Do bleeding heart libertarians have an argument against statism? My concern is that they do not. Take Mike Rappaport. He writes that “ I have always been a Bleeding Heart Libertarian who is concerned about the effects of liberty on the poor and …  I now base my political views on a utilitarian approach.” This post shows how (1) and (2), taken together, keeps one always open to (3) statism, which Rappaport says is “similar to other negative ‘isms’ like racism and sexism.” (I.e., it’s a bad, bad thing.)
Here’s the problem in a sentence: If (1) bleeding heart libertarianism acquires its moral standing from (2) utilitarianism, which relies on an account of human welfare in terms of pleasures and pains, then bleeding heart libertarianism has no principled argument against (3) statism; it has at best a pragmatic objection.
So we’re clear, Rappaport himself, in “Statism I,” defines statism and decries it. He is not a statist; he is against statism. Agreed.
In this new installment of Liberty Law Talk, I discuss with renowned legal historian John Witte the recent reissuing of his classic work, From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition. I discuss with Professor Witte the evolution of marriage law since the late Roman Empire and the pivotal aspects of the religious, public, and legal duties that were attendant upon marriage in the Roman law and Canon law traditions. The conversation then turns to the increasing role for the state in regulating marriage that emerged with the Protestant Reformation and its own dismissal of marriage…