Five odds and ends today:
1) My discussion “The Legal Foundations of Individualism,” which I presented as a talk at the annual Telos conference in January, is now available on TELOSscope. As I explain at the start of the piece: “I’ll be addressing two questions about democracy raised by our conference description: first, ‘the reasons for its rarity and volatility’; and, second, ‘the factors that are essential for its stability.’ For each question, I’ll try to provide a concise, mildly provocative answer from my perspective as a writer and scholar about constitutional law and comparative legal history.”
Regarding the first question, “why is democracy so rare and volatile,” I write: “I think one answer we could give to this question is that democracy is volatile because the modern self is a legal achievement. There is nothing outside of law, including individual subjectivity.”
2) ICYMI (in case you missed it): the forum last month about The Rule of the Clan on Cato Unbound was really interesting—and great fun. I was very fortunate to have three thoughtful commentators from different parts of the political spectrum engage with my work: libertarian blogger Arnold Kling, American Conservative editor Daniel McCarthy, and Yale Law School professor John Fabian Witt. There were also many lively comments from readers. The editor of Cato Unbound, Jason Kuznicki of the Cato Institute, posted his own very interesting response on the website Ordinary Times, speaking to some debates within libertarian theory.
3) There were a number of responses to the Cato Unbound forum in various corners of the blogsphere, including an especially interesting discussion on The Sweep, which published another post today that comes into dialogue with my work.
4) My lead essay on Cato Unbound is now available in Spanish on La Tercera Cultura. There seem to be a number of interesting comments en español. To the translator and editors: abrazos!
5) This coming week I’ll be speaking at the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues at Dickinson College. My fellow panelists will be Prof. Carol Horning of the U.S. Army War College, Prof. Erik Love of the Sociology Department at Dickinson, and Prof. Andrew Wolff of the Dickinson Political Science Department. Earlier that day I’ll be speaking to one of Prof. Horning’s classes on international development at the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute.
6) Totally apropos of nothing I’ve discussed above: I’m looking forward to spending the weekend at a course on wilderness first aid sponsored by the Appalachian Mountain Club. If any of my readers have taken one of SOLO’s wilderness first responder courses, do let me know. See you on the trails!