Some Non-Covid Links

by Don Boudreaux on July 8, 2021

in Antitrust, Books, Education, Hubris and humility, Legal Issues, Media, Trade

George Will rightly applauds the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the right of privacy of donors to non-profit organizations. Here’s his conclusion:

Like most fads among political fanatics, today’s cancel culture will recede. Its most lasting effect might be the court’s acknowledgment of it in a precedent that strengthens protections for free political speech. Such speech is never without opponents, who today include most congressional Democrats, with their itch to regulate everything, and their Schumeresque desire to use anti-privacy disclosure regulations to deter speech that displeases them.

Arnold Kling’s review of Andrey Mir’s book Postjournalism prompted me to order that book. A slice:

Mir sees the contemporary online subscription as in large part a donation. The subscriber is supporting a cause. Mir calls this “donscription,” short for donation/subscription.

Subscribing to a preferred media source is like supporting your favorite sports team or the college from which you graduated. Donscribers are not really interested in acquiring information. They want to raise the status of their preferred narrative. “Asking for subscription as donation causes the media to politicize, radicalize and polarize agendas, contributing to general discord in society.”

“The never-released Trump administration report is a reminder that ‘national security’ is usually a bogus reason to impose tariffs” – so reports Eric Boehm. A slice:

Once you’ve established that national security means protecting favored domestic industries, all manner of outright protectionism is allowed via Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962—a flawed law that gives the president broad, unilateral power to impose tariffs on national security grounds.

Jessica Melugin warns of the dangers of antitrust. A slice:

Antitrust intervention suffers from the same problems classical liberal economists have long observed with other government interventions in markets. This includes the “knowledge problem.” Regulators do not have better information than market signals provide.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy decries just how far we Americans have strayed in our ideals from those of America’s founding generation. A slice:

But no actions have been more detrimental to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence than the states enforcing slavery, “black codes,” Jim Crow laws, and other discriminatory rules on minorities while the courts—including the Supreme Court—shut their eyes to the rights violations. This was compounded by the counterproductive war on drugs, with its militarization of the police and a justice system that destroys the lives of thousands of Americans every year, simply because they consume and trade a substance the government disapproves of.

And writing in the Wall Street Journal, Joseph Epstein decries woke culture – a ‘culture’ rooted in ignorance and pregnant with awful tyranny. A slice:

Although the culture war would appear to be over, to surrender to the dreariness of woke culture—which tramples on art, is without intellectual authority, allows no humor, and is vindictive toward those who oppose it—is unthinkable.

George Leef’s proposal makes great good sense: Hold individual colleges officials responsible whenever they violate people’s rights.

David Henderson loves Scott Johnston’s 2019 novel, Campusland.

Joakim Book warns of the tyranny inherent in hubris – hubris that is today in high supply. Here’s his conclusion:

All specific controversies are downstream of a much broader, Smithian and Hayekian problem: the belief that somebody, somewhere, knows better how to arrange the pieces of humanity’s chessboard. You don’t. Believing so is the mind of a tyrant, but somehow we celebrate them for their brilliance and think them enlightened when they propose to centrally plan our lives and our economies.

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