The 'Secret' Matrix

July 01, 2010

If fighting has to be done is it best done with remote controlled aircraft or drones? Some say unmanned planes improve the level of knowledge about targets, while others believe they are flying into serious legal turbulence and risking innocent lives.

Obesity Prevention: A Responsive Communitarian Approach (Part 1)

July 01, 2010

This is the first installment of a two-part post examining the nation's anti-obesity policies through the lens of a responsive communitarian philosophy. 

All Style, No Substance

June 01, 2010

So far, the Obama administration's public diplomacy effort has been a failure. This is surprising because President Obama himself has been highly successful in changing the way the United States defines its position in the world and redefines what it expects from others, especially the follower of Islam. 

Personal Health Records

June 01, 2010

At first blush it would seem that maintaining a personal health record (PHR) has many merits. Almost everyone would want to have health information about themselves readily available in a digital format and completely under their control. They could then make it accessible to anyone else they choose; for example, emergency health personnel or a new specialist physician. Yet only a very small minority of Americans have a PHR, which should not to be confused with electronic health records (EHRs) maintained and controlled by doctors and hospitals.

The Great Entitlement Raid

May 26, 2010

To bail out the banks, and more generally Wall Street, and as a result of their profiteering, the nation faces a great deficit. It is premature to deal with it, but when the time comes, it should not be closed by scaling back social programs and entitlements. Such a way to deal with the deficit would in effect amount to a two-step major wealth transfer from the most vulnerable Americans to the most endowed. (First the funds were given to Wall Street; next they will be taken from the poor and working-class Americans, to cover the shortfalls). There are other sources for reducing government expenditures for new revenues.

Creating a Sense of Community

May 06, 2010

The current crisis in Europe has led many to call for building stronger shared economic institutions and stronger EU governance. Actually what is missing most is a demos, a true sense of community. Binding EU-wide referendums on the same day in all the member states on issues of great importance are needed.

Needed: A Progressive Story

May 05, 2010

In preparing for the 2010 midterm elections, we need a progressive summit, to compose a shared narrative and shared positions. Currently, progressive groups are pulling in different directions, favoring distinct tactics, promoting their own rationales. True, despite all the talk about a "progressive movement," there is no way to cobble the various progressive groups into one coherent force. However, one can find what political philosophers call "overlapping consensuses." That is, instead of seeking one agreed-upon platform and strategy, progressives should identify major points all can agree to promote. 

Can a Nuclear-Armed Iran be Deterred?

May 01, 2010

Increasing evidence that Iran has embarked on a course that will lead it to develop nuclear arms in the near future has reintensified the debate about the ways the world should react to such a danger. 

A New Political Economics--and Political Economy

May 01, 2010

To understand how we got ourselves into the recent near-global economic crisis--and more importantly, how we can protect ourselves from falling into another one--we need a new economics, a political economics.

Obama’s Implicit Human Rights Doctrine

April 28, 2010

During his first year in office, President Barack Obama has outlined a human rights doctrine. The essence of Obama’s position is that the foreign policy of the USA is dedicated to the promotion of the most basic human right—the right to life—above and beyond all others and that the USA will systematically refrain from actively promoting other rights, even if this merely entails sanctions or raising a moral voice. This article details and examines Obama’s position and assesses its normative standing.

Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

April 01, 2010

“Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” Hedgehog Review (Spring 2010), pp. 85-89.

The first thing that must be said about Michael Sandel's book, Justice, is that it is a remarkable educational achievement.

A Humanist Science: Values and Ideas in Social Inquiry

March 01, 2010

“A Humanist Science: Values and Ideas in Social Inquiry,” Law and Society Review 44, No. 1 (March 2010), pp. 185-186.

Philip Selznick provides, in A Humanist Science, a remarkable capstone to a long and outstanding lifetime of scholarly work.

The Normativity of Human Rights is Self Evident

February 01, 2010

Attempts to justify human rights in terms of other sources of normativity unwittingly weaken the case of human rights. Instead these rights should be treated as moral causes that speak to us directly, as one of those rare precepts that are self-evident.

Life: The Most Basic Human Right

January 10, 2010

Not all rights have been created equal. This essay contends that the right to life—broadly understood as a right to be free from deadly violence, maiming, torture, and starvation—is paramount and argues that the unique standing of the right to life has significant implications for public policy in general, and for foreign policy in particular.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: The Moral and Legal Case

January 01, 2010

The substantial increase in the employment of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other arenas has intensified the debate about the moral and legal nature of the targeted killing of people who are said to be civilians.