“A Strategic Doctrine of Disproportionate Force for Decentralized Asymmetric Warfare”
Abstract: Newhard (2017) recommends that anarcho-capitalist societies acquire nuclear weapons and adopt aggressive territorial-defense postures. This paper substantiates the argument for the necessity of such actions under reasonable assumptions. In particular, these societies are likely to be relatively small in geographic size, population, and economic output, inhibiting strategic depth and military spending. Deterrence and defense will therefore require that anarchists seize the offensive to achieve a quick and decisive victory in any conflict through a combination of preventive and preemptive strikes and massive retaliation. Given private armed forces’ likely decentralized and asymmetric character, I recommend a strategic doctrine of disproportionate force modeled after Israeli doctrine.
“Police Choice: Feasible Policy Options for a Safer and Freer Society”
Abstract: The system of policing in the United States is costly and ineffective, perhaps because of the government monopoly on residentially assigned police departments. A private or public police system could introduce competitive pressures into the market for policing and improve overall quality levels. I discuss current and historical examples of private policing and respond to the most common criticisms of systems of police choice. These criticisms can be placed into one of the following six categories: (1) conflicts between customers of different agencies, (2) situations in which one agency prevents the rights of another company’s customer from being violated, (3) rights protection as a public good, (4) rights protection having positive externalities, (5) certain types of violations’ having costs that are spread out across several members of society, and (6) rights protection’s being too important to leave to private profit-seeking firms. I also propose possible police-choice policy options that could be used to achieve a society with stronger rights protection and fewer rights violations.
“The Anatomy of Nationalism: A Fresh Appraisal Based on Recent Case Studies”
Abstract: Meaningfully defining “nationalism” is particularly challenging in a twenty-first-century context. Combined with overlap with related concepts, such as “statism” and “patriotism,” there exists an ever-present risk of losing the ability to effectively identify the main features of nationalism and, therefore, a risk of losing our awareness of its influence. However, the resurgence of nationalism under the Trump administration provides a unique opportunity to reassess this powerful cultural phenomenon. In the spirit of Rothbard’s “Anatomy of the State,” this article seeks to provide a fresh, critical, and contemporary description of nationalism based on (a) three recent essays published in Hillsdale College’s Imprimis, and (b) a critical comparison of the inaugural speeches of Presidents Obama and Trump. After this analysis, the article concludes by listing eight features of contemporary nationalism.
“Book Review: The Economics of Law, Order, and Action: The Logic of Public Goods“
Abstract: The point of this book is to exhibit the deficiencies in the classical and neoclassical arguments that underpin the claim that a territorial monopoly of force is both desirable and inevitable to ground the supposedly public goods of law and defense. When you have finished reading this book, you might be inclined to think that it is a not-too-thinly disguised argument for libertarian anarchism, and in thinking this, you would not be far wrong. However, although the book is strongly sympathetic to libertarian anarchist concerns, its point of departure is neither ethics nor politics but economics, specifically economics in the Austrian praxeological tradition.
“Reconciling Competing Systems of Property Rights through Adverse Possession”
Abstract: This paper argues for the consistency of adverse possession inland with a strict Lockean-libertarian understanding of property rights due to the impermanence of artificial improvements by which unowned property is appropriated initially. This approach to property rights reconciles left- and right-libertarian positions as endpoints on a continuum of “temporal attitudes” toward property retention. Adopting adverse possession within a libertarian framework also dampens the potential tension between extensively held private property and the “Lockean Proviso.”
“A Summary of the Philosophy of Spencer Heath”
Abstract: A virtually unknown philosopher of the twentieth century, Spencer Heath (1876-1963), was nevertheless well-known as a pioneer in the early development of commercial aviation. He retired from business in 1931 to devote the last thirty years of his life to his long-time interest in the philosophy of science and human social organization. He developed a comprehensive philosophy of creative capitalism and outlined an authentic natural science of society (a society that would be capable of generating dependable technology). In his philosophy, Heath correlated three fields: the natural sciences with their uniform laws; the established uniform practices, productive and creative, that constitute the business system; and the realm of non-necessitous activities pursued their sake alone, which he called the spiritual life. In the societal field, he drew on examples from the natural sciences, from history (seen as the growth of social relationships), and from all but the political or criminal in current affairs. In so doing, he emphasized the normal modes of action, self-enacting, and self-enforcing, wherein each man benefits others as they benefit him and civilization progresses as a result. He saw the aesthetic and religious experiences as alike in their social function of lifting the individual out of his mundane existence and inspiring him to discover and utilize his creative potential. He regarded this inspiration as the psychological prerequisite for discovery, especially in the nascent science of society. Heath found important correspondences between the beauty of voluntary human social institutions and Judeo-Christian teachings. In this tradition, he discovered a rich discourse language for conveying the beauty he saw in evolving society, thereby counteracting the poor image capitalism has received at the hands of collectivists.
“The Lockean Proviso and the Value of Liberty: A Reply to Narveson”
Abstract: In a recent essay, “Forcing Nozick Beyond the Minimal State: The Lockean Proviso and Compensatory Welfare,” I argue that Nozick’s reading of the Lockean Proviso commits him to a welfare state. In a forceful response, Jan Narveson calls my argument into question by arguing for an especially austere reading of the Lockean Proviso as a mere extension of the principle of liberty. In this reply to Narveson, I argue that any proviso derived from the principle of liberty will require compensatory welfare for the contemporary poor. This is because liberty only has value if it can be used, and many people lack the resources to do so in any substantive way. The only way Narveson can avoid this argument is to retreat to an anemic sort of liberty, but this would abandon what makes classical liberalism attractive in the first place: the preservation of substantive personal liberty.
“Quality Check: A Contextual Analysis of the Lockean Proviso”
Abstract: Libertarians have long been divided over how best to interpret the Lockean proviso, which requires that one leave “enough and as good” in common for others after one’s appropriation. This article sheds light on this exegetical question in relation to its qualitative part (“as good”) through a contextual analysis of Locke’s often neglected writings on viticulture and interest rates, as well as through his comments in the Second Treatise itself. I show that the proviso demands qualitative equality of resources, as left-libertarians have argued, but in terms of its content actually comes closer to centrist libertarianism that requires only qualitative sufficiency for survival and comfort to satisfy the demand of qualitative equality. The article also shows how Locke’s peculiar conceptualization of equality makes the proviso immune to right-libertarian criticisms that demand for qualitative equality is untenable. Moreover, it shows how this reading of the proviso can defend itself from a colonialist implication embedded in an unspecified application of the proviso’s demand for qualitative equality.
“Would-Be Farmer John and the Welfare State: A Response to Blincoe”
Abstract: Adam Blincoe (2018) aims to show that libertarianism, at least in Robert Nozick’s version, is faced with a dilemma: “Either (a) Nozick must admit that taxation to guarantee a compensatory level of welfare (and not merely for protection from harm) is legitimate or (b) he must admit that his entitlement theory cannot satisfy the Lockean proviso.” I discuss Blincoe’s thought experiment involving “Farmer John” and take issue with his underlying arguments on a number of grounds. I discuss in turn some problems relating to Nozick’s views on the Lockean proviso, the question of how to define an appropriate welfare benchmark for establishing redistributive obligations, and some issues of those obligations.
“Forcing Nozick Beyond the Minimal State: The Lockean Proviso and Compensatory Welfare”
Abstract: Critics of Nozick have claimed that his formulation of the Lockean proviso is too permissive to serve as a morally plausible constraint on resource acquisition. This essay advances a new critique of Nozick’s entitlement theory. In particular, I argue that even on his permissive formulation of the Lockean proviso, he faces a dilemma. Either: (a) Nozick must accept redistributive taxation to guarantee a compensatory level of welfare, which pushes him far beyond his goal of a minimal state, or (b) he must admit that his entitlement theory cannot satisfy the Lockean proviso. I will develop this dilemma by advancing a unique challenge to how Nozick and contemporary libertarians like Jan Narveson evaluate the welfare prospects of the poor in conditions of moderate scarcity. In brief, they weigh material welfare too heavily and discount more subjective elements of wellbeing, including self-mastery.
“Speculation and the English Common Law Courts, 1697-1845”
Abstract: In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, stockbrokers, speculators, and stock jobbers were often accused of fraud and price manipulation. Seven key regulatory acts were passed into England from 1697 to 1737. Evidence suggests that virtually none of these laws were adhered to or seriously enforced well into the nineteenth century. An apparent gap existed between the legislation and judicial enforcement of regulations. However, the emerging London stock exchange operated within a private and self-regulating alternative legal system. In the few cases that did come before the English ordinary law courts from 1697 to 1845, justices, many of whom were themselves, active traders and investors, predominantly avoided enforcing stock market regulations and upheld private contracts between individuals. In this manner, members of the judiciary demonstrated that they were acting as an integral part of the private, self-regulating stock exchange. The legal decisions that upheld private stock-transfer contracts in the eighteenth century have important implications for our understanding of the development of the judicial interpretation of commercial contract law.
“Book Review: Speaking Truth to Power from Medieval to Modern Italy“
Abstract: The editors of the volume Speaking Truth to Power from Medieval to Modern Italy make an effort to wrestle the category of power away from the Foucauldian camp and use it as a tool to investigate state coercion and literary expressions of resistance against it. As Jo Ann Cavallo and Carlo Lottieri explain in the introductory chapter (which, however, takes aim more at Marxism than postmodernism), scholars have usually reduced the concept of power to economic and cultural processes. Instead, the editors of this volume wish to focus their attention on political power, its violent nature, and in particular, its most disturbing embodiment: the state.
“The Universal Categories of Praxeology in Light of Natural Semantic Metalanguage Theory”
Abstract: This article presents a new approach to considering the categories and concepts necessary for praxeology based on the theoretical framework proposed by Anna Wierzbicka and Cliff Goddard. Natural semantic metalanguage theory can be a comprehensive method for defining the conceptual foundations of human action and rational discussion in general. Behind the very premise of praxeology lies the basis from which one may infer the universal parts of “human semantics.” Therefore, it is possible to attach a praxeological interpretation to the natural semantic metalanguage theory’s shape. Additionally, the linguistic framework proposed by Wierzbicka enables a precise and coherent description of the universal foundation of human cognition that can be transferred to reflections surrounding the study of purposeful human behavior. This contemporary version of the concept of lingua mentalis is not only a useful tool in a discussion of hermeneutics and relativism but has also undergone considerable empirical testing.
“Liberty Versus Democracy in Bruno Leoni and Friedrich von Hayek”
Abstract: This article discusses the parallels between Friedrich von Hayek and Bruno Leoni’s criticisms of democracy. Both men were leading protagonists of the classical liberal tradition. The thesis contained in this paper is that Hayek, although critical of democratic systems that do not reconcile liberty and equality, still believed in the democratic principle and tried to save it. On the other hand, Leoni’s approach to democracy was much more radical and very close to some strands of modern libertarianism. In particular, he theorized a model of power virtually without coercion.
“Libertarian Law and Military Defense”
Abstract: Joseph Newhard (2017) argues that a libertarian anarchist society would be at a severe military disadvantage if it extended the nonaggression principle to include potential foreign invaders. He goes so far as to recommend cultivating the ability to launch a nuclear attack on foreign cities. In contrast, I argue that the free society would derive its strength from a total commitment to property rights and protecting innocent life. Both theory and history suggest that a free society would be capable of defending itself, and indeed that it would probably use other means to avoid military conflict altogether.
“What is Distribution in the Market Process?”
Abstract: It is a commonplace of the current learned diagnoses that modern technology has all but abolished the resistances of nature to the physical production and transportation of goods. Distribution is regarded as less well developed—as the open or broken link between our needs and their fulfillment, desire, and gratification. To concede this should suggest not that the current processes of distribution should be attacked or abolished but rather that they should be examined and understood, for it should be remembered that distribution, for all its difficulties, does at least measurably take place and, like any other phenomena, it can be understood only in terms of its functioning and carrying on and never in terms of its non-functioning or failure to do so.
“Some Principles of Politics”
Abstract: Unlike economists, it is unusual for political scientists to discuss the first principles of our discipline. My purpose in this article is to make a small contribution toward remedying this situation by calling to mind a few fundamentals about the government that all students of politics should know. Drawing on the work of classical, modern, and contemporary scholarship, and my empirical analysis of 700 elections in 50 democracies, of more than a dozen dictatorships of the various ideological cast, and of the history of two cases with which I am most familiar—the United States and Cuba—I identify five elements of politics, two essential compounds or regime types, and six scientific “laws” that govern their operations.
“Book Review: Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System“
Abstract: In a new book-length treatment, Tara Smith, who has written extensively on the intersections of Objectivist philosophy and law, explains how judicial review, a feature of non-Objectivist jurisprudence, should function in a genuinely Objectivist legal system. Divided into two halves, Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System first sets forth Objectivism and how Objectivists understand the law. Of particular importance in this regard, Smith stresses, is the written constitution, which Smith, following the logical premises of Objectivism, calls “bedrock legal authority.” In the second half of the book, Smith moves to narrower considerations of judicial review proper. Smith’s first task in those sections is to critique the “failures” of “the reigning accounts” to understand judicial review. After dispensing with the various mistaken versions of judicial review as she sees them, Smith defines Objectivist judicial review before providing a handful of examples of how such a process might work in “contemporary conditions.”
“Libertarianism and Abortion: A Reply to Professor Narveson”
Abstract: Jan Narveson criticizes the view expressed in my Libertarian Philosophy in the Real World that there is no orthodox libertarian position on the ethics of abortion. He asserts that fetuses lack the defining characteristics of personhood and thus are ineligible for “intrinsic” rights under his, and presumably any other, plausible libertarian theory. My counterargument is threefold: (i) Narveson’s contractarianism can be interpreted in a way that is consistent with the pro-life perspective; (ii) because his theory permits no principled distinction between the moral status of third-trimester fetuses and newborns, the contrary reading of his social contract produces an implausible result and even repellent; and (iii) even if his version of contractarianism does imply a unique, aggressively pro-choice stance on abortion, there are competing libertarian theories that are receptive to pro-life views.