As some of you already know, due to the kind sponsorship of Thought Broker, I shall be travelling to Australia for the 2nd Australian Libertarian Society Friedman Conference (speaker schedule here) and shall also be sharing a platform with new Freedom Commissioner Tim Wilson at one of Thought Broker’s in-house events (details here).
One of the reasons I’m writing this post – apart from the obvious shameless advertising aspect – is that it was reported to me on Twitter that some people were treating the Thought Broker event as a debate on marriage equality, with presumably either Tim or me speaking in opposition. This is not the case: we both support marriage equality, albeit for different reasons.
In jurisprudential terms, Tim is a ‘rights’ theorist – that is, he thinks that people have rights, and that some of those rights are universal. By contrast, I am a legal positivist, and because I was taught by Joseph Raz at Oxford, I am a fairly hard positivist. I think that any rights humans possess are contingent, that they are human creations, and that they are not universal.
In jurisprudential terms, this is probably the most significant division between legal traditions that there is, and there is no doubt much on which Tim and I may disagree.
But not marriage equality.
2nd ALS Friedman Conference
At the Friedman Conference, I’ll be discussing the various competing (and complementary) theories as to why developed countries both experienced a rise in violent crime (starting in about 1960), followed by an equally rapid decline (starting in about 1990). I freely admit I don’t have the answer(s), but the various theories are fascinating, and reveal as much about the practice of law and the way lawyers think as they do about the reasons for the decline in crime.