Over at the Austro-Athenian Empire blog, Dr. Long has posted a discussion of the proper definition of "socialism," entitled "POOTMOP Redux!" (after an older post, "Pootmop!," in which he discussed private ownership of the means of production -- p.o.o.t.m.o.p.). If you want some background on the post, read Kevin Carson's initial contribution to the discussion, "Socialism: A Perfectly Good Word Rehabilitated," and Stephen Kinsella's response, "The New Libertarianism: Anti-Capitalistic and Socialist." I should point out for the time-starved, however, that Dr. Long's post is probably just fine on its own.
I've posted a fair amount in the comments section of the post, and Neverfox of Instead of a Blog has jumped in as well. Of interest as well may be Dr. Chartier's thoughtful contribution on the LiberaLaw blog, "Socialism Revisited," as well as Brainpolice's commentary on the Polycentric Order blog, "Anarchist and Socialist Semantics and Historicity (Or, Why Does Stephan Kinsella Act As If Individualist Anarchism Never Existed? Redux)."
The other interesting conversation going on at the moment is a new chapter in the debate over state involvement in marriage, this time with a post on the ThinkMarkets blog by Dr. Rizzo, "What Should Be The State’s Role In Marriage?." The time scale for this discussion is a bit longer than that for the previous one. For me, it started with an overconfident post on this blog last year, now-amusingly entitled, "Open and Shut: Should Same-Sex Marriage Be Legal?" In it, I argued that the state should get out of marriage entirely in order to avoid a choice between discrimination and offending religious groups who I took to have some legitimate claim to the institution of "marriage." (That post, incidentally, marked the one and only time that this blog has ever been linked to on The Huffington Post. Go figure.)
A few months later, Dr. Koppl posted his own discussion of the issue over at the ThinkMarkets blog, "Ideas Have Consequences," in which he argued that gay marriage should be legalized. In the comments section of that post, we had what I found to be an incredibly productive conversation in which he convinced me that the religious groups in question really did not have the kind of claim to the institution of marriage that I had attributed to them, and that having a legal understanding of "marriage" was quite valuable. I accordingly posted a follow-up on this blog in which I conceded the argument to Dr. Koppl, entitled, "Roger Koppl Is Right About Gay Marriage."
Dr. Rizzo's point intriguingly takes up the banner for the sort of position I initially defended, arguing that the government ought to get out of defining marriage altogether. In the comments section, I tried to draw attention to the conversation that had already taken place on the blog earlier this year, and eventually Dr. Koppl himself arrived on the scene to defend his position again. Gene Callahan of Crash Landing, the (now willfully abandoned!) Morality Debate, chance meetings at AIER, etc., has also joined in the discussion. This should be good!