I try to keep track of as much of the left as I can. One part of the left that I enjoy observing — although have never really found myself able to engage with — is the social justice tumblr set. Broadly identitarian feminist in its basic orientation, this set has sprawled out a whole [...]
JW Mason relays a pathetic argument for austerity out in the Financial Times. The basic thrust of the argument, as Mason’s title mockingly summarizes, is that austerity is good for the soul.
Austerity, which here just means having less, will lead to better health by limiting food access. It will promote “common purpose [...]
Note: I use “public goods” in a general sense here as goods provided by the public, whether non-excludable or not.
Arguments about public goods tend to be very sloppy. Advocates for such goods often conflate distributive issues with public provisioning issues, even though the two are conceptually distinct. This is partly what I was getting [...]
The above video is one you see excerpted quite a bit in films and television when points about capitalism or the American economic system are being made. It is a fascinating film on many fronts, but two stand out for me.
First, bits of it are completely vacuous. It is one thing to provide [...]
Anyone residing on the left has heard it many times before. We shouldn’t reform our distributive institutions to achieve our distributive goals; instead, we should keep the present distributive institutions in place and try through individual charity to achieve what we want. That is, don’t tax the rich and feed the poor. Let the rich [...]
The blogosphere is ablaze with discussions of redistribution: who redistributes to who, how much redistribution is happening, and so on. As it is, the discussion is not particularly lopsided. The right-wing can claim we are redistributing to poor folks because of government programs. The left-wing can claim we are redistributing to rich folks because of [...]
The press is having a field day with a secretly taped video of Mitt Romney speaking to high-level donors to his campaign. In the most notable part of the video, Romney blasts half of the country that he is oddly running to represent:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote [...]
Chris Hayes and Kevin Drum have been commenting on the odd phenomenon of Republican politicians constantly invoking the hardship of their parents and grandparents. Almost without fail, GOP politicians reach back as far as they need to in their family history to find some story about someone coming from humble beginnings and doing [...]
I have been following an amusing back-and-forth between Bryan Caplan (I, II, III) and Matt Yglesias about Bastiat’s That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen. Initially, Caplan points out that individuals often support left-leaning economic policies for wrong reasons, and that he [...]
I find left discussions about the younger generation obnoxious for two main reasons. First, generations are diverse and lack unified or coherent interests. As such, you can’t ever really speak of a generation being harmed, only specific elements within a generation being harmed. The opposite is true as well: you can’t speak about a generation [...]