Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 11, 2016

On Money, God, and Dogmatic Liberalism: A Reply to my Critics

Michael Blake


Darrel Moellendorf, David Owen, and Lea Ypi have offered some subtle and powerful criticisms of the view I defend in Debating Brain Drain. I here focus on two broad category of criticism. The first is that my use of metaphor is faulty. I try to demonstrate that the right to emigrate is similar in moral strength to the right to freely exercise one’s religion, and not morally akin to the (non-existent) right to be free from paying taxes. I defend the proposition that the taking of money from people is morally distinct from the taking of time; we have reason to regard the latter sort of taking as more difficult to justify. The second category of criticism focuses on the theoretical assumption of my view, and argues that the liberalism I endorse begs important questions: it might be at such a high level of abstraction that it cannot answer the most important questions of political ethics, or it might assume so much about the nature of liberalism that it is dogmatic and unpersuasive. I argue, in response, that a political theory need not answer all political questions in order to be of use, and that the insistence on liberal rights represents not dogma but valid moral concerns.

Published Online: 2016-3-11
Published in Print: 2016-4-1

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