What is this blog about?

What is this blog about?

I am a political philosopher. My 'political philosophy' is a form of 'liberal egalitarianism.' So in this blog I reflect on various issues in political philosophy and politics (especially Canadian and American politics) from a liberal egalitarian perspective.

If you are curious about what I mean by 'liberal egalitarianism,' my views are strongly influenced by the conception of justice advanced by John Rawls. (So I sometimes refer to myself as a 'Rawlsian,' even though I disagree with Rawls on some matters.)

Astonishingly, I am paid to write and teach moral and political philosophy. I somehow manage to do this despite my akratic nature. Here is my faculty profile.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Guns versus liberty

In light of the horrific mass shooting last weekend in Orlando, I thought that I would link to a post I wrote last October: “An armed society is an unfree society.” It expresses (more or less) the reasons why I think that easy access to firearms reduces the freedom of citizens (in addition to all the other harms it causes with respect to loss of life, health, etc.). In other words, the debate over gun control in the US should not be construed (as it generally is now) as a debate between 'freedom' on one side and 'security' (or life) on the other. Rather, it's really a debate about the just distribution of freedom. And the gun control side is the one that promotes greater overall freedom for citizens.

On this topic, well worth watching is this hilarious rant about guns from Australian comedian Jim Jefferies (from 2014).

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The moral duty of American citizens to vote against Donald Trump

Political theorist (and friend) Julia Maskivker has a recent piece in the Washington Post: “Yes, you do have an obligation to vote for the lesser of two evils. Here’s why.” I think that her position is spot on.

The forthcoming American presidential election will be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It is clear which of these two candidates is the greater evil: the unstable, narcissistic, quasi-fascist Donald Trump. Trump plays to, and is in large part supported because of, the authoritarian impulses and racial resentments of many white American men.

I am no fan of Hilary Clinton. Her foreign policy record is too hawkish for my comfort. And based upon her past positions and ties to Wall Street, I have little confidence that she will pursue genuinely liberal and egalitarian domestic policies, especially within the economic domain. But Clinton is the candidate whom the Democrats have chosen, and whatever her flaws, I cannot comprehend how anyone can deny that she is several worlds more competent than Trump. His destructive and incoherent policy views aside, I find it unimaginable that someone so manifestly unbalanced – a person in the grip of a juvenile ‘dominance’ view of political relations – could have control over the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

There is no grey area in – or room for ‘reasonable’ debate concerning – this US election. American citizens have an overriding moral duty to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president. And voting for Clinton is simply the most effective means that most citizens have to fulfil this duty.