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Free Minds & Free Markets

Tyler Cowen's Gospel of Prosperity

The George Mason University economist and Marginal Revolution founder explains why a richer world is a better world.

Over the past 20 years, arguably no libertarian thinker has cut a broader or deeper intellectual swath across American public policy and culture than Tyler Cowen.

The 56-year-old New Jersey native holds the Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and acts as chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center, a think tank based at the school. Cowen also co-founded the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution and is a regular contributor to Bloomberg. He is the host of Conversations with Tyler, a podcast series that includes interviews with people as diverse as tennis pro Martina Navratilova, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, and comedian Dave Barry, and he is the author of a shelf full of books, including 1998's In Praise of Commercial Culture, 2007's Discover Your Inner Economist, and 2017's The Complacent Class.

His work covers everything from the literal and figurative prices of fame to how globalization empowers Mexican folk artists to whether public funding for the arts has been more successful than most free marketers would grant. A recurring theme over the past decade is a fear that the West may have entered a period he calls "the great stagnation," in which technological innovation and economic growth have slowed even as risk taking and moonshot-type ventures are demonized or ignored altogether.

In October, Reason's Nick Gillespie spoke with Cowen about his latest book, Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals (Stripe Press). The work is an unapologetically libertarian argument for what he calls long-term sustainable economic growth and, more importantly, for intellectual and cultural attitudes devoted to freedom and prosperity.

Reason: You write in your new book that we need to develop a tougher, a more dedicated, and indeed a more stubborn attachment to prosperity and freedom. What do you mean?

Cowen: I think of this book as my attempt to defend a free society and give it philosophical underpinnings. The world is moving away from classical liberal ideas, and that case needs to be made in a new and fresh and powerful and vital way.

How important is prosperity to the ideals of freedom?

Prosperity is central to most human values. A wealthier world helps you be more creative. It helps you choose a job or a spouse that you might want to have rather than someone you have to marry for, say, the money. It helps us pay our bills. It helps us take care of needier members of society. It just keeps us on track and gives us some ability to control our environment and not entirely be at the mercy of nature. I think prosperity, oddly, is still underrated.

What are the main things that are dragging prosperity down? How are we shooting ourselves in the foot?

Bad [elementary school] education would be a major problem. Lack of freedom to build in America's major cities would be another problem. Lack of fiscal responsibility—I don't think it's been a problem so far, but I think it will be over the next 10 or 15 years. In general, just not husbanding our resources very well or making good decisions on infrastructure or having enough interest in risk taking and science and building a bigger, bolder, brighter future.

In the book, you talk about pluralism and commonsense morality. Let's start with pluralism—what do you mean by that?

The general meaning of pluralism is simply that there are many values, but I deploy it quite specifically: It's the notion that a prosperous society does well on most of these values. For instance, the arts, or human caring, or cooperation, or civic society. Even if a person cares about something more than just money or more than just, say, libertarian rights, I think there's nonetheless a strong argument for a society, a polity, that will maximize the rate of economic growth subject to rights constraints.

Do you feel that we've moved away from pluralism in that sense?

Most people will accept pluralism if it's presented to them. The idea that there's a fairly simple formula for serving pluralism—that's where the controversy lies. The idea that economic growth over enough time is better for virtually everyone, we don't emphasize that enough. Again, I think when you present it to people, a lot of them agree. That's one of the main goals of my book. It's not front and center of most political discussions today. They're often about redistribution or this group's feelings were hurt or what are we going to do for some specific town in the Midwest? They're not about higher rates of economic growth for the country and the world.

Talk about commonsense morality.

That term comes from the British philosopher Henry Sidgwick. It's simply what ordinary, smart, well-meaning people will tell you if you ask, "How should I live my life?" They'll say, "Work hard, save some money, marry well, be good to family, cultivate your friends." All that's commonsense morality. My book defends that and also tries to argue that if more people followed it more strictly, that would in fact coincide with this call of maximizing sustainable economic growth.

Nobody really is against commonsense morality, are they? Where is it breaking down in American society?

Well, actual actions are mixed. If you look at aggregate social indicators for significant parts of America, they're getting worse. For highly educated people, it's clear that they're getting better. That's a good thing. But for too much of the nation, people seem to be moving away from commonsense morality.

"Even if a person cares about something more than just money…I think there's nonetheless a strong argument for a society, a polity, that will maximize the rate of economic growth."

You also write about "wealth plus." What does that mean?

Economists usually focus on [gross domestic product] as a measure of wealth. For a lot of purposes that's fine. "Wealth plus" says you need to think about people's leisure time, which is not counted in GDP. You need to think about the environment, which at least at times is not counted in GDP. Think of it as modified and improved GDP. For a lot of purposes it will behave in the same way.

What more do we need to be doing to take care of the environment?

Wealthier societies generally do a better job with the environment. This gets us back to pluralism. I do worry about carbon emissions, and there's an issue with biodiversity. I'm not sure how worried we should be about that, but I don't think we should simply ignore it.

A lot of libertarians chafe at anything that's related to improving the environment or paying for that. You also talk about wealth transfers as part of commonsense morality. How do you allow for economic freedom and prosperity and individual rights but also have transfers of wealth to people who need help?

I've seen numerous public health programs around the globe that have remedied, say, malnutrition in poor children. They help those societies grow at a more rapid clip, help them become closer to the rule of law and more democratic, and just make them nicer places. I don't feel we should condemn those. Quite to the contrary, we should applaud them. I don't believe in just tearing down wealthy people to give poor people more money, but it seems to me that some redistribution is a really good investment.

You say we're investing way too much in old people relative to young people. That's because old people vote. How do we flip the script so we're not talking about which class gets to vote itself more of other people's money?

I'm not sure it will flip it until we run out of money, which will happen. If we're in there with better ideas and the time comes where we need to flip that switch, I think there's some chance we do. No guarantees, of course.

In Stubborn Attachments you give a couple of shout-outs to Ayn Rand. You laud her for emphasizing the role of production in a good society, because a lot of people seem to take the productivity of modern society for granted.

In her book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, she makes this point quite clearly: The idea that wealth is the foundation for the creative individual human mind. Wealth gives creative independence. Wealth enables us to interact as freestanding, cooperative individuals. It may seem trivial to many [people], but still those are vastly underrated points in contemporary intellectual discourse.

Why do you think so many economists and philosophers just take for granted the idea that we will always have a lot of [material] stuff around us?

If you're an academic, you're not involved with producing it in a direct way. You like to play games with other people's money. I think it's a sickness of American society that we've forgotten where it comes from. Some of that itself comes from the fact that we are now wealthier than we used to be. But we need to relearn that.

We become wealthy. We take it for granted. Then we start pissing it away as a culture and as individuals.

Too many people are in bureaucratized jobs, so they think of the world as a big bureaucracy.

Besides Rand, who were your intellectual or cultural influences growing up?

I played a lot of chess early on. That was maybe the single biggest influence, because when you play chess and you lose, you have no excuses. You're always looking for feedback, and you tend not to blame other people.

In chess, most of your moves are wrong. We learn this by playing computers. You can be a world champion and most of your moves are [still] wrong. That's a very startling observation that we should take more seriously.

Cowen interviews investment strategist Cliff Asness in 2015. Donner PhotosCowen interviews investment strategist Cliff Asness in 2015. Donner PhotosI also played chess for money as a kid. Not enormous sums, but the idea that no one owed me a living and that you can support yourself, I learned early on.

It's not simply Donald Trump who is rejecting pluralism and asserting a certitude about what is right or what is good. That also happens among his opponents. Are we in a particularly brittle moment in American society?

It's certainly possible. I mean, you can think of [Barack] Obama like John Quincy Adams. He was very intellectual, very pro-government, very cosmopolitan. Come 1828, the nation rejects that and opts for Andrew Jackson. I think in 1828, few people really had a sense of what would be coming over the next 30, 40 years. I wonder if today is not another 1828 moment.

Well, that is certainly not a happy thought.

Is there a tripwire that we can watch out for where the politics gets to a point where it actually diminishes the ability of people to live their lives in America?

I guess my modal prediction, which I would be very cautious about, is not some new age of totalitarianism or fascism, but that the center doesn't hold in a lot of governments. They lunge at a lot of things in ill-conceived ways, and volatility and political risk go up for most people, and that makes our lives worse. The old Orwellian libertarian nightmare of this encroaching Big Brother, I don't think that's what we're seeing right now.

The rhetoric, in some ways, does not correspond to the reality. The reality is that governments spend most of their money on old people and can't perform a lot of basic functions and are dysfunctional. I don't quite think they're going to enslave us.

You're what Donald Trump would call pejoratively a "globalist," in that you believe in international order. You believe in the idea of open borders and a lot of transfer of goods and people and knowledge. What is the globalist answer to the nationalist or the populist who says you don't care about the people who are in your actual community? And how do pluralism and commonsense morality come into play?

I think globalism works better when more people pursue commonsense morality. Just one example: Look at Utah. The state is about half Mormon. Utah has quite an intact middle class and robust economic growth. It's pretty well-run. It's not that I think everyone should become a Mormon. I'm not a Mormon myself. But it does show there's a kind of moral cultural foundation for capitalism. It's not that I think everyone has to live a particular way, but you need some middle-class core in a society doing that, if only to support the people who really wish to deviate.

There's been more poverty alleviation in the last 20 years than any other time in human history ever, by a large amount. It is true, some of the middle class in this country has been hurt or has ceased to see income growth. We ought to acknowledge that. I think mainly it's been an era of incredible triumphs, but now we're seeing some backlash.

The world is growing richer. There is a global middle class that's emerging in a way that was unimaginable 20 or 25 years ago. Is the problem just a decline of America's fortunes relative to the rest of the world? Are we in a position like England and France after World War II where we don't quite want to admit that we're not the only thing on the block anymore?

America still is the world's No. 1 power and still has a lot of soft power and a great deal of influence. It's not like the British Empire that went from a quarter of the world to this quite small place, which is now even probably Brexiting from the European Union. We can be the world's No. 1 country for a long time to come, or at the very worst, No. 2 or 3.

This interview has been condensed and edited for style and clarity. For an audio version, subscribe to the Reason Podcast.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Timmes

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  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    "How should I live my life?" They'll say, "Work hard, save some money, marry well, be good to family, cultivate your friends."

    Excellent advice from Mr. Cowen, I like it a lot.

    This is as good an explanation as any for why society should reject the left. Because the left, generally speaking, are anti - hard work, anti - fiscal responsibility, anti - marriage, and anti - family.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    And then he has to completely ruin it by comparing Obama to John Quincy Adams, bleccch.

    The need so many people who should know better have to worship that jerkoff, I'll never understand.

  • Griffin3||

    It's not a bad comparison. John Quincy Adams was well intentioned (I suppose) but also a little too intellectual for his own good. Those that followed were better connected to the "working man", but also somewhat more bent on their own goals and less worried about the "big picture". For better or worse, the parallels are there.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Obama was not an intellectual.

    John Quincy Adams grew up under the shadow of his father John Adams, Revolutionary discussions, and as a diplomat's son.

    JQA was well traveled and learned about being a political bureaucrat which his father was.

    Obama was none of that. Obama was a Socialist who was elected by the Party of Slavery to implement anti-Americans Socialist policies to further the Cause.

  • librich||

    With all respect, I think you may have missed the point of Cowen's comparison. He was pointing at the rebound from a cerebral president to Andrew Jackson, and the Civil War that followed. Adams was, of course, far more knowledgeable and insightful about government than Obama. But Obama was one of our more cerebral presidents. Being an intellectual without any real world experience was one of his biggest weaknesses, and it clearly had a lot to do with the rebound to Trump.

  • vek||

    Obama wasn't an intellectual... He was a moron ideologue, who clearly doesn't understand how shit works, even by the official mainstream line he was trying to tow. The fact that I, a mere part time politics/history/economics dork have far more knowledge about almost every subject than Obama clearly shows he wasn't much of an intellectual.

    He was a decent public speaker, and an ideologue who came along at the right time to seize political power because he happened to be black. That's about it.

    As far as things go, everybody loves to bash Jackson for being "ZOMG not PC!," but I would ask you: What exactly did he handle badly? What was so horrible about his policies? Jacking Indians? That was status quo for everybody, he just didn't try to sugar coat it like other politicians. Killing our central bank was a good thing IMO. He wasn't perfect, but he was just as good or better than most presidents we have ever had.

    Certain types of people dislike him merely because he wasn't a faggy urbanist pseudo-intellectual... The same reason people don't like Trump. His policies are anywhere from awesome to no worse than anybody elses, yet he is bagged on endlessly. It's his image tools don't like, same as Jackson.

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  • loveconstitution1789||

    Over the past 20 years, arguably no libertarian thinker has cut a broader or deeper intellectual swath across American public policy and culture than Tyler Cowen.

    Its like Gillespie doesn't even know what a Libertarian is.

    Message to Regulators: Bank Fix Needed Quickly

    A NEW bank rescue plan may be more crucial right now than the fiscal stimulus package enacted last month. Yet we don't seem capable of finding a clear path toward cleaning up our major financial institutions.

    Tyler Cowen had his TOP MEN picked out in 2009. If only they were in power in 2019.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    This Socialist sets policy at George Mason University, churning out another generation of intellectual retards.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    You're calling TC a socialist. That's just flicted.

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  • mtrueman||

    This confirms my suspicions. There is no free market solution to the question of carbon. Given the chance to discuss such solutions, Cowen only admits to worrying about the problem, and worrying about worrying.

  • Qsl||

    I don't think that'd fair. Right off the bat, he points out wealthier societies do better on pollution, and that's very much a by-product of markets. And I think libertarians would tentatively support something like carbon taxes if there were greater assurances that it wouldn't turn into a clusterfuk and it actually addressed the problem rather than becoming boondoggle of favoritism.

    Writ large, libertarianism has difficulties dealing with externalities, relying on courts (which is little more than regulation after the fact) or that market choices will eventually manifest themselves once things get bad enough, perhaps beyond being salvageable. On the other hand, other ideologies don't have access to a crystal ball to determine which regulations would be beneficial and what those externalities would be either.

    And I could probably level criticisms about libertarianism forbidding government funding of basic research unless it can be skewed towards some war effort (which is just charming coming from evangelist for the NAP), as the best solution for dealing with carbon longterm will be new technologies that no businesses even have the means to research even if they had the desire.

    But currently, the best means to address carbon is nuclear, which the opposition to has hardly come from markets and libertarian protests.

  • mtrueman||

    "But currently, the best means to address carbon is nuclear, which the opposition to has hardly come from markets and libertarian protests."

    A strong nuclear programme is not evident in free market societies. The most significant in the world today is in communist China, where the government participation is heavy.

  • Qsl||

    Um, the number one producer of nuclear energy is the US. followed by France, Russia, and South Korea. In fact, the US outputs nearly twice as much as the next nearest country.

    Further, choosing China in relation to externalities of energy production is a curious choice to say the least, and beyond the boasts from Republicans, a significant factor in the fall of the USSR was environmental concerns, which really came to a head after Chernobyl.

    Free markets and environmentalism tends to go hand in hand.

  • mtrueman||

    "Um, the number one producer of nuclear energy is the US"

    But the facilities to produce this electricity were built decades ago. Construction of such facilities today is negligible compared to China.

    "Free markets and environmentalism tends to go hand in hand."

    But I've asked many time for a Free Market solution to the carbon question. You offered taxation and nuclear power, both of which involve government.

  • Qsl||

    Hmph.

    Well then do me one-

    Name ANY solution to the carbon question that completely avoids markets.

  • mtrueman||

    "Name ANY solution to the carbon question that completely avoids markets."

    What's the point? I have nothing in particular against markets. I like them. Whenever I visit a new country I make it a point to visit and enjoy their markets, even if I'm not in the mood to do any shopping, which is most of the time.

    Imagine a pair of houses situated in some isolated place. One, a poor but honest chap has a bicycle with which he generate electricity. The other is a quadriplegic author who buys the electricity to power his computer and do his work. A wonderful solution without any government intervention. I'm not saying this is any solution to the bigger problems we face, instead, I just raise it as an example of unregulated market (if two people can constitute a market) that I'm perfectly fine with.

    The issue is government intervention, which to many or most here is akin to slavery. Given this extreme aversion to government involvement, I thought the board would be hopping with Free Market solutions. Nuclear and tax is about the extent of it.

  • Qsl||

    What's the point?

    Because you are asking the market to solve for x, essentially to move it to a desired outcome of your choosing, which kinda negates the entire concept of a market. The market hasn't provided me assassin catgirl fembots either. I feel your pain.

    And I would be curious how do you come to the determination that it needs to be solved and by what price without markets?

    The issue is government intervention

    No, the issue is the type and degree of government intervention, and in my case effectiveness. We already have cops, military, courts, etc. to facilitate the actions of the market. Hard to trade if there are no laws and no means to enforce those laws. Hard to build nuclear plants if the regulatory structure is onerous.

    And some may favor market mechanisms to address it, some may favor research, and some may favor I'm dying soon anyway so you deal with it.

    But ultimately the free market solution is that if people want carbon emissions reduced enough, they will pay for it through billions of transactions of the market.

    Really not that hard to wrap your mind around.

  • mtrueman||

    "Because you are asking the market to solve for x"

    No. I've repeatedly asked for a Free Market solution. One without government intervention. There don't appear to be any.

    "And I would be curious how do you come to the determination that it needs to be solved and by what price without markets?"

    I never determined that. I have nothing against markets as my fable about the bicyclist and the quadriplegic was meant to illustrate. Why do you keep insisting otherwise?

    " the issue is the type and degree of government intervention"

    Maybe so, but a Free Market solution wouldn't have government intervention. In the end, I think you agree with me that a solution without government is not feasible.

    "But ultimately the free market solution is that if people want carbon emissions reduced enough, they will pay for it through billions of transactions of the market."

    Many will pay. But many others will sell. That's the nature of a distributed network which renewables will probably entail. But constructing that network will cost a shit ton of public money, much of it going to fund projects in places on the other side of the globe.

  • vek||

    With respect to nuclear, one of the biggest reasons we DON'T have nuclear in the modern west is because of EXCESSIVE government regulation. Before hippies got crazy with over burdening nuclear we were on track to pump out tons of nuclear plants. If situated in geographically suitable areas, they're basically the best form of power we have. Especially some of the more modern reactor designs. Idiot leftists who don't understand the science behind them are the main problem, not the market.

    THAT SAID, we still have ZERO idea whether or not carbon will actually be a problem to begin with. UN estimates have been off by 50% or more the whole time, so if warming is man made, it may be a non important amount even if we did nothing.

    Additionally, all the alternative technologies were already advancing before governments wasted billions on subsidies, and will continue to do so. If solar can be cheaper than coal, which I think may be theoretically possible... Then the market will fix the problem itself.

    Some other forms of pollution are better examples for externalities IMO, but are also mostly localized. As a libertarian leaner I am not opposed to very MODEST environmental laws, but the trick is to keep them sane. We probably had everything we needed by the 60s or 70s in most areas... The hippie lobby just continued making up complaints after then to keep the donations coming in. If we returned to just modest and sane laws, it would be fine.

  • vek||

    Alternatively if one wants to go full on libertarian, IMO essentially allowing "common law" of past settlements for polluting the environment that has negative effects on others property would quickly resolve most of the worst issues... Especially since we already have many of those cases on the books before theoretically repealing the actual laws.

    If it is known that dumping XYZ thing in the river will ensure you lose a massive lawsuit, people will not do it out of self preservation. Also, in order to have insurance insurance companies would likely require certain independently arrived at guidelines are followed etc.

    I think a lot of the time people forget that human knowledge has advanced A LOT since we were doing many of the stupid things we used to do... I just don't believe we would see the kind of behavior as we did in the 1800s. People thought there was no way we could actually screw up the environment, because it was so vast. We know better now, so people will behave better. Combine that with social pressure, potential lawsuits, etc and I don't believe it would be a big issue.

    This is essentially the same argument I have for why unions are less needed than they were 150 years ago... The standards people find acceptable are simply different now. Same with many other regulations, including environmental ones.

  • mtrueman||

    "Alternatively if one wants to go full on libertarian, IMO essentially allowing "common law" of past settlements for polluting the environment that has negative effects on others property would quickly resolve most of the worst issues..."

    I'm pretty wary of the legal solutions, putting these matters into the hands of the folks that let OJ walk. But there are some strong points to your idea. "Others' property," though should be expanded to the oceans, the atmosphere, animal or plant species and such things that aren't anyone's property.

    Have you read recently about plummeting insect populations? I noticed something of this myself. Usually about this time of the year some of the windows on the second floor of the house are swarming with 100s of wasps. They apparently like the elevation and being indoors and they huddle against the glass without causing too much trouble only stinging me from time to time when I tread on a stray or one works its way into my clothing. We generally get along together. But this year, I noticed a drastic decrease in their numbers. But who (and how) can wasps sue? The cause of the decrease is beyond judges, who are little more than politicians in black robes.

  • mtrueman||

    "With respect to nuclear, one of the biggest reasons we DON'T have nuclear in the modern west is because of EXCESSIVE government regulation"

    Personally I think it's the cost that is prohibitive. Anyhow, you can blame voters for things like compulsory environmental assessments, public review of proposals, onerous safety regulations etc. The public is aware of the dangers of nuclear and there's no going back from that.

    It seems that you're willing to trust the government to regulate the industry to some degree, straying from the Free Market dogma that holds private interests can do anything the government can do, only better. Are you also looking to government to finance the enormous costs of a nuclear programme intended to replace fossil fuels?

  • vek||

    Yeah, as I said I'm not opposed to VERY mild regulations IN THEORY. The problem is somehow sane people never end up coming up with regulations, it's always idiots and lunatics!

    I don't think there's a way around this in practice, other than having an educated and involved electorate... And I ain't holding my breath for that. But in theory, if we erred on the light handed side, it could be worse. A few areas, like environment, seem to be areas where it is easier to just use the hammer of government, versus even more screwy private/court based systems. Key is keeping them reasonable.

    I am aware of the insect thing, and have scoped it out a decent amount. The problem is, we don't know what is causing it! There are theories for the bees, but other species are having issues too. Is it all just pesticides? Something else? A natural cycle humans have never observed before? The earth heating up (whether natural OR man made)? We have no clue.

    There are other "real" environmental issues too. But they are mostly local. Those are simple to address usually also.

    Externalities in a purist system would have to be thought out... Rivers or lakes it is pretty clear who has the right to sue there, anybody on the water... But the ocean? It'd have to be worked out. But if we had sane people running our government a la 1800s USA, I'd be okay with a couple basic laws.

  • vek||

    I don't think it is the ACTUAL costs of nuclear holding it back at all. It is excessive regulations that don't make sense. IIRC from previous reading via mostly useless mandates they've tripled or quadrupled the cost of nuclear. They build better plants than we have for a fraction of the cost in many foreign countries, while we build basically nothing because of the costs.

    Building nukes in California or Japan... BAD IDEA. Nukes in Kansas that are designed to take winds higher than any tornado ever hits? SUPER safe. These things are pretty much known now. All the problems have more or less been figured out and solved.

    If the government got out of the way, I think one could even remove the government "insurance" for nuclear accidents (which is more or less how it is handled now), and private insurers would simply demand the reactors be safe. All modern designs are basically fool proof at this point anyway. They would also demand they were located in areas where there would be no geological issues.

    I think they would be quite cost effective with no government money put in in such a situation. So no subsidies needed. If Nukes don't come out ahead in the free market, then that's fine. I think CO2 is overblown in terms of whatever warming it causes, so I'm not that worried about ditching fossil fuels.

  • mtrueman||

    "I don't think it is the ACTUAL costs of nuclear holding it back at all. It is excessive regulations that don't make sense. "

    No doubt regulations only add to the cost of construction and operation. But good luck on telling the public that the technology is 'too safe' and could well afford to be more dangerous. Or that the public has too much input into the process and must be curtailed to cut costs and improve profitability. This works in authoritarian China where construction corner cutting is a national pasttime, but I don't see it working in USA or most of the rest of the planet.

  • vek||

    Well, it's all in how it is explained. It's not cutting corners really... Modern reactor designs are simply better. They're generally cheaper to build than old designs, more redundancy, etc etc etc. They're mostly all just template plans from other sites being reused too... So there is literally nothing to do but pick a spot that doesn't have natural disasters that will screw up the plant.

    A lot of what holds it up is the excessive amount of TIME in doing pointless reviews of things that are known to be fine, specific site related BS, and so on.

    So it's a matter of explaining to the public that the PARTICULARS of how the process is handled now is NOT improving safety at all, AND is making it unworkable IRL... Which is killing the Polar Bears don't cha know!

  • mtrueman||

    "They're generally cheaper to build than old designs, more redundancy, etc etc etc."

    Like California's high speed rail, these projects are always cheaper on paper.

    Name a place that doesn't have natural disasters. That was essentially the thinking that went behind the choice of the Fukushima site. Seismologists had concluded that an earthquake of mag 8.6 was impossible, so the engineers knew that they would be safe if the facility they designed would withstand such an occurrence. It was a 9.1 magnitude that hit Fukushima.

  • vek||

    When you're talking a from scratch design, sure. Things go over. But these reactors are being built ALL OVER the planet... Just not in the US. So we know basically what they will run here by adjusting for our labor costs, materials costs, etc. Anything beyond that is excess red tape, which is what we need to get rid of.

    No natural disasters? Nowhere technically. But there are certain types that are less of an issue for nuclear.

    As I said earlier, the midwest is perfect. Tornados ain't shit. I believe most stock reactor designs are already super earthquake tolerant, so even if a freak earthquake hits Iowa... They will probably be WAY overbuilt already.

    There are MANY such other places on earth. Hurricanes may or may not be an easy thing to accommodate too, I'm not sure. They're mostly just wind speeds, which are easy to build against.

    It's basically all just people making excuses for why they want to hate them at this point. The newer designs REALLY are THAT much better than the old stuff. Think about it like this: Compare a 1960s or 70s car with one today. Cars were okay in most ways back then... But they can't hold a candle to the quality of cars in many respects today. Excessively complex auto electronics in the last few years notwithstanding!

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Sure there is. Demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that my carbon emission are causing you damages. The problem is you can't, because the evidence is not evident, and the majority agrees. Absent that, it's just you trying to impose your vision on me.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Civil standard in the USA is Preponderance of the Evidence, not Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

  • mtrueman||

    " Demonstrate, beyond reasonable doubt, that my carbon emission are causing you damages. "

    Isn't that going to cost money? Tax-funded research? That's your idea of a free market solution. You are just illustrating my point.

  • vek||

    See my points above... But his position is pretty reasonable.

    Carbon, one of the only supposed completely non-localized externalities, is basically far from proven to actually be bad.

    Name me another example of an externality that has the same problems as carbon supposedly does? Even REAL problems we used to have like acid rain were mostly localized. Ozone depletion maybe? There are literally only a couple issues, many of which have actually been resolved by treaties between nations, like say international fishing laws or something.

    Provided you believe in the concept of the nation state, and are not an outright anarchist, it may be reasonable to assume that the half dozen or so issues one MIGHT be able to come up with MAY be reasonable to be dealt with via treaty, in the least restrictive way possible, IF they are proven to not be nonsense. Carbon does not yet meet that criteria, unless you're a delusional leftist hack.

  • mtrueman||

    "Carbon, one of the only supposed completely non-localized externalities, is basically far from proven to actually be bad."

    But CO2 has been identified as a greenhouse gas. It has the capability of trapping heat that would otherwise bounce off into space, as I understand it.

    Treaties have their place, but they are not going to change the fact that burning fossil fuels will result in CO2 pollution. Once we burned oil from whales. It was replacing whale oil with a substitute that saved the whales from extinction, not any treaty. That's why I look to other sources, like the sun, to replace fossil fuels. I know many here prefer nuclear to be that substitute, but it's too costly, toxic, rigid and authoritarian for my tastes. I prefer the sun, something I feel much more comfortable with, whose warming, life giving rays I've never had to pay for.

  • vek||

    Carbon IS a greenhouse gas... But so what?

    So is WATER VAPOR. It is the most important greenhouse gas actually, BY FAR. Should we regulate it???

    Whether CO2 traps some heat doesn't matter... What DOES matter is how much heat? How is that going to effect the world? Will it be good or bad? Do the benefits of fossil fuels outweigh the costs if the results will be negative?

    Those are the questions to ask.

    The earth was on a natural warming trend long before we started pumping out CO2.

    I have no problem with nuclear OR solar... I think the thing a lot of people fail to get is that different technologies will be needed in different places.

    In Arizona solar might actually be a good way to go as prices continue to come down, because it's REALLY sunny there. In Canada, it is probably a HORRIBLE way to go. Maybe they should use wind, or nuclear, or continue using coal.

    There will be no single silver bullet globally. Given that UN estimates for warming at various Co2 levels have been off by 50% or more... I think whether we need to worry about carbon is still up in the air anyway, despite all the lying statists claims it is settled. When they can accurately predict things even a couple years out... Then maybe I'll see what the projections show and give them some credence. Until then it's all fluff.

  • mtrueman||

    "Those are the questions to ask."

    Answering them will cost money. Money spent on climate scientists, a group of humanity that is renowned here for their stupidity, mendaciousness, corruption and communistic leanings.

    "In Arizona solar might actually be a good way to go as prices continue to come down, because it's REALLY sunny there. In Canada, it is probably a HORRIBLE way to go. Maybe they should use wind, or nuclear, or continue using coal."

    I like the idea of a high voltage DC grid that can transport power from one side of the planet to another, so that in the nighttime we can avail ourselves of sun light falling on the other side of the world. An expensive project, but it's the only way these renewables make sense.

  • vek||

    Well yeah, corrupt scientists are a problem... The thing is, they're mostly only corrupt because the leftist politicians that fund them, and the media that backs those politicians, are there doing their thing. Honest science could be done. Hell, even many of the scientists currently working on the stuff do somewhat honest work, that then gets distorted by the pols and media to push their agenda.

    Most scientists would probably openly admit the mainstream models have been off by 50% or more, which means we REALLY have no way of knowing exactly how hot things will get... I didn't notice the MEDIA or leftist POLS admitting that fact.

    Yeah, I know DC is better for long range transmission... I can't remember how much better though. IIRC the loses are still far too great to REALLY make that workable economically. But I could be wrong.

    There are other ways though that might be doable. One is actually solar thermal and using molten salt storage for overnight. Google if ya don't know what I mean. Similarly using energy at peak to pump water, and then let it re-generate power by flowing downwards during the night. Other similar types of ideas. Then there's always MAYBE being able to make batteries cheap enough.

    I mean I think we'll work something out... We have SO many variations on stuff to try. But there may be some localities where no form of renewable makes sense, ever. Those places you run lines in, or use traditional fuels.

  • Sevo||

    "This confirms my suspicions. There is no free market solution to the question of carbon."

    That's because you're not too bright, shall we say.

  • mtrueman||

    Quantum computers, bet you can't wait, right? Things will be much better when the world's computing power is concentrated into a very small number of hands.

  • khm001||

    There is no "solution" to carbon because carbon isn't a problem.

  • John||

    Its nice the Cowen thinks morality is great. Don't we all. It never dawns on Cowen that other might disagree or that their version of morality differs from his. Sorry but " the world economy will do better" isn't a very compelling argument for why his morality is any better than some other variety.

    Cowen is the perfect example of the Libertarian who thinks everyone is exactly like him, if only we would give them the chance to be. Sorry Tyler but they are not. If they were, we wouldn't be having this debate at all or worrying about these issues. Things would just be that way.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    This guy's not a Libertarian.

    He is all about TOP MEN controlling things under a plan.

  • vek||

    Yup.

    This guy doesn't seem to be anywhere close to a purist libertarian, but even if he were a common blind spot for libertarians is thinking that other people have the same morals or thought process as they do. THEY DO NOT.

    Many people are totally fine with "They have shit, I want it, let's take it!" No moral problems with that AT ALL for a good portion of the population. Libertarians seem to miss that one needs to add a mild dose of force to keep those people from getting their way, and ensuring that freedom actually remains for all.

    The problem is that requires a mostly moral populace, a mostly moral elite, and a mostly moral government... We used to have all three of those, but have lost all three of those.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals

    Problematic.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Well, how can we be free and have responsibilities? I mean, if I have to go to work every day, I don't feel free.

  • khm001||

    "how can we be free and have responsibilities?"

    The logical fallacy of equivocation is great isn't it? The "free" of being free to choose how you live, is different from being free from responsibilities. FYI, if you have no responsibilities, it means your life is 100% controlled by another and have zero freedom.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Hey, Nick's touting someone as a pinnacle of libertarianism--did he remember to get the guy to remove his hammer and sickle lapel pin this time?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    +100

  • librich||

    Wonderful, Nick. Some stimulating ideas. These interviews are 30 IQ points above almost everything else in the public policy media.

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  • vek||

    "But it does show there's a kind of moral cultural foundation for capitalism. It's not that I think everyone has to live a particular way, but you need some middle-class core in a society doing that, if only to support the people who really wish to deviate."

    And THIS is why open borders will not work. The fucking man literally shoots down some of his own policies by showing common sense elsewhere!

    Globalism is fantasy land shit. MAYBE if global culture slowly melded, with only good traits replacing bad ones, for like a couple hundred years, THEN we could have open borders. And equalish amounts of economic development too. Until then, nationalism in reasonable doses, and sane policies are needed to keep nations from being made shittier via immigration.

    I'm not even going to bother with half the other nonsense in this article! The guy is clearly right about many things, and very wrong about others... As is typical with people who are too utopian.

  • mtrueman||

    "Until then, nationalism in reasonable doses, and sane policies are needed to keep nations from being made shittier via immigration."

    Nationalism is a dead-end solution from the Romantic era. It leads to endless war and non-stop bickering of just who is included in the nation and who is excluded. I don't see how anyone calling themselves a Libertarian can fall for nationalism's faded charms.

  • khm001||

    "Nationalism is a dead-end solution from the Romantic era."

    Nope.

    "It leads to endless war and non-stop bickering"

    Your lack of historical knowledge is hilarious. The time you marked by nationalism is a time of steep decline in wars and violent deaths.

    "I don't see how anyone calling themselves a Libertarian can fall for nationalism's faded charms."

    Open borders libertarians are children who fall for the siren song of equality. Nationalism is the recognition there is a clear difference between peoples and races. Like minded peoples of largely the same race, who are willing to violently defend their borders against the barbarian horde, results in the most peaceful societies in history.

  • mtrueman||

    "Nationalism is the recognition there is a clear difference between peoples and races."

    Absolute tosh. Everybody knows that different people speak different languages, wear different clothes, worship different gods, eat different foods etc. The folly of nationalism lies in its appeal to blood and soil, a recipe for war and strife. The idea that only nationalists understand the diversity of humanity is nonsense.

    " Like minded peoples of largely the same race, who are willing to violently defend their borders against the barbarian horde, results in the most peaceful societies in history."

    You mean like the Germans, who only came into to being as a nation along side at the time of the Romantic era some 200 years ago. The German nation has been a pest to rival Napoleon, another of your nationalists, since its founding.

  • vek||

    You are in fact suffering from utopian delusions.

    See, you're comparing a messy real world, with an unrealistically perfect one in your head. You're also only using "bad" versions of "nationalism" in your comparison, and good versions of the alternative.

    One, nationalism does not have to be militant, aggressive, expansionist nationalism. Which is clearly what you have in mind. You know who else is nationalistic? Switzerland. Tibet, pre PRC takeover. You don't NEED to be expansionist to simply look out for your own nations interests. This is a common flaw people make. If we can somehow NOT invade people now as mixed up nations, why could we not do the same while simply accepting that France is primarily for French people?

    The idea that the only acceptable moral principle is to destroy your own people and culture is... Well, sick. Wanting to peacefully preserve your own culture DOES NOT necessitate doing anything bad to other peoples whatsoever. PERIOD. To imply that it does is absolute folly. It is the ultimate libertarian argument: The right to do your own thing, and be left alone while doing it, since you're not harming anybody else.

    Second, you think multiculturalism will actually work... History shows IT causes violent internal strife, and usually outright civil wars. It is only ever held together by force, because the people do not naturally share values or like each other enough to be functional under a single government.

  • vek||

    This can be purely cultural between those of the same race, but is magnified even moreso when one can easily distinguish people by their race.

    Empires have forcibly held different peoples together... But you ever notice that every time an empire falls, new states tend to arise with borders that go along cultural and religious lines? Why do you think that is? Because it works and is natural.

    See all the turmoil, problems, political issues, money wasted, rage, hatred, etc we have in the USA and Europe now... Japan has ZERO issues with ANY of these things.

    Imagine how productive the USA would be if we didn't have these issues. This might be doable with just lower levels of immigration from any ethnic group, given time to assimilate, but surely massive and fast immigration with no time to assimilate does not work well. We're a shining example of this in action.

    There's a lot more nuance to be had, but those are the general points. The modern utopian ideal that both libertarians AND leftists have is totally contrary to observed reality, like it or not. Multicultural societies are always the tumultuous ones, not homogenous ones. Historically homogenous societies are also the most successful. This isn't to say you can't skim the cream for immigrants globally, but en masse from disparate cultures WILL create massive problems.

  • mtrueman||

    "You know who else is nationalistic? Switzerland."

    I don't think we're going to agree. Switzerland is a multicultural society, always tumultuous and unsuccessful, according to you. Tibet was never nationalist before 1950, it was a religious monarchy.

    "why could we not do the same while simply accepting that France is primarily for French people?"

    Who is French and who is Unfrench? This is the non-stop bickering I referred to.

    "Wanting to peacefully preserve your own culture DOES NOT necessitate doing anything bad to other peoples whatsoever."

    It's nevertheless a fool's errand. Culture, language, clothing, food are in constant flux under many influences. Attempting to preserve them is a pointless exercise for conservatives.

    " new states tend to arise with borders that go along cultural and religious lines? Why do you think that is? Because it works and is natural."

    Perhaps this is quibbling, but to me what is cultural is not natural. There's a nature/culture divide, broadly speaking. There's nothing natural in one bunch of people speaking one language on one side of a river and another bunch speaking another language on the other side. There are historical reasons for this.

  • mtrueman||

    "Empires have forcibly held different peoples together... But you ever notice that every time an empire falls, new states tend to arise with borders that go along cultural and religious lines? Why do you think that is? Because it works and is natural."

    This falling empire business goes a lot further back than the notion of nation states. Empires often tended to break up along family lines. That accounts for the existence of many of the smaller states that dot Europe to this day, like Monaco, Liechtenstein, and so on. Their inhabitants are all but indistinguishable from their neighbours.

    Europeans who forced the Rwandans into two nations of Hutu and Tutsi played their role in the troubles that go on. Vietnam's National Liberation Front were responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, and more of their own. Algerian nationalists were just as much of a problem for the French.

    Sometimes nationalism can bond besieged people together, much like religion. That's a positive, but it all too often comes with chauvinism and aggression.

  • vek||

    I'm not going to hit every point but...

    Again, you're using a very specific VERSION of nationalist. Essentially any nation that looks out for their interests and interests of their people, and will not do things that are against those interests to the benefit of other people, is being nationalistic. This is basically all I am advocating.

    This does not require being aggressive towards your neighbors, not being friendly, not doing business, etc. Think the US/Canada relationship. We're friendly and all is well, but we each do our own thing. This should be how everybody deals with everybody else. BUT tat doesn't require one nation bending over for another nation because they whine about something, or allowing mass immigration because people want to move and bump up their income, while also completely destroying the native culture they are replacing.

    And of course cultures change over time... But the thing is IMO it is WRONG to willfully and intentionally take policies that are not good for your nations population, and intentionally try to alter the demographics massively in a short span of time. These types of actions ALWAYS create problems.

    Did you know that the immigration into the USA since 1965 is the largest movement of people in history in raw numbers? Look what that has done to the country. We're now no longer united, and because of the particulars of this movement I don't believe we ever will be.

  • vek||

    Frankly, it is little different than what we did to the Native Americans. The only difference is the Natives had the brains to mostly not be okay with it. Contrary to popular belief, we actually killed very few Indians in actual wars in the USA. We mostly just demographically replaced them via immigration as disease had reduced their numbers already. This is now happening to the founding US populations, which are of course mostly white and black Americans.

    In 100 years, or further out, whites will be a hated minority in their own lands. Blacks may not be, as Africa is going to pump out billions of people in the coming decades, who may come here if they're allowed to. They're the only racial group projected to increase in numbers beyond a decade or two into the future.

    Whites are already a global minority (more Chinese or Indians EACH alone than ALL whites combined), and the truth is I have the brains to realize I DON'T WANT TO BE A MINORITY IN MY OWN COUNTRY. Which is exactly what is happening. Why? Because I know how shitty humans are, and I know how we will be treated... And it won't be good.

    All of your points are, at best, Tall Japanese Man arguments. You ignore the historical normal outcomes in exchange for particular exceptions you prefer to make your point.

  • vek||

    The term nation-state is new... But nation-states have existed since forever. They're naturally occurring whenever any ethno-cultural-religious group exists. Without an empire forcing people under a single government, they are the default organizational method once one gets beyond the strictly clan/tribal unit.

    Their size and scope varies depending on circumstances, and they can change over time too, merging or splitting etc... But when fast, tumultuous change happens it ALWAYS brings trouble. If a merging happens it is only after a long period of time, and a lot of pain in between. Often there are wars in that period as one side or another tries to assert dominance.

    If Europe or America bursts into flames, it will be because of these stupidly thought out, utopian dreams.

    It's not that I dislike anyone... It's that I just know it won't work well. If we'd led in smaller numbers it could have been less of a problem... But literally trying to turn a native population into a minority in A SINGLE PERSONS LIFETIME... That shit won't end well.

    Multiculturalism simply doesn't work. If you don't believe me now, give it another 10-30 years and my point will be well made. All the problems are already right there to see, but people are in denial and thinking it will all somehow work itself out, when it will only get worse from here.

  • mtrueman||

    "Multiculturalism simply doesn't work. If you don't believe me now, give it another 10-30 years and my point will be well made"

    Switzerland has been around a lot longer than 10-30 years, or indeed the 250 odd years of American history. It's multi-cultural, multi-religion, multi-linguistic, and it's one of the richest, most democratic, and stable countries on the planet.

    You may be right that America is heading for trouble. But clinging to a past of demographic dominance is no way to forestall it, in my opinion. It will only make things worse.

  • vek||

    You're being VERY blind in downplaying real world differences.

    Switzerland has a couple different cultures... That are REALLY similar by objective standards.

    The difference between a Frenchman and a German, especially in the border regions (Switzerland is one giant mixed up border region between these ethnic groups) is quite small.

    Compare that to the difference between a devout Saudi Muslim and a Swede... Or a Japanese man for that matter. Far more actual differences.

    I also personally believe that contrary to popular PC belief, looking SIMILAR is also very important for being able to meld. American melted into a single "white" ethnicity because we were all Europeans that were culturally close to begin with. Starting with wildly different cultures, AND making it literally impossible to physically be indistinguishable is a major impediment to this working IMO.

    Studies show that even literal babies prefer to be held by people of their own race... You think that shit ain't running in everybodies subconscious all the time? WRONG. It is. We try to shove it down, but it's there, and fuels problems. Even if whites don't care, all other races are still rabidly racialist in ALL their thinking. Both sides have to agree to disarm for it to work, which they are not.

  • vek||

    As long as everybody BUT whites continues to act in racialist ways, it forces whites to be racialist, even if you would rather not. You will HAVE TO to protect your own interests. This is how it always tends to work when cultures clash.

    Make no mistake, all these non whites ARE a different thing than Brits, Germans, and Italians forming one people in the USA. So far there is little sign things will work out the same way... At least with the numbers we have. If it had been smaller, it probably would have worked better.

    Likewise I think even with non whites certain groups have clearly integrated better than others... I see no reason to think this won't continue. Asians slide right in and do BETTER than whites in our own countries. Everybody IS NOT the same. To think they are is utopian.

    In short: Assimilating peacefully takes time, and all people will not do so equally well.

  • vek||

    For instance I think Japan could allow in Chinese, Korean, or other Asian immigrants, and become the "America Of Asia" no problem. There would be small issues generation 1 or 2, but then it would be peachy. Alternatively, if they let in Africans, Middle Easterners, or EVEN Europeans in large numbers, there would be far larger problems for a lot longer period of time. They'd be more culturally different, and wouldn't blend into the population, so would remain "others" eternally.

    These are just practical real world considerations. You're basically arguing that it ISN'T easier for a Mexican to move to Argentina and fit in than it would be for a Somali... If you can't see how absurd that is on its face, I don't know what to say. Particulars matter.

    As for our problems having nothing to do with immigration... Just look at voting patterns. We wouldn't be libertopia without any immigrants... But we'd be a LOT better off. White Americans are the only group that broadly believe in all the ideals America was founded on. PERIOD.

    At worst, we'd basically have our political parties like they were in the 70s-90s still. Dems would be sane still, Rs would be slightly better cucks still. Instead we've shifted hard left... It is entirely the non white vote that has moved the Overton window that far left.

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  • TGoodchild||

    "If you're an academic, you're not involved with producing it in a direct way. You like to play games with other people's money. "

    Amen.

  • khm001||

    "His work covers everything from the literal and figurative prices of fame to how globalization empowers Mexican folk artists to whether public funding for the arts has been more successful than most free marketers would grant."

    Such a wide ranging area of attention means despite a mile wide, his knowledge is only an inch deep. By the iron laws of mathematics, we are all ignorant of nearly everything and can only be expert on a small number of topics. Crowing about the large number of topics a person has studied is really code for how little depth that person actually has of most topics on which he speaks/writes.

    "The world is moving away from classical liberal ideas"

    Cowen himself is an example. Traditional marriage and nationalism are classical liberal ideas, ideas Cowen rejects. In fact, he rejects many of the cultural and political morality of classical liberal ideas. Instead, he pretends classical liberalism is ONLY about economics, something so laughably absurd, you'd need to go to lengthy efforts of indoctrination to convince yourself of.

  • khm001||

    "The idea that economic growth over enough time is better for virtually everyone"

    This has yet to be proven. Increased wealth for a violent, culturally and politically culture, simply means it's now easier to export that shitty culture, making the lives of everyone else much worse off. We can see that at the local levels, such as when bus routes open going from shitty areas to wealthy areas, the wealthy areas spike in crime and lower property values. And we can see this globally, such as the evil anti-white actions of Angela Merkel.

    "Work hard, save some money, marry well, be good to family, cultivate your friends."

    Cowen is only an advocate of the first two. Marrying well necessitates being an advocate of traditional marriage, while rejecting open marriages and gay marriages. Be good to family means protecting the culture and politics in which you have your family. Open borders advocates, as Cowen is, is actively hostile to such preservation. And you can't cultivate friends, while openly advocating for degeneracy and open hostility to your own culture.

  • khm001||

    "it seems to me that some redistribution is a really good investment."

    It COULD be, if the right people, i.e., people who will actually become productive members of society, are actually subsidized, rather than shitty people. This necessitates discrimination, including BOTH racial and sex based discrimination. Forcing white Americans to subsidize black Americans has been a disaster for both whites and blacks. Same on the global scale as whites are forced to subsidize shithole Africa. Subsidizing women simply resulted in a spike in single motherhood rates. Single mothers, literally, destroy communities and civilization. It's no coincidence the shittiest places in the US are exactly the places where there are far more single mothers, most of whom exist through wealth transfers from intact families to these terrible women. Welfare, as the transfer of wealth from whites to blacks is called, is a disaster for all.

  • khm001||

    "Come 1828, the nation rejects that and opts for Andrew Jackson. I think in 1828, few people really had a sense of what would be coming over the next 30, 40 years. I wonder if today is not another 1828 moment.

    Well, that is certainly not a happy thought."

    It's not a happy thought slavery in the US was entirely eliminated and the institutions for a nation, rather than a collection of states, were forged? The result of the 30-40 years after Jackson resulted in the 100 years of staggering American, and ultimately human progress, never seen before in human history.

    "I think globalism works better when more people pursue commonsense morality."

    Globally, most people do NOT "pursue commonsense morality". Cowen simply assumes away the problem, by pretending the "commonsense morality" he defines as "Work hard, save some money, marry well, be good to family, cultivate your friends" is held by a MINORITY of humans. Further, the example of Utah and the Mormons assumes away the white, Anglo-Saxon Christians who built a nation that completely surrounds and protects Utah. It's true, we'd all be far richer and live in an incredibly peaceful world if everyone embraced Mormonism. But most reject Mormonism. White Anglo-Saxon Christians are needed to protect people like the Mormons from the barbarian horde that wants to eat the tiny minorities that make up communities like the Mormons, who not only couldn't, but probably wouldn't defend themselves against the violent horde.

  • vek||

    A lot of great, and true comments!

    Many people just can't seem to grapple with the reality that there are too many shitty/dumb people for CERTAIN aspects of purist libertarian thought to actually be functionally good solutions in the real world.

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