More Yglesian Sense

Matt thinks it would be wonderful if Jonathan Cohn and Clay Risen were to get their ponies, but nevertheless refuses to replace sound principles of political economy with ponyology:

I hope I’m wrong about this. But I’m pessimistic. The mere fact that it would be desirableto do something to keep everyone who depends on the car industry for a living that simultaneously restores the domestic car firms’ economic viability and serves environmental policy goals doesn’t make it possible. Generally the reason we try not to have the government running businesses is that promoting public goals and maximizing profits require you to do different things. We normally try to advance policy goals by establishing a framework of taxes and regulations so that firms pursuing their interests will be compatible with the public interest. But if GM is going to be a welfare agency, it’s hard to also expect it to be a viable company that will rapidly get off the federal teat.


Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center

9 thoughts

  1. Considering the disproportionate number of Jews in the ‘public intellectual’ and chattering classes, I think you are wrong, TGGP. Yes there is Murray Rothbard and (sort of) Milton Friedman). But they are dead. Now look at the masthead of ‘Reason’ for instance, and there are a lot of names like Cavanaugh, Wilkinson, Howley, Gillespie (sp?), Welch, etc. Now go over to, say, Slate — a conventional leftist site — the difference is striking, to say the least. Even their WASP sounding writers turn out to be Jews (Dahlia Lithwick — who knew? — has just posted a thinly disguised kvetch about how terrible it is to have to suffer yet another Christmas in America) And look at how they describe how to pronounce the governor of Illinois’s name.
    Last Name Pronounced: “Bluh-GOY-uh-vich”

  2. teageegeepea – If you're willing to do a little legwork you can probably find out who I really am, and then be disappointed when you find I'm nobody.
    TGGP says:

    I meant disproportionate compared to share of population rather than of intellectuals. So we can also say that disproportionately few racial minorities are libertarians, which would fit with your point.
    In Brian Dougherty’s “Radicals for Capitalism” he notes that of the Big Five, only Hayek was not Jewish. Milton Friedman is not “sort of”, he’s practically synonymous with libertarianism among the general public. Aside from him, Rothbard, Mises and Rand there’s Rothbard’s successor as “Mr. Libertarian” Walter Block, David Gordon and Israel Kirzner (both practicing Orthodox Jewish Austrian economists, with Kirzner also a rabbi), George Reisman, Daniel Klein, Steve Horwitz, Richard Epstein, probably over half the bloggers at Volokh, Arnold Kling, half of Bryan Caplan (though his dad was religiously a Catholic), Murray Sabrin, Sheldon Richman, Andrew Galambos, Frank Chodorov, Thomas Szasz, Robert Nozick and hordes of others.
    I live in Illinois and that really is how his name is pronounced

    1. I’ve always found it interesting how few blacks are libertarian. Or, more accurately, how many blacks despite the overwhelming history suggesting otherwise think concentration of power & majority absolutism aren’t terrible things in and of themselves.
      Before anyone barks, I’m black. Yes, a black anarchist, the socio-political equivalent of a friggin unicorn.

  3. The bit about Milorad Blagojevic was tongue-in-cheek, I had hoped that was obvious, although as someone who speaks Serbian/Croatian I’d pronounce it Blagojević, with the ‘j’ as in German and the vowels like in Italian or Spanish and the accent on the second syllable. No ‘uh’s’ in there at all.

  4. Will, good eye on this. It reminds me of an article I read back when Dale Earnhardt died and Nascar fans gathered in mass in DC to honor him. I think it was in the American Spectator, but I am not sure. The article was a rant by a female DC elitist who was just horrified to have the unwashed southern savages in her city. The utter disdain and snobbery, and warning people to beware on the roads as the Nascar fans would surely bump them off the road with a will, was stunning.
    You are right, they are an endangered class and the archivists best get to work before they are gone, or we will be doomed to forget them.

  5. Can someone explain to me why, in the United States, the ethnic-religous designator “WASP” has become a class designator. It is true that, prior to 1960, almost all of the American elite were WASP, but it hardly follows that most WASPS were elite. Now, neither inference is a particularly good one. On TV, the stereotypical working class or underclass white is WASP or from New Jersey.

    1. Um Pithlord this is so awkward. But here on Flybottle we can be factual, not PC, right?
      Frankly to be WASP is to Episcopalian. Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, and Presbyterians need not apply, ok? “Anglo-Saxon Protestant” = Anglican.
      Let us note that according to Duke’s Lisa Keister, 12% of Episcopalian households are millionaires. 8% of Congressmen also ID as Episcopalian. This despite the fact Episcopalians form only 1.7% of the American population.
      We can compare this to Jews. Jews likewise are less than 2% of the population, and yet 18% of their households are millionaires. About 8.5% of Congresspeople ID as Jews. And more than 35% of American Nobel prizes have been won by Jews.
      These two groups clearly are wealthier and more influential than their mere numbers would suggest.
      We could ask why. But that would be socially divisive. It could be an argument for an estate tax or a study in social networking and scholarship grants. You guys pick. I won’t go there.
      Let’s compare to Catholics. They dominate in Congress; approx. 29% of Congressmen ID as Catholic. Yet only 4% of Catholic households, Keister says, are millionaires. Approx. 25% of the American population IDs as Catholic. In the Northeast, 40% of the population IDs as Catholic.
      Baptists are a divided group: there are Baptists and Southern Baptists, as well as other smaller groups, so it is hard to count. But about 20% of Americans overall ID as some form of Baptist. However 40% of adults in the South ID as Baptist. 18% of Congressmen ID as Baptist, so that’s about equal to their proportion in the population. Keister reports only 2% of Baptist households are millionaires.
      The last US census reports that 8.9 million households were millionaire overall, out of 105 million households, or about 8.5% of all Americans may have a net worth of the Mil. I’m unsure if this includes the primary residence, which it probably does.
      Or you could say we have lived recently through another Gilded Age despite recent economic, um, catastrophe, one in which vast numbers of Americans have achieved the Champagne Farce lifestyle of which the Founding Fathers dreamed. Yay, us! Capitalism works.
      Anyway, the so-called “Culture Wars” make so much more sense when viewed through these demographics. But now Pithlord, you also see why WASP is a class designator.

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