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Almost All Expression Can Serve Useful Ends

Comes this e-mail from Cafe patron Kelly Rasmussen:

Do you and Professor Roberts ever get discouraged by the commenting of George Belala, Larry Gross, and Jamie Newman? These guys make me want to stop reading your comments section.

I can speak only for myself and not for Russ, but my answer is no.  Of course, I find their comments to be poorly informed, inconsistent, and illogical.  I find in those comments also a disquieting indifference to the risks of concentrated political power and a distressing refusal to read with open-mindedness any arguments that challenge their worldview.  But as long as these commenters (as with any other commenters) do not resort to libelous or vulgar statements, they are welcome to continue to share their thoughts here at the Cafe.

A large part of the audience here at the Cafe are high-school and college students.  I confess that I typically rejoice a bit whenever one or more of those three commenters weighs in because I imagine the Cafe’s young patrons reading those comments and thinking to themselves “Well, if this is the best that the champions of government power have to offer against the case for free markets and individual liberty, then the case against free markets and individual liberty is indeed extraordinarily shallow and weak.”

Obviously, the arguments offered here by Messrs. Balella, Gross, and Newman are far from being the most powerful and best informed arguments against free markets and individual liberty.  I trust – and sincerely hope – that the Cafe’s young patrons will encounter in various places and from various sources the best of the best arguments against the positions that Russ and I offer here at the Cafe.  But because the comments routinely written by Messrs. Balella, Gross, and Newman are rather typical of the uninformed, if well-intentioned, man-in-the-street reactions to the case for free markets, I regard it to be useful and educational for the Cafe’s patrons – especially the young patrons – to encounter these arguments here in direct response both to my and Russ’s posts and to the comments of other, better-informed commenters.


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