Let them die

Tyler Cowen speaks his mind, outraging the sensible types at Balloon Juice and elsewhere. I don’t have a whole lot to add, except that I think I know exactly how Cowen’s mind was working when he said that. He’s in love with economics as an abstraction, so yes, the fact that poor people will die of diseases that rich people would not is simply an elegant consequence of the machinery of the universe, not something to be upset or outraged over, much less try to fix with economic policy.

Cowen is a proud Aspie, which is not really an excuse. I spend energy on anti-libertarianism because it’s how I fight my own tendencies in that direction (and whatever the medical diagnosis is, the symptom is loving systems more than people).  Maybe he’s got more of it, but I refuse to believe that it is an excuse to be a douchebag.


Useful idiots and the people who use them

This is more polite than I usually am, but yeah, I agree, libertarianism in practice is nothing more than an apologetics for wealth, a pseudo-intellectual club for the powerful to use on the powerless.

And those who hold to this belief system out of a sincere belief that it promotes liberty are useful idiots, to use a technical term.

[update: a case in point, but you can’t spend five minutes on the Internet without tripping over a dozen or so examples]