Here’s George Will at his best. He here defends the U.S. Supreme Court’s wrongly ridiculed 1905 Lochner decision, and justly exposes some errors in Chief Justice John Roberts’s Borkian criticism of that decision. A slice:
[Justice Oliver Wendell] Holmes claimed, falsely, that the Lochner majority gave constitutional status to “a particular economic theory,” laissez faire. Actually, it affirmed the United States’ foundational doctrine: Majorities cannot legislate away individuals’ constitutional rights for preposterous or protectionist reasons. Many individuals used the Lochner precedent to challenge, with mixed results, laws declaring women unsuited to practice law or be bartenders, prohibiting interracial marriages, enforcing restrictive real estate covenants, or forbidding black barbers from cutting white children’s hair. Because such laws were enacted by legislatures, they presumptively embodied majority opinions, thereby satisfying Holmes’s dogmatic majoritarianism and pleasing progressives by permitting unfettered government.
My colleague Pete Boettke directs us to Steven Kates’s new essay on the political economy of John Stuart Mill. A slice from Kates:
We seem to have a completely false notion that economic theory moves only forward, that the latest is the best, and that past has been transcended. The reality is that the economics of Mill, even his 1848 first edition, will provide more insight into the operation of an economy than any of the Samuelson clones that have been published to explain what Keynes meant in trying to raise aggregate demand.
Congrats, by the way, to Pete for being chosen as President-elect of the Southern Economic Association! This honor is a significant one for Pete, for GMU Economics, and for the SEA.
George Selgin writes sensibly about Greece and the European Central Bank. Here’s George’s opening:
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing that Greece is being “deprived of fresh Euros” by the ECB, or by the European Commission, or that those bodies are “moving toward cutting off its money supply.” That’s to say nothing of the Greek government’s suggestion that Greece is being “blackmailed” by these authorities.
Such talk seems to suggest that Eurozone members are like so many helpless hatchlings, their outstretched beaks agape in anticipation of the ECB’s regular and solicitous regurgitations of liquid sustenance.