An intersting paper from University of Chicago law prof Adrian Vermeule looks at "Libertarian Panics." The idea is that we're hardwired to make use of heuristics in assessing risk that, in our media saturated modern world, lead us to overreact to rare but highly visible events like school shootings or terrorist attacks, giving rise to "security panics." But, says Vermeule, we're equally susceptible to "libertarian panics" in which we irrationally conclude that small legal changes have launched us down the road to serfdom.
There's a prima facie plausibility to the psychological symmetry there, but has it empirically proved to be the case in the U.S.? Vermeule's former student Gene Healy considers the question and tears his old prof a new one. Gently, of course.