My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy is rightly appalled by Marco Rubio’s mix – displayed in the senator’s recent essay in the New York Times – of ignorance, arrogance, and vagueness . A slice from Vero:
It’s astonishing that a senator first elected during the Tea Party rebellion supposes that the details of American society are, or should be, ‘structured’ by Washington. Moreover, he is hopelessly vague. What does he mean, for example, by prizing “financial gains over Main Street investment?” Who is the “we” here? Does he mean that policymakers have allowed the corporate world to structure its activities the way it did without constraints? Or does he mean this has happened because of policymakers’ incentives? Does Rubio distinguish between policymakers consciously arranging for the corporate world to be structured as it is, from policymakers simply keeping aloof and allowing whatever structures the market creates to emerge? And what exactly does he mean by “resiliency?” What does he mean by “efficiency?” How precisely is resiliency at odds with efficiency? Not clear at all, but what is sure is that this vagueness does most of the work for his poorly designed argument throughout the piece.
David Hart issues an urgent call for intellectual change . A slice:
In a crisis people revert to their default moral position, which in the modern world is the cry for “the government to do something.” This, as libertarians know (and perhaps only libertarians know), is a call for the government to use its coercive powers to force people to do certain things (or not do certain things), to tax, to spend, to “stimulate” (distort) the economy, and so on. If people had a different default moral position – that the use of coercion is wrong, that individual rights to life, liberty, and property are “sacred” – then they would not tolerate the government violating these things.