The anonymous author of the satirical “Homeless Camping in Austin: A Modest Proposal” has also sent me this more serious guest post. The title is mine. “Democratic centralism,” you may recall, is the Leninist practice of demanding strict loyalty to a party line after a (usually perfunctory) debate. Printed with the author’s permission.
Halloween is the perfect holiday for children to discover the humanity of trade. Trick-or-treating may be the main attraction, but the spontaneous candy swap negotiations that occur afterwards are often just as enjoyable and help children learn important economic principles.
Episode 411 welcomes back Dennis Pratt to chat with Skyler on the following topics: the shutdown of Rodger Paxton’s Pax Libertas Productions; his multi-year career writing thoughtful answers to libertarian questions on Quora; New Hampshire’s Free State Project; life and politics in NH; how the locals are responding to the influx of libertarians to NH; what taxes are levied in NH; his involvement in building community centers for NH residents; why all economic regulations are a type of hidden tax; libertarianism as a paradigm shift; respecting cultural diversity among libertarians; slavery reparations as federal land divestments; why everyone is owed reparations by government for its many crimes; the dangers of cultivating and maintaining victimhood mentality; Porcfest, freedom festival; Joe Biden on the minimum wage; and more.
The fact that many people refuse to do what works is a flimsy reason to humor them. And it is a terrible reason to endorse clear-cut errors like, “They just can’t do it.”
Episode 353 welcomes back Alex R. Knight III to chat with Skyler on the following topics: the tumultuous year 2020; coronavirus hysteria; looking forward 10 years and what we should expect; reducing statism through technology instead of ideological persuasion; Kamala Harris’ possible ancestry; what becoming a politician does to people; why voters are rationally ignorant; who’s to blame when democratic government fails; inconsistency in the behaviors we tolerate from other people, government and not; postmodernism; the effectiveness that communist defectors have on getting people in freer countries to see the mistake in pushing for more government; 2020 US presidential election prediction; and more.
I mentioned my dislike of non-political sites dragging politics into their content. When I mentioned this to one of the guilty parties, they said “everything is political“. If that were the case, we’d be living in a dystopia.
Last week, I outlined much of my argument against Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet that I incorporated into our debate, but here are five takeaways from Monday’s discussion.
Economics textbooks are full of clever-and-appealing policy proposals. Proposals like: “Let’s redistribute money to the desperately poor” and “Let’s tax goods with negative externalities.” They’re so clever and so appealing that it’s hard to understand how any smart, well-meaning person could demur. When you look at the real world, though, you see something strange: Almost no one actually pushes for the textbooks’ clever-and-appealing policy proposals.
With the violent crime rate increasing disproportionately in urban communities, it’s no surprise that a recent phone survey of black voters found that 80 percent felt gun violence was an “extremely serious” problem. However, it seems this surge in violence actually has many in the black community changing their views on gun ownership.
It’s one thing to make an argument that more individuals would get greater returns doing X than Y, or that common ideas about economic or cultural value are off base. These are great discussions. But when they move from individuals to aggregates, and especially when they move from exploration or persuasion to policy, they descend into stupidity. Or more precisely, what Hayek called the Fatal Conceit.