… Accidentally stumbled upon the concepts of division of labor and trade and the science of economics. He came across all of it as if it were some weird new revelation that no one had ever thought of before …
Well then, you get something like this:
As a parent, this is the sort of thing I’ve been patiently mansplaining to the kids since they were about two.
How on Earth do people not see the similarities between Bernie Sanders and President Snow?
Let me see. They’re both:
Old and hoary,
In favor of greater government control of peoples’ lives,
And they don’t seem to know anyone outside their social circle.
Now, that last one is a bit of a stretch. But here’s the thing about Bernie Sanders. He’s been on the regional and then national stage for 30 years now. Can you name anyone in his circle? Can you name any significant interaction he had with anyone outside his circle before beginning his Quixotic run for President? Even better, note that he doesn’t even include Democrats in his circle (although he’ll gladly accept their votes).
In a piece on social desirability bias (our tendency to be in favor of things that sound good, while not actually doing them), Bryan Caplan asserts that Steven Landsburg would say something like this:
X being good is a reason to do a lot of X - not a reason to do more X.
I’m reminded of the reductio ad absurdum in Monty Python’s series of Dennis Moore sketches. Dennis is a highwayman who steal from the rich to give to the poor … until the rich are no longer rich, and the poor are no longer poor.
We see this a lot in things like policy proposals to help senior citizens financially. Except that seniors are the richest age group. But no one wants to make the distinction that helping Grandma a lot is not the same thing as helping Grandma more than we already do. Perhaps we ought to help Grandma a lot, but less than we actually do. It’s kind of ridiculous if you think about it: we’re so biased we can’t actually even ask if Grandma’s doing OK as it is.
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