Saturday 26 May 2012

Nozick, Hayek and a little dose of Kant

Having initially been quite enthusiastic for Robert Nozick's ideas in Anarchy, State and Utopia, the prospect of taking a politics course at University focusing on precisely the issues of fairness, the role of the state and the justifications for equality (on different levels) was something I really looked forward to. I was surprised then, to come to the conclusion that I'd been somewhat too keen on Nozick's ideas, with which there are a number of obvious problems. I found particular difficulties reconciling Nozick's jump between a Kantian notion of the rational agent and self-ownership. Though largely a sceptic of utilitarian-type arguments, it certainly left me feeling more receptive towards the pragmatic justifications for an emphasis on the individual in society like those posited by Hayek.

Being at Glasgow University I didn't expect an environment to be receptive to libertarian ideas, but all things considered, discussion was far more constructive than one might expect. There were a few moments where I simply switched off (such as when someone suggested that the Poll Tax brought down the last Conservative government even though they, you know, won again in 1992) but the level of critical engagement, rather than simply fawning hysteria you come to anticipate was pleasing.

I'll probably refine my thoughts on this over the summer and beyond, but if you want to see my initial thoughts, you can find them in the link below:

Click Here

Thursday 24 May 2012

Here Comes the Summer

It's been quite a while since my last post, but now the exams are out the way, third-year is done and the summer weather is here! Plenty news and much to look forward to.

First up I managed to secure a placement at a law firm in Aberdeen over the summer. Having fired off countless applications for summer work it was brilliant to be able to secure something. I was hoping to find something for a fortnight or so but really struck lucky as this placement will run for six weeks and it's being paid to boot.

Not long after that's over I'll be heading off to Belgrade to take part in the European Universities Debating Championships. I eventually got involved in Uni debating this year and wish I'd done so much sooner. After a couple of competitions and internal trials I secured my place and will be debating with Michael Gray (@GrayInGlasgow) who's a smart lad and great lateral thinker. He's also somewhat a perennial blogger on all things Scotland, including on the important constitutional and social questions facing us. Take a look here. In any case it will be an adventure heading to Serbia and with the GUU funding our teams there'll be more Serbian dinars for refreshments...

As soon as I get back from Serbia I'll be going straight into a two week placement at the Law Department of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh. I did a school work experience placement shadowing a few people with the General Trustees a few years ago so it will be good to go back in a more active capacity.

So that's what I've got lined up for the summer. It will be busy but looking forward to it.