The Definition of Libertarian: What Is Libertarian?

Reade This Landmark Book, A Most Comprehensive Survey of a Divers and Formidable Moovement in Politikal and Philosophical Thought:


The Ron Paul Revolution in Retrospect

The Rand Paul Revolution?

The Tea Party Movement

The Libertarian Party

The Free State Project

The Seasteading Movement

The Austrian Economists

The Anarchists

The Voluntaryists: Stefan Molyneux and Peaceful Parenting

The Agorists: Market Alternatives as Subversion

Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

The Ronald Reagan Revolution

The Crypto-Anarchists: Digital Currency and 3D Printed Guns

WikiLeaks and the Power of Disclosures

The Beltway Libertarians: Think Tanks

State Sovereignty Libertarians

The Psychological Libertarians

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why We Incarcerate: Four Theories of Criminal Detention

From the most recent article at my CAIVN column:

As Californians work together to reform a prison system with costs spiraling out of control, it is simply not enough to mouth tired old talking points and bromides. What we need is a very serious- almost philosophical- discussion about the role prisons should play in a society. Part of the confusion and contention over the best solutions may stem from deeper differences in belief that many Californians may not have even considered.
To use a brief illustration: Aristotle wrote that if we want to determine if a thing is good or not, we have to determine its function first, and then we can see if it carries out its function well. Because the purpose of a knife is to cut, he argues, a good knife is a knife that cuts well.
It would seem however, that in many discussions of prison reform, journalists, bloggers, and opinion columnists seem to take for granted one or another view of the prison system's purpose, without stopping to explicitly identify and defend that view. So let us review four competing (though by no means mutually exclusive) theories:

Read the whole thing here.


  1. I'm of the opinion, with little or no proof to sustain me, that restitution towards the victim by the criminal would be more effective than incarceration at both restoring the victim to his pre-crime condition and at preventing future crimes by that same criminal who would be hesitant to repeat his costly act.

  2. How do give back innocence after rape.....how do you give back peace of mind after being robbed at gun point.....how do you give back life after murder...???