At some point I may institute a weekly post rounding up articles — scholarly or popular — which I find especially interesting (even if I don’t always agree with them). It’d be nice if I had more time to comment on such things, but I have to pick my time investments wisely. Anyway, here we go.
- Richard Epstein, “Setting Krugman Straight,” Defining Ideas – As far removed as I now am from the orbit of Epstein’s classical liberalism (a toned-down version of libertarianism), I can’t deny that reading him and listening to his talks exerted considerable influence over me for nearly half-a-decade. Here Epstein goes after Krugman’s recent panning of libertarianism by defending, from a classical liberal perspective, government agencies such as the FDA and DMV, along with regulatory controls on pollution. Of course, Epstein imagines a much more modest role for government in the economy than even many conservatives, though his positions would certainly be anathema to hardcore Tea Party-types and the folks who linger around the Cato and Mises institutes. In the end, Epstein really isn’t much of a libertarian, or at least not anymore. While some, like Harvard Law Professor Adrian Vermeule, have criticized Epstein for spouting the “same old, same old” in his books, the truth is that there is a pretty significant gulf between the deontological libertarian Epstein of the 1970s and early 80s and the far more moderate socio-economic liberal he is today.
- Paul Campos, “The Law-School Scam,” The Atlantic – Over on the old Opus Publicum I wrote a bit about the nature of contemporary legal education and the systemic problems in both the law school and professional legal markets. In this excellent piece, Campos sets his sights on for-profit law schools and their six-figure degrees which offer little-to-no value to legions of students who probably weren’t qualified to go to law school in the first place. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just a “for-profit problem”; “nonprofit law schools” routinely serve as cash feeders to their parent universities. They, too, have an incentive to over-admit students beyond what the market requires.
- “De Lubac and His Critics Make the Same Error,” Sancrucensis – This post is nearly a month old, but I have only gotten around to reading it this past week. Yesterday’s “common knowledge” that the nature pura debate closed sometime in the 1960s is today’s foolishness. With the rise of a new generation of Catholic theologians disabused of the temptation to make Catholic theology congenial to passing intellectual fads the question of pure nature is back in play, along with some serious rethinking of the concept’s alleged slayer, Henri de Lubac. The more that is (intelligently) written on this topic, the better.