The Anti-Jerk Law

You’ve probably had a boss who was a jerk.  Indeed, you may be working under a jerk of a boss right now.  Question: Would it be a good idea to pass an Anti-Jerk Law to protect workers from these jerky employers?  Like existing employment discrimination laws, the Anti-Jerk Law would allow aggrieved employees to sue their employer for jerkiness – and received handsome compensation if they prove their charge in a court of law. I doubt many people would endorse this Anti-Jerk Law.  On what basis, though, would they object?

“Politically Motivated”

During the Euromaidan protests, journalists routinely described Ukraine’s prosecution and imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko as “politically motivated.”  The phrasing always struck me as odd.  If she were innocent, you’d expect journalists to call the charges “trumped-up” or “false.”  And this “politically motivated” meme is still going strong.*  Which raises a general question: When people dismiss […]

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Impasse

I’ve spent over 30 years arguing about ideas.  During those decades, I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve changed my mind.  I’ve changed minds. Normally, however, arguing about ideas is fruitless.  Tempers fray.  Discussion goes in circles.  Each and every mental corruption that Philip Tetlock has explored rears its ugly epistemic head.  You even lose friends.

Don’t Pickpocket Your Students

Imagine you’re a professor somewhere.  You here rumors of the creation of a new Office of Student Property Security.  “Whatever,” you think. Yet before long, you’re summoned to a brand-new mandatory training session run by certified officers of Student Property Security.  At this session (in-person back in the old days; now Zoom of course), they give you a tortoise-paced 90-minute Powerpoint presentation on the student property crisis and the appropriate faculty response.  And the whole spiel can be readily summarized in a single commandment: “Don’t pickpocket your students.” To me, such a training session would be insulting, pointless, and unhinged.

The Wrong Pieces on the Chessboard

Inspired by a few recent posts, several friends have asked me if I’ve finally “woken up” to the great political threat of wokism.  In particular, they’re hoping that I’m ready to at least back the American right as the clear lesser of two evils. I fear my response is: It’s complicated. From a global point […]

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