It is customary to lament, at libertarian gatherings, that we are relatively unsuccessful, as a movement, because we do not pay enough attention to pop culture and lack people who could master it. Well, such criticisms may be correct but scholars or political activists cannot turn themselves into novelists or movie makers only because they wish so, as these professions require very different talents. But scholars can take pop culture seriously and seriously analyse it. Paul Cantor did that, and I hope many will follow his example.
Bryan Caplan writes about the “Unforgivable Heuristic.” (DBx: Here’s a challenge to readers more creative than me – which is to say, to nearly all readers: Write lyrics, inspired by Bryan’s post, for a song called “Unforgivable” and sung to the tune of “Unforgettable.”)
It’s National Grammar Day! (DBx: I’m a bit more forgiving than is Mark Perry for mistaking “it’s” for “its.” The reason is that apostrophe s typically is used to signify possession – as in “Carpe Diem is Mark’s blog.” And so when someone incorrectly writes, for example, “Look at it’s tail,” that person deserves a bit of leniency. That said, I agree that a professional writer or scholar should know the difference between “its” and “it’s” and use “it’s” only as the contraction for “it is.”)
My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy explains that any response by the U.S. government to Putin’s vile invasion of Ukraine is destined to be weakened by the U.S. government’s fiscal incontinence. A slice:
Politically, of course, there’s a lot of blame to go around. Politicians of all stripes long ago stopped caring about ballooning spending and growing indebtedness. It was particularly enlightening to see Republicans give up all past pretenses to care the moment former President Donald Trump announced he wouldn’t touch Social Security and Medicare.
Yet even in a turbulent time, we must face the reality that the debt does matter. As the Hoover Institution’s John Cochrane noted recently, big borrowing has to be followed by big consequences like big spending cuts, big tax increases, big inflation, or worse, a big debt crisis. It will also be followed by greater difficulty in responding to emergencies like the one in Ukraine.