ARK3 Returns, The Year 2020, & Changing Statists’ Minds (1h7m) – Episode 353

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.

If the Only Way You Can Get Your Great Idea Implemented…

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.

The Only Thing Stupider Than Your Policy Ideas is Trying to Enact Them

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.

Are You Being Played?

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).

We Need a Substitute for the Word ‘Support’

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.