Over the previous decade, I’ve felt just like the world has grow to be a lot dumber. Political decay as soon as related to a couple of nations similar to Italy and Philippines has unfold virtually in all places. However possibly that’s simply me getting older and grouchier. Perhaps the world isn’t any dumber than earlier than.
Jonathan Haidt has a thought-provoking essay in The Atlantic entitled:
So it’s not simply me. I’ve a couple of reservations with Haidt’s views on social media (as does Matt Yglesias), however the essay is nicely price studying.
When dumb concepts are widespread, refined folks search for deep explanations. Who features and who loses from that dumb coverage? However maybe public alternative fashions with particular curiosity teams don’t present the reply. Maybe it’s simply the stupidity, silly.
This headline from Reason magazine caught my eye:
So given a alternative between authorized weed and black market weed, Senator Rubio prefers the latter as a result of it’s laced with fentanyl. That’s looks as if a fairly punitive angle towards drug customers. Sure, they’re breaking the regulation, however do they really should die from a fentanyl overdose?
I believe that there’s an alternate interpretation of Rubio’s place, he’s merely confused.
A 3rd risk is that Rubio just isn’t confused, and that he’s cynically exploiting the ignorance of voters. I’ve met many, many individuals who’ve advised me that legalizing medication is a nasty thought as a result of the drug commerce may be very violent. Sigh. . . .
However what makes you assume Rubio just isn’t a type of folks? Clever folks typically maintain dumb opinions.
In a previous post, I identified that low carbon vitality sources like photo voltaic, wind, hydropower and nuclear are being held again due to objections by environmentalists. Perhaps they’re merely confused.
Matt Yglesias lately linked to a survey that has city specialists shaking their heads in disbelief:
There’s additionally a broadly held perception that constructing extra housing makes housing extra unaffordable. As soon as once more, right here’s Yglesias:
What’s the widespread thread in all of this stupidity? Issues should not as they appear at first look. You want to analyze a state of affairs. Right here is how issues appear at first look:
1. The Chernobyl catastrophe damage the surroundings. Nope, it helped the surroundings a lot that the world round Chernobyl is now certainly one of Europe’s best nature preserves, full of untamed animals.
2. Photo voltaic, wind and hydropower can damage the surroundings. However the coal-generated electrical energy they change hurts the surroundings far more.
3. The leafy suburbs of Lengthy Island are higher for the surroundings than the concrete jungle of Manhattan. Nope, Manhattan homes 2 million folks utilizing far much less land and vitality than does Lengthy Island.
4. In cities the place they’re constructing plenty of luxurious excessive rises, housing is getting costlier. Sure, however the internet impact of the brand new development is to gradual the speed of improve in housing costs.
5. The drug commerce includes a whole lot of crime and violence. Sure, however the crime and violence happen exactly as a result of the medication are unlawful.
The ethical of the story is that unhealthy coverage doesn’t all the time end result from nefarious particular curiosity teams. In lots of instances, it’s merely a query of stupidity. If Jonathan Haidt is right that the world is getting even stupider, then we’d anticipate much more dumb laws going ahead.
PS. Partial drug legalization doesn’t essentially shrink the unlawful drug commerce. Full legalization does (even with pretty excessive taxes), as we’ve seen with cigarettes.