Tomorrow’s (Oct. 2nd’s) New York Times Book Review published this letter of mine:
Reviewing “American Dreamers,” Michael Kazin’s paean to the country’s radical left, Beverly Gage echoes Kazin by including the abolition of slavery among the great achievements of leftists — an example of their “utopian spirit” (Sept. 18). Such radicals did call for abolition, but radicals of a very different sort — thinkers who offered a new understanding of how societies hang together and prosper without the centralized commands that Kazin’s leftists so extol — also lent their influential voices to the cause of abolition. These radicals were classical economists.
It was economists’ prominence in the abolition movement that led Thomas Carlyle, in an 1849 essay, to defend slavery and ridicule economists as “rueful” thinkers, each of whom “finds the secret of this universe in ‘supply and demand,’ and reduces the duty of human governors to that of letting men alone.” Economists’ advocacy of freedom, even for slaves, so incensed Carlyle that he gave it, in the same essay, a nickname that — considering its provenance — economists should forever wear proudly: the “dismal science.”
DONALD J. BOUDREAUX
The writer is a professor of economics at George Mason University.
… is from page 4 of Keith Whittington’s 1999 book Constitutional Interpretation:
Judicial restraint is an inadequate basis for justifying an originalist jurisprudence. The incidence of judicial review is highly contingent on political circumstances. An originalist Court may well find itself quite active in striking down legislation at odds with the clear requirements of the inherited text. Originalism requires deference only to the Constitution and to the limits of human knowledge. The Constitution makes substantive commitments to countermajoritarian principles. If the Court is to enforce the requirements of the Constitution, it must be willing to act in a countermajoritarian fashion…. American constitutionalism cannot be adequately described through a reliance on majoritarianism and judicial deference to elected officials.
Status Won’t Go Away
by Don Boudreaux on SEPTEMBER 3, 2006
Alex, Arnold, Greg, and Megan each mention solid reasons for questioning the wisdom of reducing envy by taxing the rich and giving the proceeds to the poor. (Brad DeLong recently offered such a proposal.)
It bears repeating that monetary wealth is certainly not the only dimension of our lives that matter to us and that we use as a basis for comparing ourselves to others. Indeed, I suspect that it is not as important as many who champion “redistriution” believe it to be.
Back in April the New Yorker magazine ran this interesting article by John Cassidy in which Cassidy used evidence of social hierarchies in some animal species to suggest that we humans should “redistribute” income. The specific evidence was that animals low on the totem pole were more likely to get sick and die than were animals in the same group but higher up the social pecking order.
A few weeks later the New Yorker published this letter of mine in response:
John Cassidy bolsters the hypothesis that people’s health is harmed by relative (rather than absolute) deprivation by citing evidence from the animal kingdom (“Relatively Deprived,” April 3). For example, “dominant rhesus monkeys have lower rates of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) than monkeys further down the social hierarchy.”
Contrary to Cassidy’s suggestion, however, such findings do not support policies to redistribute income. After all, animals with social hierarchies have no monetary income. Because status among humans is determined not only by income but also by traits such as political power, athletic prowess, military heroics, intellectual success, and good looks, equalizing incomes will intensify the importance of these non-pecuniary traits as sources of status. And there’s no reason why persons with low status in these non-pecuniary categories will not suffer all the stress and envy now allegedly suffered by people with low incomes.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics
George Mason University
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, October 02, 11 (09:34 am)
Lindsay Fox says he’d sack Kevin Rudd. Catch the repeat at 4.30pm.
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, October 02, 11 (06:09 am)
Here’s the most damning picture of Tony Abbott that Susan Mitchell’s publisher could find to brand him as a dangerous misogyist. Who knew that barbecues were such a statement of an ideological position?
Female Abbott-haters are a particular type. Like Mitchell, they cling to a 1970s view of feminism, still resent the patriarchy, and sneer at red-blooded blokes. The photograph on the cover of Mitchell’s book, of Abbott barbecuing sausages, encapsulates what they loathe.
A muscular, sweaty meat-eater wielding tongs. Ugh. Her book is the first shot by the progressive Left to stop Abbott taking office.
They fear that his confident conservatism, mellowed by time in office, is beginning to resonate with an electorate that thinks much like he does, and is fed up with political correctness.
They fear that his combination of good-natured, unpretentious authenticity and ferocious intellect will have wide appeal as soon as it gets clear air.
In the end, all they have left is the anti-Catholic dog whistle.
But if Mitchell and Burnside think Catholics shouldn’t aspire to high office, they should say so, openly.
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, October 02, 11 (05:24 am)
There must be some force in my argument that makes my critics invent the wildest and most offensive hidden messages and motivations in what I actually said in order to attack me. Professor Marcia Langton, for instance, imagines I believe in a Master Race (wink, wink) and disapprove of miscegenation (more wink wink) - which puts me somewhere between a Nazi and a KKK member:
Moreover, it seems to me Bolt is saying that only people of the ‘’races’’ he approves of are entitled to such protections. In my view, his claim to the right of unlimited free speech only works if the presumption is that ‘’white people’’ like him are not members of a race, but normal.
In his way of thinking (and this is a common belief in Australia) only undesirable ‘’others’’ are members of a race, and hence, being a member of a race as he believes such to be constituted is inherently a bad thing.
These trails of his thinking are not so much spoken out loud but the silent assumptions of a code of racial hygiene that is older than this nation itself. It was ideas about racial purity, racial hygiene, the master race, the inferior races, a perverted idea about the survival of the fittest and other such nonsense that led to the incarceration of Aboriginal people in reserves in the 19th century to prevent ‘’mixing’’ of the ‘’races’’ and later, the segregation laws that specified where and how ‘’half-castes’’ and other ‘’castes’’ could live.
Both those insinuations against me are, of course, false and grossly offensive.
It is incredible to me that my appeal to stop harping on about differences of “race”, to acknowlege all the ethnic or cultural elements of our background and to stop institutionalising trivial “racial” divisions is seen as the most racist thing some people have ever heard. How did arguing against racial categorising become racist itself?
Moreover, it is not just an abuse of me but of the truth to claim that I’ve ever argued anywhere, in public or in private, that Aborigines are an “inferior race”.
That what I’ve said could be so wilfully misrepresented as its very opposite and published in a major metropolitan daily is absolutely extraordinary. That a robust reply, perhaps referencing Langton herself and quoting at length from my articles, risks being declared unlawful is an outrage against our free speech.
Langton is free to misrepresent, invent and vilify, but I am not free to fully respond, and in part because is seems to me that it’s people on Langton’s side of the argument who actually believe what she imputes to me - that “the presumption is that ‘white people’ like him are not members of a race” and therefore the protections in the Racial Discrimination Act against being offended like this, in part on the grounds of my “race”, are not available to me.
It’s a nightmare. A world in which things are the deemed the opposite of what they are, and we must choke on our dissent, is what we have come to.
(Once again, no comments, because it has become too dangerous to print many. And so your free speech has effecitvely been limited, too, by this attack on my own.)
There are many serious issues raised by this case - particularly about free speech and the right to debate racial identity, and even whether race means much at all. Here is a contribution to that debate in The Advertiser from the Greens, who want more controls on the meida:
DIDDUMS, Andrew Bolt, diddums.
[The Greens] Adelaide.
Your freedoms in their hands.
(Thaks to reader Konrad.)