Culture

Calculating the Price of Everything

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On Monday, I appeared at a Cato Institute book forum hosted by David Boaz and featuring George Mason University economist Russell Roberts, whose new novel is the entertaining and edifying The Price of Everything. We ended up talking a lot about bailouts, markets, and how to engage non-libertarians with ideas about freedom.

You can watch video of the conversation or listen to a podcast by going here.

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  1. How do you engage non-libertarians on freedom?

    If they’re rationalists, use a self-contained philosophy that would appeal to them, such as Objectivism, Austrian Economics, or Agorism.

    Even rabid Marxists can become libertarians this way, because Marxism is a rational philosophy (even if it works on faulty assumptions). It also works with Catholic intellectuals, as they will be familiar with philosophy (Aristotle, Plato). Philosophy majors would be receptive too, as well as math majors. Even if you disagree intially, they may come to agree with certain axioms and logical conclusions in time.

    Your typical wingnut or moonbat though? Only utilitarian arguments will work with them, as they’ll reject any philosophy as “ivory tower thinking”, that doesn’t achieve “practical results” and isn’t “pragmatic”. Utilitarian argumentation will not always work you’ll find yourself wasting your breath in back-and-forth arguments that go on until 4AM, as both sides hurl poorly-thought and methodologically weak studies at each other.

  2. All I know is that tuna cans have shrunk to 4.50 oz.
    Sorry, Charlie, I’m switching to salmon.

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