Notable Commentary

Friday, June 21, 2024

The scrambled chicken jokes aren't quite as funny when one realizes that Alabama law now condones what it incorrectly deems to be murder, on top of an (actual) form of female slavery. (Image by Annushka Ahuja, via Pexels, license.)
"The Alabama law tries to cover up this brazen irrationality by suggesting this murder doesn't deserve punishment -- a travesty used to hide an outrage." -- Ben Bayer, "The Absurdity at the Heart of the Alabama IVF Controversy" (Austin American-Statesman)

"Contemporary ethicists refuse to acknowledge that cheating oneself may have moral valence because they have an artificially narrow conception of ethics." -- Ben Bayer, "The Real Problem With Plagiarism" (Quillette)

"Force is not the only harm other people can inflict on us, but it is a unique harm: it is the only harm that renders us incapable of living according to our own thought and effort." -- Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, "Anti-State is Anti-Freedom, Part 1" (Bet on It)

"In short, if libertarians subordinate might to right, they cease being anarchists -- and if they remain anarchists, they refuse to subordinate might to right." -- Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, "Anti-State is Anti-Freedom, Part 2 " (Bet on It)

"It's precisely because all rights, including the right to free speech, are absolutes that many of these protests are justifiably shut down by the police." -- Onkar Ghate and Ben Bayer, "Ending Campus Protests Protects Free Speech" (Orange County Register )

"[B]ecause we're taught from an early age that 'helping the poor' is our moral obligation, many people support raising the minimum wage because it makes them feel principled -- despite the fact that, economically speaking, it hurts employees, employers and the economy writ large." -- Jonathan Hoenig, "The Minimum Wage Just Went Up in 22 States. Job Numbers Are About to Go Down." (Entrepreneur)

"[S]ome of the current public health problems caused by smoking may diminish over time due the natural evolution of consumer preferences in the free market." -- Paul Hsieh, "E-Cigarettes Can Help Smokers Quit" (Forbes)

"The more that legislators and public officials can freely acknowledge 'I don't know' without guilt or shame, the better they will be able to make policy decisions that affect all of us." -- Paul Hsieh, "How Much Basic Math and Health Statistics Should Legislators Know?" (Forbes)

"I, for one, would rather make up my own mind about what is safest for myself and my children, than have my safety and my options hemmed in by the whims of bureaucrats." -- Gus Van Horn , "Can Regulation Ever Be Reasonable?" (Capitalism Magazine )

"Milei, who's shown signs of intellectual growth, will hopefully continue to help build the necessary governmental institutions to do just that and to be persuaded of the need to rebuild the good, not just tear down the bad." -- Agustina Vergara Cid, "Argentina's Anarcho-Capitalist President Javier Milei Must Build, Not Just Tear Down " (Orange County Register)

"The issue of immigrants and welfare is not fundamentally about immigration, but about the welfare state." -- Agustina Vergara Cid, "The Real Problem With Immigration and Welfare" (Orange County Register )

My Two Cents

I very highly recommend spending the 30 minutes it takes to read the two Brook and Watkins pieces above. They are an excellent review and refutation of current anarchist thinking.

Although Bryan Caplan might not have been persuaded, I think many others might be. More important, the pieces build a good inductive case for limited government, and ably utilize thought experiments to show how and why it is superior to anarchy.

I found the following passage particularly interesting:
Anarchists can offer responses to these criticisms, but they all amount to the claim that anarchy will approximate by "market forces" what a rights-protecting government achieves by design and on principle. And to the extent their responses have any plausibility it is because they imagine their "defense agencies" will act like a government. [bold added]
This species of wishful thinking reminds me of one I noticed decades ago and named the dictator fantasy. Supporters of autocrats often project their wishes and dreams on how their "hero" will behave in power, only to learn the hard way and too late that he has an evil mind of his own, and his conclusions strangely don't match their own.

-- CAV

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