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“Why?”

Summary:
In economics a lot of what I do–especially when writing for the general public–is to flesh out a thought experiment where the government does something that I consider to be a bad policy. Though it violates some abstract moral principle, it may seem to yield beneficial results. But then, as time passes in the thought experiment, it becomes clear that the harms outweigh the benefits. Turns out violating the abstract moral principle leads to disaster in the long run, when you consider all of the ramifications. Now suppose before the creation of the material universe, the Devil says to God, “Why be good? Why should I obey you? Is ‘good’ really stronger than ‘evil’?” And God says, “Yes it is. Here, I’ll show you.” And then the Devil objects, “Wait! No

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In economics a lot of what I do–especially when writing for the general public–is to flesh out a thought experiment where the government does something that I consider to be a bad policy. Though it violates some abstract moral principle, it may seem to yield beneficial results. But then, as time passes in the thought experiment, it becomes clear that the harms outweigh the benefits. Turns out violating the abstract moral principle leads to disaster in the long run, when you consider all of the ramifications.

Now suppose before the creation of the material universe, the Devil says to God, “Why be good? Why should I obey you? Is ‘good’ really stronger than ‘evil’?”

And God says, “Yes it is. Here, I’ll show you.”

And then the Devil objects, “Wait! No cheating! We’re not testing whether You are stronger than me. I want a test of whether good per se is stronger than evil.”

And God says, “Yes, I’ll show you.”

Robert Murphy
Christian, Austrian economist, and libertarian theorist. Research Prof at Texas Tech and author of *Choice*. Paul Krugman's worst nightmare.

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