Bryan Caplan  

Epicurus and Elections

The Pump, the Pension, and the... Why I am Paranoid...
If I let electoral results upset me, I would be miserable all the time.  No matter who wins, I lose, because I am light-years away from the views of virtually all electable politicians.

Fortunately, I long ago achieved philosophical detachment.  I always expect to lose, so continued defeat does not disappoint me.  Indeed, every election reminds me of the wisdom of Epicurus:

He who desires to live in tranquility with nothing to fear from other men ought to make friends.  Those of whom he cannot make friends, he should at least avoid rendering enemies; and if that is not in his power, he should, as much as possible, avoid all dealings with them, and keep them aloof, insofar as it is in his interest to do so.
And this election, I'm even inclined to tempt fate and ask "How could things possibly get any worse?"  But though I'm open to bets, I'll resist this temptation - and keep tending my garden.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (13 to date)
megapolisomancy writes:
Max M writes:

The CATO institute's Gene Healy seems to think this is the best thing that could've happened to libertarians today... I think its just optimism for its own sake though, his argument that people will somehow "see the light" when they get hit by ever-increasing levels of the socialist agenda doesn't hold up in light of historical fact.

Anyway, don't fret Bryan, as the son of parents who fled Cuba circa 1960 I think I can safely say it COULD be worse.

ws1835 writes:

Max M -

Just because it could be worse, doesn't mean it won't be bad, lol. And where do Americans flee circa 2010?

Based on the continuing outflow of investment capital types to Singapore, I think it is the current favorite....

Barkley Rosser writes:

Is this "outflow of investment capital types to Singapore" tied to the decision by the US Fed to lend money to Singapore along with Mexico, Brazil, and South Korea?

Matt C writes:

> How could things possibly get any worse?

Please don't tempt the gods. And I *know* you have more imagination than that, anyway.

How about a run on the dollar? How about a world war? Or a) leading to b), which is what I spend my time uselessly worrying about.

We are entering into a period of international flux, and I have no trouble imagining outcomes a lot worse than, say, having my retirement savings confiscated.

Methinks writes:

I have no trouble imagining outcomes a lot worse than, say, having my retirement savings confiscated.

Me too. I've always been frugal and lived well within my means. Maybe it's time to spend more before the government confiscates it from me.

Max M writes:

We could flee to... uhh... hmm... Seasteads!

Though perhaps not by 2010, maybe 2014 if we really start investing in it now.

Steve Roth writes:

>keep tending my garden

Ah, "the best of all possible worlds," what?

someone writes:

Come on, isn't there always at least a marginally better option? We live in a world of scarcity, even (or especially) when it comes to available politicians.

cato writes:

the money epicurus quote is:

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

Carl the EconGuy writes:

Woe that there is no safe place to avoid the bad tidings all around us today. The Old Bulls in Congress will now rise and give it their last, devastating shot. Obama will join them or be pushed aside, like Carter and Clinton were. No President can stand up against a determined Congress. It's not Obama's agenda that matters, it's what Congress will do with it. And the Old Bulls have been dreaming about this opportunity, and don't intend to squander it. You can ignore politics at your will, but you will be hauled to the guillotine nevertheless. There's a storm brewing in Washington, making Katrina look like a baby breaking wind.

db0 writes:

Glad to see more Epicureans around. Things will have to get really bad to get us down :)

Comments for this entry have been closed
Return to top