OK. Here’s my long-delayed Caesar’s Bath contribution. I thought this was hard partly because all the easy stuff has been done (the bath water’s pretty dirty, by now), and partly because I like almost everything at least a little bit. But here you go.
Thomas Jefferson. The more I read about the guy, the more I dislike him. He was without doubt a man of incandescent brilliance. But he also seems to have been sly, creepy, and an insufferable snob, in addition to having been a racist, slaveholding, anti-cosmopolitan, anti-commercial, Jacobin utopian. When his visage appears on Cato promotional material, as it so often does, I try to stay positive.
Vegetables. I know they are healthy, and that I should eat more of them. But I sort of hate them. I try, I do.
Thinking that anti-anti-red statism is a bit of willful contarianism. I like red states. I do not like red states because liking red states aggravates my blue state friends, but because I like red states. And I am not anti-anti-red state because I like to buck the trends, but because I think it is genuinely retarded to be anti-red state.
Anti-Swedenism. Conservatives and libertarians seem to have an irrational disdain for Sweden, as if it could slide into full-on Juche flesh-eating collectivism at any moment. They crave and horde bad news about the Swedish economy or the travails of the Swedish welfare state. Why? Because Sweden is a fairly rich, happy, stable, and quite free nation with a gigantic welfare state. And we don’t want to be more like Sweden, and we resent the fact that it works as well as it does. But I think it is quite possible to make the argument that we shouldn’t be more like Sweden without feeling the need to argue that Sweden is a disaster.
Levittolotry. Yes. He’s smart and interesting, but his work isn’t that unusual, and he doesn’t walk on water. He’s a super-clever, McGyver-esque technician, able to conjure up a useful empirical study out of a paper clip, a length of string, and a stick of gum. It’s sweet, but not filling. I want theory.