Links to Consider, 10/12
Bryan Caplan on Encouraging Libertarianism; Matt Shapiro Questions Vaccine Efficacy; Infovores questions FIRE's ranking methodology; Niccolo Soldo and Ed West on TERFs
Talking with Brian Chau, Bryan Caplan says that libertarians have two problems with persuasion. One problem is that they are unfriendly. He says to make friends first, try to persuade later. The other problem is that they are relatively good at starting think tanks, but relatively bad at generating mass appeal.
This is going to sound self-serving, but I think that libertarians do not have mass appeal because we are reluctant to engage in demagoguery and in turn we are easily demagogued. People want to hear that they have been screwed over by the market, that politicians care about them, and that public officials know what to do. Our message is the opposite. Bryan also says that libertarian ideals are inherently psychologically unappealing to ordinary humans.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a CDC presentation work so hard to convince me of the poor efficacy of the existing vaccine regimen. In their efforts to argue for the necessity of the new vaccine booster, they presented chart after chart of preliminary unpublished data the CDC had collected, and it demonstrated an incredibly weak case for the existing vaccines.
I didn’t come across his post until after I got the latest booster. We are flying to Milwaukee in ten days or so, and I thought getting a shot before then was a good idea.
Despite the anecdotal examples you hear of Chicago standing by controversial scholars, they show as many sanctions and disinvitations here as instances of support. Surveyed measures are similarly mixed, with rankings of disruptive conduct (e.g. is violence toward speakers acceptable?) and openness coming in not far from the median.
While seeing the school everyone already knows to be the model of free speech at the top inspires a lot of initial confidence for casual observers, it’s quite possible that points awarded by FIRE’s speech code assessment are driving the high ranking we see for Green schools instead of merely reflecting strong overall performance.
The University of Chicago has a model statement in favor of free speech, and some other campuses have adopted that statement or something similar. But Infovores points out that some of the schools that seem to be bastions of free speech based on what they say turn out to be not such bastions in practice.
If you rely solely on American (and/or Canadian) media, you would never know that British feminists are in many ways leading the charge against the institutionalization of transgenderism, and in particular its impact on children. TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) view transgenderism as not only a threat to lesbianism, but more importantly as an erasure of woman altogether. This is an existential fight for them, one that has seen them go on offense, completely opposite to what their American sisters have done thus far.
Of particular concern to them is how paedophilia has made inroads in society through the promotion of transgenderism.
While the British public continues to become more liberal on most issues, support for gender self-ID has dropped noticeably, and the percentage of people stating that ‘Transgender people should be able to change the sex on their birth certificate’ has fallen from 58% in 2016 to just 32% today.
“People want to hear that they have been screwed over by the market, that politicians care about them, and that public officials know what to do.”
Something different is going on in where I come from (India). People acknowledge the politicians are scummy, that public officials are corrupt and interested only in self-enrichment.
Yet, if only we had better ‘leaders’, put more funding into an already failing X scheme, punished the corrupt more severely (and changing nothing about the things that enable corruption in the first place), we would get a benevolent and progressive State that will usher in Utopia. This is the belief a lot of people I think here are stuck in, there is still no trust in markets.
"This is going to sound self-serving, but I think that libertarians do not have mass appeal because we are reluctant to engage in demagoguery and in turn we are easily demagogued. People want to hear that they have been screwed over by the market, that politicians care about them, and that public officials know what to do. Our message is the opposite. Bryan also says that libertarian ideals are inherently psychologically unappealing to ordinary humans."
This is a self serving cope.
I would say the primary background ideology of your average middle class white American is something like the Small L libertarianism of Hank Hill. Mike Judge has championed this kind of ideology throughout his career quite successfully.
It's true that think tank libertarianism is unpopular. But if libertarianism wants to hang its hat around drag queen story hour and open borders it's going to have a hard time and deserve to have a hard time.
I would also point out that the libertarian movements failure to stand up to COVID insanity basically invalidated it. Whether the response was active collaboration (Tyler Cowen) to bitching on the internet but otherwise denigrating anyone actually protesting the moment of maximum tyranny came and the formal libertarian movement did nothing practical to stop it.