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.
I suspect Scott Adams has been playing his listeners. I’ve suspected this for months, but have only discussed this with one person. Until now. I’ll go ahead and tell you now what I think has been going on. I believe he is using the technique of “pacing and leading” to get his “conservative” listeners to change their minds on “climate change” (and a few other topics as well).
The most controversial belief of libertarians (and partisan Libertarians) is the belief that you’re generally both more entitled and more qualified to run your life than someone else is. Who considers that belief controversial? “Mainstream” politicians and their supporters.
When people say they support something, it usually means they want governments to make laws that will advance that thing. Legislation is not like business, or family, or society. Those institutions require persuasion and value creation to get the thing you support to win. Legislation is a different beast. The single feature that distinguishes governments from every other institution is that they initiate violence to back everything they do.
My excellent fellow writer and contributor here at EVC, Kent McManigal wrote a piece recently in which he pointed out that racism is not a permanent affliction. It is only enduring when the holder of racist views continues to stoke that fire.