Archives

Sgt. Larry J. Isbell, representing the National Guard, watches his firing lane for targets. This photo is copyrighted by the U.S

Who Causes Civilian Casualties?

October 30, 2015

Here we go again, fighting with an arm tied behind our back. American officials say U.S. and allied warplanes "are not striking significant, and obvious, Islamic State group targets out of fear that the attacks will accidentally kill civilians," according to the New York Times. 

Self Determination: The Democratization Test

October 23, 2015

Self Determination is the process by which people, who are governed by a foreign power, gain self government. Often the people first form a sense of community - a sense of a shared identity, destiny, and core values - and then seek to invest those in a state, forming a nation. The term self determination is also used to refer to the normative principle that is evoked to justify breaking away from the old regime to form a new one. 

The Standing of the Public Interest

October 12, 2015

Liberal communitarianism holds that a good society is based on a carefully crafted balance between individual rights and the common good; that both normative elements have the same fundamental standing and neither a priori trumps the other. Societies can lose the good balance either by becoming excessively committed to the common good (e.g., national security) or to individual rights (e.g., privacy). 

Person with a megaphone

Right Does Not Make It Right

September 29, 2015

A crucial difference exists between the right to say the most awful things—to use the N-word, deny the Holocaust, advocate for the Islamic State—and the rightness of saying these things. It is the difference between a constitutional right to free speech and what we consider morally appropriate speech. 

Freedom of Navigation Assertions: The United States as the World’s Policeman

September 10, 2015

In line with its ‘‘Freedom of Navigation’’ program, the United States conducts ‘‘operational assertions’’ by sending naval vessels to violate what it considers to be the excessive maritime claims of other states. Efforts have been made to legitimate this program to the public and elected officials on both liberal and realist grounds: Freedom of navigation is an important component of the liberal international order while also central to the exercise of U.S. naval power. However, it does not follow that military assertions, which create a security risk and are inconsistent with liberal principles, should take precedence over diplomatic and multilateral steps. Rather, the program has faced little scrutiny to date due to its relative obscurity.

Self-determination: The Democratization Test

August 11, 2015

Self-determination is the process by which people, who are governed by a foreign power, gain self-government. Often the people first form a sense of community—a sense of a shared identity, destiny, and core values—and then seek to invest those in a state, forming a nation (defined as a community invested in a state). The term self-determination is also used to refer to the normative principle that is evoked to justify breaking away from the old regime to form a new one.

The Democratisation Mirage

July 23, 2015

One is reluctant to publish an essay that suggests that the families who lost their loved ones in Afghanistan and Iraq (as well as in Vietnam) – and the even larger numbers who have been maimed there – made these sacrifices in vain. As a former combatant, I know this grief closely. However, a clear-eyed view might prevent even more bloodshed and grief. 

“NSA: National Security vs. Individual Rights”, Reviewed by Glenn Hastedt, James Madison University

June 29, 2015

In “NSA: National Security vs. Indivdiual Rights,” Amitai Etzioni examines a challenging set of questions surrounding the existence of National Security Agency’s (NSA) clandestine data collection programs including whether the threat to national security justify them, whether the programs are effective, to what extent they may violate the privacy of Americans, whether such programs are in line with the Constitution and laws, and whether there is sufficient accountability of oversight of these programs.

Americans Have a Strong Sense of "Economic Insecurity"

April 09, 2015

A recent nationwide survey shows that a majority of Americans worry about paying for retirement, affording health care, and losing their job. Retirement raises the most concern, as more than 60 percent of Democrats, independents, and Republicans are concerned about having enough money to retire or having Social Security available throughout their retirement. On all measures of economic security, women and those without a college education are the most concerned.

Old Cash Register: Image Credits to Jo Jakeman

Older Americans: The New Normal Avant-Garde

April 01, 2015

Many Americans have called into question the thesis that contentment is found in the affluent way of life and have instead embraced simplicity and “transcendental pursuits.” This article examines this trend among older, retired Americans and advances the argument that they provide a strong living example of the association between less income, communitarian culture, and happiness.

Sociological Forum journal cover

The Moral Effects of Economic Teaching

March 11, 2015

Over the past 2 decades, dozens of studies have explored the relationship between exposure to economics and antisocial behavior.

Small Wars & Insurgencies Journal

COIN: A study of strategic illusion

March 11, 2015

Has the US military become a learning institution, one able to transition from relying on a conventional war model to fighting against irregular adversaries such as insurgents and terrorists? This article examines the United States' interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan in an effort to respond to this question.

Journal of Political Ideologies Cover

Communitarianism Revisited

January 02, 2015

This article provides a retrospective account and analysis of communitarianism. Drawing upon the author’s involvement with the political branch of communitarianism, it attempts to summarize both the history of the school of thought as well as its most prominent ideas. These include the communitarian emphasis on the common good; the effort to find an acceptable balance between individual rights and social responsibilities; the basis of social order; and the need to engage in substantive moral dialogues. The article closes with a discussion of cultural relativism according to which communities ought to be the ultimate arbitrators of the good and a universalistic position.