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Tag Archives: Bryan Caplan

Willingness to Kill

Law professors and lawyers instinctively shy away from considering the problem of law’s violence.  Every law is violent.  We try not to think about this, but we should.  On the first day of law school, I tell my Contracts students never to argue for invoking the power of law except in a cause for which they are willing to kill. They are suitably astonished, and often annoyed. But I point out that even a breach of contract requires a judicial remedy; and if the...

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Response to Scott Sumner on Covid Caution

SEE IMPORTANT UPDATE BELOW Co-blogger Scott Sumner recently responded to co-blogger Bryan Caplan’s critique of Scott’s earlier post in which Scott stated “On a list of regulatory overreaction, these mandates [on masks, vaccines, etc.] don’t even make my ‘top 100’.” Bryan agreed with Scott that the ratio of costs to benefits for many other regulations is higher than the cost/benefit ratio for Covid regulations in the United States. But, argued Bryan, the difference...

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Response to Scott Sumner on the Carbon Tax

In a comment on Bryan Caplan’s latest post, “Climate Shock Bet: Daniel Reeves Responds,” November 10, 2021, co-blogger Scott Sumner writes: Revenue neutral carbon taxes are a low hanging fruit that we have foolishly declared impractical. Are they really low-hanging fruit? It’s not that clear. I wrote about this in “A Case Against the Carbon Tax For All Ideologies,” July 28, 2018.  The gist of my argument is this: If it turns out that the most efficient way to deal...

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Wagner and Weitzman’s Asymmetric Treatment of Non-Carbon Energies

In his well-deserved victory lap about his bet with Daniel Reeves, co-blogger Bryan Caplan points out that one major flaw in Gernot Wagner’s and Martin L. Weitzman’s book Climate Shock is its treatment or, rather, non-treatment of nuclear power. Bryan writes: Wagner and Weitzman barely mention nuclear power or the absurd regulatory burden under which it labors.  This fits with the Social Desirability Bias story, and makes me further distrust them. In a comment on...

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Enright on Caplan on Immigration, Part Trois

I’ve posted twice now (here and here) on Sam Enright’s critique of my co-blogger Bryan Caplan’s case for open borders. I have two more points, one where I agree with an Enright critique and one where I disagree with an Enright compliment of Bryan. The critique I agree with is that Bryan’s analysis is too America-centric. This is what Bryan knows and this, plus Canadian immigration policy, is what I know. Together those two countries could easily take a few hundred...

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Enright on Caplan on Immigration

Sam Enright has written a good review of Bryan Caplan’s Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration. I like it for two main reasons: (1) he takes Bryan completely seriously and doesn’t take cheap shots, and, related to that, (2) the tone is quite nice. I do have a number of criticisms, but I’ve been thinking about one main one. Enright writes: I’m also concerned about the animal suffering that would result from open borders. Globally, the production of meat,...

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A Modest Proposal on Beef

Taxes: There’s their Beef Co-blogger Bryan Caplan and his favorite philosopher Michael Huemer have debated whether one should eat beef. Neither has persuaded the other. But there’s one thing that I think they can agree on, a measure that would reduce coercion and marginally reduce the demand for beef: end the tax on beef producers that is used to fund the “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner” ads. Baylen Linnekin, a food lawyer who always writes sensibly about government...

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Wagner’s and Weitzman’s Bathtub Analogy

In a comment by Daniel Reeves on a recent post by my co-blogger Bryan Caplan, Reeves claims that I ignored the bathtub analogy in Gernot Wagner’s and Martin L. Wietzman’s Climate Shock in my review of the book. I didn’t mention it but I didn’t ignore it. It just struck me when reading the book that the bathtub analogy was obviously correct and, indeed, so obvious that it wasn’t worth mentioning. Maybe that’s because I’ve read a lot about global warming but it’s more...

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My 12th-Grade Odyssey

Co-blogger Bryan Caplan’s tale of his children’s experience with home school is quite impressive. One slight danger is that readers might think you need to be anywhere near as prepared as Bryan and his two older sons to make it a success. But my experience, although way less impressive, also makes the case for some version of home schooling. Background My birthday is in late November and so I got into first grade just under the December 1 cutoff: I was the youngest...

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Strawmen, Steelmen, and Bad Faith

Bryan Caplan makes a number of good points about straw manning and steel manning in his critique of philosopher Mike Huemer and in his 2015 post on the same issue. One of the major, and obvious points he makes is that you’re not arguing against a straw man if an actual person you’re arguing with is making the argument you’re arguing against. I would put his overall point even more strongly. I’ll do it with an example. Imagine that I’m arguing with someone on the...

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