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About ProSocial Libertarians:

A view like that (re)developed and encouraged on the Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog (BHL, 2011-2020) is needed in the blogosphere, in academia, and in our broader culture. This blog will provide that—a classical liberal view that maintains a clear and unapologetic concern for the plight of the less fortunate—at a point in time when it seems the world is finally being forced to take those concerns seriously. Importantly, we’ll do so in a way meant to encourage greater civil dialogue. We hope to provide a counter to the sound bite culture so prevalent in contemporary media; we do so in order to provide greater understanding—both to our readers and to ourselves.

Started by a former member of the BHL blog, we began by calling ourselves Radical Classical Liberals, but realized a better name: ProSocial Libertarians. We are academics with an interest in encouraging more informed, reasoned, and civil discourse outside academia as well as inside. We are political philosophers and theorists who take the original classical liberals—thinkers like John Locke, Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill—as intellectual heroes. Much of what you’ll see on these pages will be libertarian takes on issues of social justice; much will be about civil discourse. You are likely to encounter arguments for specific views that one or more of us think follow from our classical liberal commitments. We may also argue with each other about these. 

Our hopes for the blog are varied. They include showcasing the attractiveness of dynamic markets and anti-authoritarian solutions to contemporary problems, how these are often the best hope for those concerned with issues of deprivation, exclusion, and subordination, and how, far too often, government solutions are more pretense than substance. We are all concerned to show how freedom (we may disagree about what that is) goes hand in hand with prosperity for all. Putting that differently, we all recognize the value of markets and social justice on some understanding that recognizes (minimally) the basic moral equality of all human adults. Within that framework, our opinions are likely to vary considerably. 

We hope to appeal to those who are curious about moral, legal, political, and social thought. While we all have our own existing biases, we hope to be able to bracket our prior beliefs and argue from acceptable premises to important conclusions—all with respectful and reasoned discussion. No doubt you will sometimes disagree with us. We hope to remain intellectually honest, open-minded, and charitable—and to show the value of those virtues.

The tag line for PSL is “Owning Civil Discourse and Social Justice.” To our way of thinking, we do own both.  (For more on this, see this post by Andrew; for more about PSL generally, see this post by Jim; for more about our libertarianism, see this post by Andrew). That’s because we, like BHLs and so-called Rawlsekians or liberaltarians, are concerned with the plight of the less fortunate and because we see points of agreement and disagreement with people in both of the dominant parties—and elsewhere (including the dominant ideologies)—and are willing to honestly debate the issues on the merits.  That last is sorely missing in contemporary discourse and we want to help improve that.  To do so, we will be maintaining some of the rules from RCL; namely:

1. While we will likely criticize the views of others and/or their work, when we do, we will remain civil.

2. Trolls and obnoxious commenters may be banned, but only by a majority vote of the group.

3. We won’t have posts that are mere links to something posted elsewhere.  We might post a link to something someone else wrote, along with commentary about it. We may also have posts that serve to “round-up” links to several things others have written that we think you would be interested in. We may have posts from other Substacks cross-posted

4. We’ll try to space out posts, time wise.

5. Each of us will have our own default regarding comments, but if we allow comments, we reserve the right to delete unproductive comments.  Generally speaking, the point to deleting a comment will be to prevent incivility from escalating.  

Note: PSL is an Amazon Affiliate. We receive a small commission if you purchase from Amazon when a link on our pages leads you there. We do not make a profit from this program. The commission is used to offset the cost of maintaining and improving the blog; any excess is donated to charity.

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Owning Civil Discourse and Social Justice


Philosophy Prof & Director of GSU's PPE Program, author of Toleration (2014), Toleration & Freedom from Harm: Liberalism Reconceived (2018), now finishing a book intended as an instruction manual for civil discourse. (See www.AndrewJasonCohen.com.)
I am a recovering Philosophy professor transitioning to a new life as a homebuilder and AirBnb host. In past lives, I have also been a bookstore owner, an attorney, and a stay-at-home dad.
Academic philosopher with an interest in the moral limits of markets, and the ethics of academic research.