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George Will exposes the shallowness, economic ignorance, and pretensions of market-skeptic Republicans such as the U.S. senator from Missouri Josh Hawley [2]. A slice:

William F. Buckley once described [3] a friendly intellectual adversary as a pyromaniac in a field of straw men. Through the smoke of burning straw one can see in Hawley’s social diagnosis the belief, held by many progressives and an increasing number of conservatives, that individualism, as expressed in and enabled by capitalism, is making Americans neither better off nor better.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy is as sickened as she is unsurprised by the continuing failure of government subsidies to achieve their advertised goals [4]. A slice:

A new paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by Cailin Slattery of Columbia University and Owen Zidar of Princeton University looks at state and local business tax incentives and finds yet again that narrow, firm-specific tax breaks aimed at attracting businesses and boosting employment aren’t the way to go. The study shows that larger, more profitable companies are more likely to get bigger handouts. The largest deals benefit the recipients, according to their research, but not the overall state economy. Lower-income states also tend to be more generous with their handouts, only to jack up the cost per job created, sometimes up to as much as $400,000 per job.

Also detailing a cronyist flop is Chris Edwards [5].

Jonah Goldberg has a timely and wise warning for his fellow American conservatives [6]. Here’s his conclusion:

That’s what happens when you give in to tribalism: It starts to make sense. It even starts to feel natural—in part because it is natural. But part of what it means to be a conservative is understanding that not everything that is natural is good and not everything that is unpopular is wrong.

Megan McArdle riffs on Ricky Gervais’s recent opening remarks at the Golden Globes ceremony [7]. A slice:

Hypocrisy isn’t the worst vice, but it is one of the most grating, especially from them. The people on that stage are already better looking than most mere mortals, and richer, and more famous, and better loved. But somehow that isn’t enough; they also want credit for being more moral than everyone else, and there they cross the line.

Speaking of hypocrisy, here’s Eric Boehm on the astonishing special pleading of manufacturing executive Robert Wetherbee [8].

Jeffrey Tucker weighs in eloquently on Tyler Cowen’s recent call for libertarians to focus on “state capacity. [9]” A slice:

There is nothing hollow about the idea that people should be free, that people should expect to live good lives without having their volition and property invaded by public officials who know much less about real life than the people actually living it. It is for this reason that society should be left alone to take its own course of evolution. This is the path to peace, prosperity, and progress. This is the real libertarian position. It’s a broad conviction that has more presence in today’s world than any point in the last century.

Becoming a libertarian doesn’t mean leaving your humanity behind; on the contrary, it means embracing it fully and believing that the potential of a free life on earth is far from fully realized.

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