Bryan Caplan  

Au Contraire

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Tyler Cowen has been preaching against various intellectual vices. My chairman Don Boudreaux thoughtfully adds the Contrarian Vice to the list:

Being contrarian is admirable because it keeps the mind open and exploring; it's of a piece with one of the finest of all intellectual dispositions: skepticism.

But even a disposition as admirable as contrarianism has its downside -- what I might call "the contrarian vice." The contrarian vice is to weigh cleverness too heavily against wisdom.

Not all contrarians commit the contrarian vice; Tyler doesn't.

This is overly charitable. Tyler defends Lady in the Water and argues that the Jedi themselves should not be trusted. And don't get me started on Pragmatism.


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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Robert Speirs writes:

Au contraire! The problem with the "contrarian vice" is that it too soon becomes the conventional wisdom. Without some firm principles, the contraries of which are firmly denied and rejected, we are all lost.

Gadfly writes:

You're wrong Bryan.

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