Ronald Dworkin on Free Will

Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Musings | No Comments

In Justice for Hedgehogs, Dworkin’s latest installment in a lifelong series of books on interpretation, he writes the following in a chapter titled “Free Will and Responsibility,” “we might think that the fact of our consciousness itself, together with the phenomenal challenge of lives to lead, itself gives us all the dignity we need or […]

Brooks Compliments One Strain of Determinism With Another

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 in Musings | No Comments

In his Valentines Day Column (, David Brooks relies on recent social science scholarship to inveigh against economic determinism. Brooks argues that economic determinism inadequately explains the “weakening of the social fabric.” He recounts that neo-conservatives had attributed social deterioration to cultural factors while market libertarians had blamed large government for the same. Diagnosing the […]

Minnesota Rebuts Electoral Determinism

Posted by on Feb 9, 2012 in Musings | No Comments

After outspending Rick Santorum by a ratio of 40:1, Mitt Romney garnered a paltry 17% of the vote to Rick Santorum’s almost 45% in Minnesota. Similarly in Missouri, Romney scraped 25% to Santorum’s sweeping 55.2%. Again in Colorado, Romney won under 35% to Santorum’s 40.3%. Perhaps electoral determinism should account for more than the influence […]

Advertising Mogul Leo Burnett Reflects on Choice

Posted by on Jan 5, 2012 in Musings | No Comments

In December 1958, advertising executive Leo Burnett — responsible for Jolly Green Giant, Tony the Tiger, and Marlboro Man — sent this memo to all staff within his agency, underlining their unwritten duty to try the products they advertise and on which they depend for a salary: December 16, 1958 TO: THE ORGANIZATION FROM: Leo […]

The EU Member States Were Free to Join; Are They Free to Leave?

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in Musings | No Comments

The European Union comprises 27 member states that all joined, it can be argued, of their own volition, and for largely political reasons. Finland, Austria, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, and 21 others, chose to abandon the markka, schilling, lira, drachma, escudo, koruna, and 21 other currencies and joined the EU after weighing the benefit of […]

Not the People, nor the Courts, nor the Legislature, but the Market, ousts Silvio Berlusconi: Are Italians Free to Choose?

Posted by on Nov 11, 2011 in Musings | No Comments

Before Silvio Berlusconi’s decision to resign, his opponents had mounted efforts against him on multiple fronts. They had used the judiciary, the legislature, and the streets. In the judiciary, his opponents challenged his ethical fitness. They sued him for tax fraud, fraudulent accounting, corrupting judges, and a series of sexual harassment allegations, including statutory rape. […]

Choice in Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy

Posted by on Oct 29, 2011 in Musings | No Comments

Joseph Schumpeter’s Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy is his most widely-read book. In it, he predicts capitalism’s destiny, concluding that under a parliamentary democracy, it will inevitably wilt under the influence of regulations and the anti-capitalist intellectual climate it spawns. Ultimately, Schumpeter observes, a flowering of social democracies will rise out of the ashes of western capitalism. In Part […]

Choice In Occupy Wall Street: Part II

Posted by on Oct 17, 2011 in Musings | No Comments

In his recent column The Milquetoast Radicals, David Brooks suggests that the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement is predestined by the collapse of Soviet-style nationalization in 1991. It’s predetermined to demand reform but not radical transformation. Its participants know the perils of state-led capitalism, the repeated failure of Communist 5-year plans, and the impracticability of worker-run and […]

Posted by on Oct 15, 2011 in Musings | No Comments

Great first week of book events!  Porter Square Books, the ACS Event at the Bell in Hand (thanks — ACS Boston Lawyers’ Chapter & BU Student Chapter!), and the Thursday night lecture at the Social Law Library.  Looking forward to Florida State, Wharton, and Drexel next week. A photo from the social law library event:

The Herman Cain Blame Game

Posted by on Oct 14, 2011 in Musings | No Comments

Have a new postover at Huffington Post:  The long and the short of it is that Cain should stop blaming the victims of the economic downturn for bad choices, when many people are in dire straights not because of choices they made but because of choices others made.