Personal Liberties

"Is Our Morality Disintegrating?" by John Kekes in Public Affairs Quarterly 1 (January 1987). Kekes argues that changes in modern life reflect a turn from a "monistic" morality to a "pluralistic" morality, not a rejection of morality itself. People pursue different visions of the good life within the framework provided by individual liberty; coheres well with the presentation of "competing utopias" in Robert Nozick's classical liberal work, Anarchy, State, and Utopia.

The Establishment Clause: Religion and the First Amendment, by Leonard W. Levy (New York: Macmillan, 1986). Levy surveys the history of church-state relations in America and shows why and how church and state are intended to be separate.

Dealing with Drugs: Consequences of Government Control, ed. by Ronald Hamowy (Camridge, Mass.: Ballinger, 1987). A collection of essays by law enforcement personnel, physicians, historians, economists, and others on the effects of drug prohibition; a convincing case for legalization.

Vices Are Not Crimes, by Lysander Spooner (1875; reprinted in The Lysander Spooner Reader, ed. by George H. Smith [San Francisco: Fox & Wilkes, 1992]). A leading nineteenth century abolitionist, temperance advocate, and libertarian argued against legal prohibition of alcohol; the strong moral case for liberty and toleration has lost none of its force in the intervening years.

The American Family and the State, ed. by Joseph Peden and Fred Glahe (San Francisco: Pacific Institute, 1986). A collection of essays on the ways the state has intervened in family life; critical of both "secular humanists" and "fundamentalists" who seek to use the state to impose their vision of the good society on others.

Sex and Reason, by Richard Posner (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992). Posner, a law professor and federal judge, looks at laws governing sexual behavior and concludes, largely on utilitarian grounds, that individual rights and self ownership should be the rule.

The Economics of Prohibition, by Mark Thornton (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1991). Thornton shows how prohibition leads to criminality and gives organized violence a comparative advantage in supplying prohibited substances. As Thornton demonstrates, the murder rate in the United States dropped for eleven consecutive years after the repeal of prohibition of alcohol; basically the same result could be expected following the repeal of narcotics prohibition.

Bargaining with the State, by Richard Epstein (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). This work examines the threats to liberty that arise through the power of the state selectively to distribute benefits and favors, ranging from licenses to tax exemptions, art subsidies, abortion funding, and much else.

Our Right to Drugs, by Thomas Szasz (New York: Praeger, 1992). The renowned pro- liberty psychiatrist provides strong arguments for legalization, including much fascinating historical material.

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