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.
Despite my skepticism about fairness, I’m in favor of everyone doing their best to make others feel as though fairness is real. There’s really only one way to do this. Just stay out of the way and let everyone exercise their right to choose who to do business with. Both as a provider and as a customer. Don’t infringe anyone’s right of association.
Do the statistics of rare events prove Szasz right? No, but they do tip the evidentiary scales further in his favor. If X almost never happens, basic numeracy urges us to question whether the few purported cases of X are genuine – especially if many of us feel a temptation to claim X regardless of the truth.
I don’t want to be too quick to say last rites over self-driving cars, but fallibility is the Achilles’ heel of the illusion of infallibility. And ideas are far more dependent on popular acceptance than they are upon usefulness.
The lack of skepticism about kinderprison shows how damaging it is. Belief in the legitimacy of governing others is more clear evidence. You don’t need anything else, but you still have the overwhelming ignorance (about every critical subject) and lack of literacy as icing on the cake.
If both sides would strive to acknowledge the respective risks or rewards recognized by the other side, this acrimonious vaccination debate might be elevated to an enlightening discussion from which we all could benefit. I can’t say I’m terribly optimistic about this outcome, though, as it doesn’t seem to be anyone’s primary objective right now.
Let’s assume — purely for the sake of discussion since no evidence has been made public — that the Russians did it. Note, first, that the “it” looks like the product of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. I’m not going to do what Johnstone, Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Maté, and the late Robert Parry have done so well so many times, namely, catalog all the inane acts the Putin-guided Russian intel agencies are said to have committed in order to bring down America. (Start here.) Suffice it to say that if that’s the best Putin can come up with, we have little to worry about.
Once we escape the romanticized view of science, everything gets vastly worse. There are incredibly corrupt incentives that encourage fraud, abuse, and horrible work to be done at every step of the process.
Is American society so fragile that a few “divisive” ads, news stories, commentaries, and even lies — perhaps emanating from Russia — threaten to plunge it into darkness? The establishment’s narrative on “Russian election meddling” would have you believe that.