Apr 112013

On Wednesday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I interviewed professor John P. McCaskey about “Libertarianism’s Moral Shift.” The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Podcast: 10 April 2013

As the libertarian movement has become more mainstream in recent decades, its justification for liberty has changed. How so – and is that change for the better? Is the libertarian movement today capable of offering a vigorous and compelling defense of liberty?

Dr. John P. McCaskey is an historian of philosophy who spent twenty years in the computer industry before returning to academia. He has been teaching at Stanford University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and most recently in the Political Science department at Brown University.

Listen or Download:


  • What “bleeding heart libertarianism” (BHL)– or rawlsekianism, liberaltarianism, new libertarianism – is
  • why BHL matters
  • What’s new about BHL, as a form of libertarianism
  • The meaning of “social justice”
  • The seeming incompatibility of libertarianism and social justice
  • Why BHLs want to reconcile libertarianism and social justice
  • How BHLs attempt to reconcile libertarianism and social justice: Friedrich Hayek
  • Hayek’s views
  • Hayek + Rawls = BHL
  • BHL verus altruistic defenses of libertarianism
  • The moral assessment of BHL
  • The need to develop a better defense of a win-win world
  • How to talk about how capitalism helps the poor: benefits versus goals
  • The success of BHL
  • The potential effect of BHL on American politics
  • Silver linings and take-home points
  • Rawls’ conception of justice


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Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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