I just got back from a five-week visit to Spain. The first four weeks, I was teaching labor economics at Universidad Francisco Marroquín while my sons took Spanish-language classes on Islamism, Self-Government, and the Philosophy of Hayek. Then we rented a van and saw Cordoba, Seville, Gibraltar, Fuengirola, Granada, and Cuenca.
I heard someone say if you pursue any field of study deep enough you arrive at mystery. Yet the popular scientistic outlook is the opposite of mysterious. It presents a cocksure, “Everything’s settled but the details, and someone in a lab in Sweden is working those out as we speak”. What kind of invitation to inquiry is that? Where’s the adventure?
When a country is mired in poverty, violent revolution is the most emotionally appealing remedy. So cinematic. Since the powers that be almost never agree, any call for violent revolution is, in practice, a call for civil war. But how well does the “remedy” of civil war actually work?
I just finished re-watching the entirety of The Sopranos, HBO’s classic Mafia drama. I saw it season-by-season when it originally aired (1999-2007), and I still hew to the allegedly philistine view that the ending was not only bad, but insulting. Overall, though the show’s reputation is well-deserved. Here are the top social science insights I take away.
Scott Adams says the observation that “carbon dioxide is plant food” is a terrible argument– an “embarrassing opinion”– for AGCC skepticism. He’s wrong. Here’s why.
I am skeptical of everything. In fact, I’m skeptical of my own claim that I’m skeptical of everything. I’m probably wrong; there’s most likely something I’m not skeptical of… but I need to be.
Personally, I don’t think social occasions are any place for politics. Yet politics will crop up in the most devious ways and in the least appropriate places. Having a libertarian in the mix helps unite all the pro-government people against the one who can’t embrace their government extremism. It’s our sacrifice for the cause of world peace.
As bad as partisanship’s reputation may be, bipartisanship is far worse. When working together, the old, fossilized political parties make it clear it isn’t “The Right” vs. “The Left;” it’s government colluding against the rest of us.
To everyone who gets triggered or offended by words, take some advice from the ancient Stoic philosophy: recognize your own complicity in how you react to what you hear other people say or read what they write.
I’ve known Tyler Cowen for 25 years. Straussian misreadings notwithstanding, I assure you that he has little patience for open borders and even less for my brand of pacifism. But given the general moral theory that he embraces in his new Stubborn Attachments, it’s hard to see why Tyler doesn’t already agree with me.