Arnold Kling  

Three Moldbug Quotes

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This week, he writes,


According to this article, for example, there are "over 7500 nonprofits" in the Bay Area, "3800 of which deal with sustainability issues." These appear to employ approximately half of our fair city's jeunesse doree, occupying the best years of their lives and paying them squat...However, if you're 23 and all you care about is getting laid, interning at a nonprofit is definitely the way to go.

My wife's pet peeve is colleges that charge $50,000 a year and wind up graduating students who take jobs for $25,000 a year, if that much. My pet peeve is the nonprofit virus that college spreads.

Moldbug also writes,


All governments are governments of men. If final decisions are taken by a council of nine, these nine are the nine who rule. Whether you call them a court, a junta or a politburo is irrelevant.

Incidentally, yesterday was the Supreme Court's Heller decision, which invalidated the District of Columbia's gun-control law. Clearly, however, that decision could have been different with different justices. I suspect that the main consequence of the decision will be to intensify the battle over control of the courts.

The third Moldbug quote:


The pronomian [i.e., Moldbug] prefers a state that is small, simple, and very strong. It respects the rights of its clients not because it is forced to respect them, but because it has a financial incentive to respect them, and it obeys that financial incentive because it is managed responsibly and effectively.

But still, you run into jurisdictional disputes. The current winner of the contest of "which Kindle sample does Kling actually buy?" is Daniel Walker Howe, a history of America from 1815-1848. In his fourth chapter, he discusses the Missouri Controversy. One aspect of it was that Missouri made it illegal for free African-Americans to settle in the state. That contradicted the national Constitutional view that entitled any free citizen to live in whatever state he or she chose. Clearly, there was going to be a jurisdictional dispute between the state of Missouri and the U.S. government. My reading of Howe is that the nation won in theory but the state won in practice, in that instance.

My point is that one can wish for "small and simple" government in theory. In practice, jurisdictional disputes are complex. Today, one state can tell businesses that they must determine the immigration status of new hires by checking certain records, while another state might forbid a business from checking those records. It might be OK for Microsoft and Yahoo to merge in the U.S., but not in Europe. And so on.


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CATEGORIES: Political Economy



TRACKBACKS (3 to date)
TrackBack URL: http://econlog.econlib.org/mt/mt-tb.cgi/863
The author at Michael Williams – Master of None in a related article titled The Supreme Court writes:
    Moldbug explains the Supreme Court concisely. We like to think we're ruled by the law, but: All governments are governments of men. If final decisions are taken by a council of nine, these nine are the nine who rule. Whether... [Tracked on July 1, 2008 8:04 PM]
COMMENTS (3 to date)
punditius writes:

There are two ways at looking at the Supreme Court. The conservative way is to think that the business of the justices is no different than that of the lower court judges - apply the law as it exists.

The second way is to think that the Supreme Court is a political institution comparable to the presidency & the congress.

The latter is a liberal position, and like all liberal positions, it in some manner forces the issue. If conservatives don't adopt the liberal perception, then over time, the liberal positions prevail.

What we need is a genuinely activist conservative Supreme Court. We need for the conservative Justices to make new law, overturn liberal precedent, and in general function as a political branch of the government.

We conservatives cannot win if we insist on the idea that the business of the Supreme Court is to look to the intention of the Founders, and try to construe the law in the fashion that the Founders intended.

The Supreme Court has become a political institution no different than the Congress or the Presidency. It's time that conservatives deal with that.

Don in AZ writes:

punditius -- interesting post. However, I don't see it likely the voting public of this country will opt for a conservative activist supreme court. As the years progress, the people of this country have developed an even greater sense of selfishness and entitlement. They want *more*, not *less* from government. They aren't prepared to pay for it, of course, but that's because rational thinking has long since been scrubbed from their abilities.

Cynical? I don't think so. Sadly realistic is how I'd characterize that.

punditius writes:

Don - I wish I could say that I don't agree with you.

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