Sunday , October 24 2021
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Cafe Hayek

On Civilized Disagreement and Argument

Here’s a letter to a new and very hostile correspondent: Mr. P__: Thanks for your e-mail in response to my defense of Phil Magness. You think it “more than fair” for Nancy MacLean “to conclude from [Milton] Friedman’s radical laissez faireism that he was an enemy of people of color and other poor and unprivileged people or at most apathetic regarding them.” I couldn’t disagree more. Milton Friedman – like many other scholars, from Adam Smith in the 18th century through Thomas Sowell in...

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Some Covid Links

Phil Magness’s and James Harrigan’s letter, in the BMJ, is meant to set the record straight about the great Great Barrington Declaration: Dear Editor, In their essay “Covid-19 and the new merchants of doubt” (BMJ Opinion, 9/13/21, https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/09/13/covid-19-and-the-new-merchants-of-d…), Gavin Yamey and David Gorski present themselves as defenders of sound scientific principles in the face of “denialism” related to the Covid-19 pandemic. These authors specifically...

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Phil Magness Does History; Some “Historians” Do “History”

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal: Editor: Daniel Kuehn (Letters, Oct. 22) misses the relevant background of Phil Magness’s defense of the school-choice movement (“School Choice’s Antiracist History,” Oct. 19). Among the supporters of school choice were two of history’s most prominent economists, James Buchanan and Milton Friedman. Nobel laureates both, each man was led by his research to warn of the dangers of government intrusion into individuals’ private affairs. Since their...

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Some Non-Covid Links

David Henderson is appalled at the Biden administration’s assault on economic freedom and prosperity. A slice: Arguably the most intrusive regulation the Biden administration proposes is the one on people’s accounts in financial institutions. USA Today recently corrected an InfoWars exaggeration of the plan. The InfoWars headline: “Biden’s Treasury Dept. Declares IRS Will Monitor Transactions of ALL U.S. Accounts Over $600.” USA Today pointed out two mistakes. First, the Treasury can’t...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 202 of my favorite of all of Richard Epstein’s many superb books, his 1995 volume, Simple Rules for a Complex World: One advantage of markets is that they allow uniform solutions to spread quickly if appropriate, while allowing diverse solutions to emerge (somewhat more slowly) when required. A range of contractual solutions may be tailored not to the generic relationship, but to the particulars in each case.

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Exploring EconTalk: Thomas Sowell (2008)

I’m late to the podcast parade. Although Russ Roberts is my dear friend – and despite Russ starting the immensely popular EconTalk 15 years ago – I listened to only a tiny fraction of the EconTalk podcasts. I didn’t even listen to the ones in which I appear as a guest. My preference is to absorb knowledge by reading (and even then by reading ink pressed into paper). But Juliette Sellgren’s excellent Great Antidote podcast, which hit the scene at the height of Covid lockdowns, got me...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from my late, great colleague Walter Williams’s December 22nd, 2010, column, “Black Education Disaster“: The charter school and the educational vouchers movement will help prevent parents and children who care about education from being held hostage in an environment hostile to the learning process. And there’s plenty of evidence that children do better and parents are more pleased when they have a measure of school choice. DBx: Two of today’s most anti-black, pro-racist...

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Some Covid Links

Jacob Sullum wonders when encouraging trends in Covid test results will be reflected in CDC advice. A slice: So far these positive trends have had no discernible impact on federal COVID-19 advice or on the policies of jurisdictions inclined to follow it. Vaccination is authorized for all Americans 12 or older and will soon be extended to younger children. Minors face a tiny risk of dying from COVID-19 in any case. Yet the CDC still says everyone, from toddlers to vaccinated adults,...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 4 of George Will’s 2021 book, American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020 – a collection of many of Will’s columns over these years; (the column from which the quotation below is drawn originally appeared in the Washington Post on June 14th, 2015): The rule of law – as opposed to rule by the untrammeled will of the strong – requires effective checks on the strong. In a democracy, the strongest force is the majority, whose power will be unlimited...

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