A few posts I’ve read recently, liked a lot, and am sharing here:
Libertarian Social Justice Warrior: A Surprisingly Coherent Position. Nicely lays out the case for people interested in social justice to appropriate, if not the label ‘libertarian’, at least a lot of the themes, tone, and ideas of libertarianism (a word only fairly recently claimed by the right). I tend to think of myself as ‘libertarian-with-a-lower-case-l’, meaning roughly that:
- For a surprising number of social problems, the quickest and easiest way to improve matters is to interfere less and give people more choice about things;
- People are, as a rule, less willing to accept that than they ought to be;
- When we’re not sure what policy would have the best results, there should be a strong presumption in favour of letting people do what they want (stronger in proportion as the choice in question is a personal one about their own lives, weaker in proportion as it’s an institutional one about how to administer some big organisation).
Two Kinds of Caution. An interesting primer on reasons to worry about the risks posed by superintelligent robots before, rather than after, they’re invented. I don’t have a settled view on AI-risk stuff, but I found the post stimulating.
On the Lack of Public Intellectuals Among Academics. Some reasons why writing as a ‘public intellectual’ is hard, and subject to very different incentives from writing interesting and stimulating stuff. It resonated with me – obviously I’m not a public intellectual, or really trying to be (I don’t even blog that often!) but I recognised the feeling described in the post, of trying to work out how to fit a long, uncertain, and relatively involved thought into the format of something short, topical, and ‘urgent’.