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My colleague Bryan Caplan asks “How evil are politicians?”  Answer: Plenty [2].  A slice:

Second, anyone in a position of political power has a greatly elevated moral obligation to perform this due diligence.  Yes, with great power comes great responsibility [3].  If you’re in a position to pass or enforce laws, lives and freedom are in your hands.  Common decency requires you to act with extreme moral trepidation at all times, ever mindful of the possibility that you’re trampling the rights of the morally innocent.

Note: Neither of these principles claims that politicians have to share my libertarian philosophy [4] in order to be decent human beings.  They’re procedural.  They require every human being to seek out and seriously consider the main moral critiques of the status quo.  And they enjoin politicians to make this intellectual hygiene their top priority.  Until they calmly recuse themselves from their society and energetically weigh a wide range of moral arguments, they have no business lifting a political finger.

At this point, the iniquity of practicing politicians should be clear.  How much time and mental energy does the average politician pour into moral due diligence?  A few hours of year seems like a high estimate.  They don’t just fall a tad short of their moral obligations.  They’re too busy passing laws and giving orders to face the possibility that they’re wielding power illegitimately.

George Leef reviews my colleagues’ Chris Coyne’s and Rachel Coyne’s wonderful – and wonderfully titled – collection, Flaws and Ceilings [5].  A slice:

Moreover, the waste and distortion caused by price control is not limited to visible consequences such as lines of unemployed workers and the disappearance of toilet paper from store shelves. They also drive people away from market competition and into political competition.

Sarah Skwire is right: ISIS Daesh does not get to choose what people call it [6].

George Selgin reflects further on Ben Bernanke’s memoirs [7].

Richard Rahn isn’t impressed by “experts. [8]

Bill Shughart explains some of the politics behind that great geyser of cronyism, the U.S. Export-Import Bank [9].

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