Bryan Caplan  

Some Replies to Me

PRINT
Plus Noise!... Response to David Cay Johnston...
While I'm on vacation in L.A., my critics have been hard at work.  Check out:

1. Jason Weeden's reply to my review of The Hidden Agenda of the Political Mind.

2. Nathan Smith's reply to my defense of tolerance.

3. Jason Weeden's reply to me on ideology.




COMMENTS (7 to date)
Massimo writes:

I'm eager for Caplans' response to the libertarian argument that "Tolerance => Migration restrictions." Caplan usually tunes that argument out, but hopefully the point was made by someone with the appropriate credentials to warrant a response.

Jews in Europe are formally warned by police to not show any sign of Judaism due to danger from Muslims that the police do not have the power to safeguard against. Similarly with women wearing skirts in France. This is extreme intolerance caused by Muslim immigration. A white man can't safely walk down the street (without disguise) in many middle eastern countries or even in many black neighborhoods in the US. That is extreme intolerance.

Normally, Caplan just says, well I support all tolerance, I support the right of a Jew to walk on the street in Germany, and the right of Muslims to mass immigrate to Germany, and in a conceptual thought experiment we have both, but I just punt on the complete paradox and contradiction this poses in reality.

Christophe Biocca writes:
even in many black neighborhoods in the US
So according to your own argument, it's not migration. Or at least it isn't specifically migration. After all, these black neighborhoods aren't exactly the product of free migration, are they?

In fact all the symptoms you point at are better identified as the breakdown of the rule of law.

And if you go and analyze the cause of this breakdown, what's the best explanation? That mass migration has tilted the political field towards allowing violence against the natives? Not really, all the laws are still on the books. So what gives?

Maybe the reason the police won't protect you in a poor neighborhood is the same reason the police disclaims any duty to protect you in general, and the same reason the cops in Ferguson spent nearly no effort on protecting local businesses against arson.

Massimo writes:

@Christophe, yes, the symptoms mentioned are accurately labeled as breakdown of the rule of law and they are caused by large demographic migrations. The typical US black-white conflict is typically partly caused by internal US migration. I see your point that the police have discretion to not protect stores during mass riots and they have discretion on handling domestic disputes. I agree with what you are saying, but I'm not sure what point you are trying to make.

Hats off to Caplan for allowing my comment to be posted without censor.

Christophe Biocca writes:
The typical US black-white conflict is typically partly caused by internal US migration
Need a cite for that one, or at least an explanation, because I don't see how that works.
I agree with what you are saying, but I'm not sure what point you are trying to make.
When the state is at its most powerful in recent history, and rule of law is breaking down, it's hard to argue with a straight face that the breakdown is happening despite the state's best efforts.

The state does not recognize your rights. Why would it enforce them when it doesn't benefit from doing so?

Rather, the protection racket has become so entrenched and so profitable that there's not much point in keeping up the charade of protecting you, especially in circumstances where doing so is too expensive, and even more so when the continuing threat of external violence makes you even more cooperative. If war is the health of the state, then letting poor (read: not tax-generating) neighborhoods turn into warzones is an even more effective tool.

Massimo writes:
"letting poor (read: not tax-generating) neighborhoods turn into warzones is an even more effective tool."
"it's hard to argue with a straight face that the breakdown [of law] is happening despite the state's best efforts."

You are seriously claiming that the breakdown of law in European nations regarding their inability to guarantee the safety of Jews from Muslims and their inability to prevent Islamic terror attacks has nothing to do with massive influx of a Muslim population, but is some state-power conspiracy? Yes, I really do think I am being reasonable and you are being absurd with a completely straight face.

I'll agree that in some problem US neighborhoods, the police do use discretion and step back, particularly when the population has large levels of hostility towards police (Ferguson riots).

I normally will not comment three times in a thread out of respect for the space for others to comment, but I had to make this response. Thank you.

Chip Smith writes:

For bonus points, check out Sarah Perry's reply to Bryan on "free disposal" in her new book, Every Cradle Is a Grave: Rethinking the Ethics of Birth and Suicide.

Christophe Biocca writes:

It's not a conspiracy, it's a principal-agent problem:

The homicide squad is a cost center, parking, traffic enforcement, and civil asset forfeiture are revenue centers. As a police force with limited assets, you'll focus your efforts on revenue generating activities. You can call it "discretion" if that makes you feel better.

Of course, a ton of your revenue comes from taxes, so you need to be perceived as doing your job of keeping crime down, but that's more easily done by a combination of large arrest numbers for petty crimes and discouraging reporting of serious ones (Chicago reclassified dozens of murders as accidental deaths).

The net of it is that there's no coordination or willful plan to do this, just a lot of really messed up incentives.

Comments for this entry have been closed
Return to top