Category Archives: Law

Firms, Cities, States: who has open borders and why?

This is based on a comment I made here. Econblogger Robin Hanson notes that firms and cities have open borders and argues that: So if nations act differently from firms and cities, that should be because either: 1) there are big important effects that are quite different at the national level, than at firm and […]

Montesquieu and the US: explaining the US’s Presidential aberration

That pioneer political scientist Montesquieu‘s theory of the separation of powers was both a very odd take on the English system of government (which he claimed it to be) but also very influential in the drafting of the US Constitution. Listening to a paper on considerations of Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Laws by Louis Althusser and Albert Hirschman, a […]

How to play intersectionality

I recently read, in quick succession, “Whiteness as Property” published in 1993 by Cheryl L. Harris and Kimberle Crenshaw’s 1991 essay “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color” and her 1989 “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics”. The […]

Whiteness is not property: deconstructing critical race theory

This is a long post, in part because I do not have time to write a short one. It is a response to a 1993 Harvard Law Review essay by Cheryl L. Harris arguing for the notion of whiteness as property. I not only critique that claim, doing so gives me an opportunity to demonstrate […]

Islam as philosophical dead end

Classical (622 to c.940) and early medieval Islam was a civilisation and period with a rich philosophical tradition. Yet Islam became a philosophical dead end, an example of how societies, indeed, an entire civilisation, can stop supporting philosophy as a significant autonomous realm of enquiry. Islam is a civilisation where religion swallowed philosophy, with consequences we are still […]

Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements in the High Court

So, y’all would have noticed that I don’t post much on this blog any more, but I still occasionally blog over at Opinions on High, the Melbourne Law School blog covering the decisions of the High Court of Australia, where I am one of the editors (along with Professor Jeremy Gans). I’ve just written a […]

It’s all happening

I’m not usually given to quoting Bill Lawry around these parts, but the last week has been somewhat…busy. For good reason, though. First, the Cato Institute published the entirety of my ‘Author’s Note’ from Kingdom of the Wicked, where – in an attempt to avoid having my writing horribly misinterpreted – I set out how I’d […]

Why I am voting Yes in the SSM postal survey (but won’t be telling anyone else how to vote)

It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me well that I’ll be voting “Yes” in the Same Sex Marriage postal survey. After all, I’m a small-l liberal, non-religious legal academic with many friends in same-sex relationships. I’m the stereotypical “Yes” voter. But I have become increasingly concerned that the “Yes” vote will not win, despite […]

Stop with the projecting

If you assume some factor is behind everything, it is very easy to find it everywhere you look–you just project it onto phenomena. Marxists assumed everything was driven by class dynamics and–surprise, surprise—they found it everywhere they looked. As a friend of mine said to me years ago; Marxist academics didn’t look for evidence, they […]

Public policy: discovery and bargaining or applied knowing?

Is public policy a discovery process which takes into consideration the diverse interests, experiences and perspectives of the political nation (however defined–in a democracy, that is supposed to be the entire citizenry) or is it an engineering problem, an application of applied knowing? There is, of course, a lot of engineering at the implementation level […]