Bryan Caplan  

Current Event Hooks

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A Specter of Common Sense... You Call This Atomism?...

I'm looking for current events that work well as "hooks" to promote my book.

Question: Where in recent headlines do you most clearly see the stamp of voter irrationality?

Don't hold back!


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COMMENTS (13 to date)
Alex J. writes:

No major public figures questioned the applicability of democracy to Iraq. I believe this represents a pro-democracy bias amongst the population that the various public figures appeal to.

Ironman writes:

Presidential candidate wife Elizabeth Edwards' giving up of tangerines for the sake of "buying local" to protect the environment, when doing so would actually make the environment worse off.

Tool coming Tuesday to Political Calculations.

Unit writes:

I don't follow recent headlines, but the belief that most people hold that it's ok to ruin someone's life and send the person to jail just because they prefer smoking their spices instead of sprinkling them on their pizza is not just irrational but also pretty scary.

Trevor writes:

Harris County Texas (Houston) proposed to introduce congestion pricing on one of its toll roads into town:
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/moveit/4916385.html

Citizens raised a stink and the plan was cancelled, here's the money quote from the article:

"But it's interesting that the reversal came, in part, because angry drivers vowed to stop using the congested road. Giving them an incentive to do just that during rush hour was the basic idea."

Winston writes:

The most prominent example of voter irrationality is that Arlen Specter, the man who endorsed the Single Bullet Theory to explain JFK's assassination, is still an elected official.

Jeff writes:

Ethanol.

Floccina writes:

The big energy bill. Why do we have a department of energy anyway?

Stephen W. Stanton writes:

Congress approval rating from 3% to 20%, and yet most will be re-elected.

Or you could rehash Katrina... Most partisans used this as an excuse to more strongly support their party (mayor/governor or President) and oppose the other.

cljo writes:

The Minnesota bridge collapse. Many see it as a result of the Republican governor's refusal to spend money on infrastructure projects. I see it as evidence of government's inability to efficiently and safely operate an infrastructure system.

Travis writes:

All of the recent backlash against immigration and the recent immigration bill that was effectively killed by talk radio.

Rue Des Quatre Vents writes:

There's some interesting survey data about how Americans believe a 100MPG car will thwart global warming.

www.auto.xprize.org

8 writes:

The desire to punish China for selling shoddy products.

"Dependency" on foreign oil.
Alternative energy.
China's currency manipulation.
The Efficiency Paradox as it relates to energy.

Ironman writes:

Following up Rue Des Quatre Vents observation - the tool posted earlier today confirms it. From the post:

And if we have just 3 people in the Edwards' community bypass the farmer's market to buy direct from the grower by traveling to the tangerine greenhouse in their eco-friendly, fuel-efficient, 60 mile-per-gallon-getting hybrid cars, covering 60 miles each (or 180 miles total), we find that they burn exactly the same amount of fuel as does shipping the tangerines by rail and truck 900 miles from Florida!

It's not just the technological capability - it's how it's used.

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