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Call Me a Dim-Witted Faux-Populist Moralist

I applaud, loudly, Bob Murphy’s condemnation of some ethical precepts advocated by Matt Yglesias as well as by Josh Barro.

In doing so, I’m quite aware that such applause strikes many “Progressives” as evidence of an unimaginative and philosophically naive mind.  It’s so passé to advocate holding strict to codes of honesty, respecting other people’s property rights, and honoring both the letter and the spirit of the contracts to which you voluntarily agree.  (Yglesias labels disgust expressed in reaction to those who do not hold fast to such codes of honesty “dim-witted faux-populist moralistic outrage.”)

I’ve posted this essay at the Cafe several times before; it’s the one I wrote after my mom died in 2008.  I guess my mom was a dim-witted faux-populist subject to moralistic outrage whenever she encountered people taking what is not theirs – such as when I, as a five-year-old child, helped myself to some of our neighbor’s rubber bands.  I’m glad that my mother taught me to be also a dim-witted faux-populist subject to such outrage.  It’d be far better if my mother’s bourgeois morality were more widely practiced in place of the sort of morality advocated (and at least in the case of Yglesias, also practiced) by hip pundits.


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