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Christian Britschgi interviews my GMU Econ colleague Bryan Caplan about his – Bryan’s – new book, Build, Baby, Build.

Mike Munger speculates insightfully on why young people today are so hostile to capitalism. A slice:

While it’s true that America’s education establishment has been taken over by economically illiterate ideologues, something in the mindset of young people of the past two generations has made them think that capitalism is not (just) immoral, but terrifyingly dangerous.

The odd thing is that our children are the among the richest people who have ever turned 5 years old. Since the mid-1990s, with a stumble in 2007-2012 for the “Great Recession,” median family income rose steadily until the government-mandated shutdown of the economy in March 2020. In fact, so-called Millennials stand to become by far “the richest generation” ever.  Millennials and Gen Z have never known anything except prosperity, in terms of the level of their income, and their access to things — cell phones, the internet, streaming music and movies on demand, improvements in auto safety — that as recently as 1990 could not be had at any price.

This seems paradoxical. The commercial system has delivered, consistently and broadly shared across the population. Yet having to participate in a system where one plans, saves, invests, and designs an individual “pursuit of happiness” is overwhelming the very people who should be grabbing all the new opportunities that the system has revealed to them.

I think the explanation for the paradox is simple: Everything difficult has been banished. Just as our physiological immune system needs threats to mature and avoid attacking itself, our sense of commercial efficacy has to be confronted with challenges, and surmount those challenges, to mature into effective citizenship.

Northwestern University law professor John O. McGinnis hits an important nail squarely and powerfully on its head: “It is an indictment of democracy that neither of America’s political parties seems capable of addressing the fiscal crisis caused by the transfer state.”

Allen Mendenhall and GMU Econ alum Dan Sutter explain that ESG is a product, not of markets, but of the state. A slice:

From obscure academic topic to major campaign issue, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing has erupted onto the political scene. Projections indicate ESG fund assets will balloon from around $20 trillion in 2022 to a staggering $40 trillion by 2030.

Our new paper in the Santa Clara Journal of International Law examines whether market forces or government interventions drive ESG’s rise.  We conclude that government policies, rather than investor preferences, primarily fuel ESG.

Juliana Pilon reflects on the the 1960s’ toxic legacy.

A day in the life of the Redneck Intellectual.

Thomas Berry and Christopher Barnewolt are right: “Companies have the right to decide what speech belongs in their stores.”

Pierre Lemieux isn’t buying Walter Block’s argument for why libertarians (at least those living in swing states) should in November vote for Donald Trump.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, David Rivkin and Elizabeth Price Foley argue that “Trump’s trial violated due process.” Three slices:

Whether you love, hate or merely tolerate Donald Trump, you should care about due process, which is fundamental to the rule of law. New York’s trial of Mr. Trump violated basic due-process principles.

“No principle of procedural due process is more clearly established than that notice of the specific charge,” the Supreme Court stated in Cole v. Arkansas (1948), “and a chance to be heard in a trial of the issues raised by that charge, if desired, [is] among the constitutional rights of every accused in a criminal proceeding in all courts, state or federal.” In in re Winship (1970), the justices affirmed that “the Due Process Clause protects the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged.” These three due-process precepts—notice, meaningful opportunity to defend, and proof of all elements—were absent in Mr. Trump’s trial.


Mr. Trump’s indictment didn’t specify the other crime he allegedly intended to commit. Prosecutors didn’t do so during the trial either. Only after the evidentiary phase of the trial did Judge Juan Merchan reveal that the other crime was Section 17-152 of New York’s election law, which makes it a misdemeanor to engage in a conspiracy “to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means.”

To recap, the prosecution involved (1) a misdemeanor elevated to a felony based on an “intent to commit another crime,” (2) an indictment and trial that failed to specify, or present evidence establishing, another crime the defendant intended to commit, and (3) a jury instruction that the other crime was one that necessitated further proof of “unlawful means.” It’s a Russian-nesting-doll theory of criminality: The charged crime hinged on the intent to commit another, unspecified crime, which in turn hinged on the actual commission of yet another unspecified offense.


Mr. Trump, like all criminal defendants, was entitled to due process. The Constitution demands that higher courts throw out the verdict against him. That takes time, however, and is unlikely to occur before the election. That unfortunate reality will widen America’s political divide and fuel the suspicion that Mr. Trump’s prosecution wasn’t about enforcing the law but wounding a presidential candidate for the benefit of his opponent.