The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 11 No.
5 • September 2008
Instead of union, let us have disunion now. Instead of fusing the small, let us dismember the big. Instead of creating fewer and larger states, let us create more and smaller ones.
— Leopold Kohr, The Breakdown of Nations, 1957
Not only was the United States the last major country to abolish slavery, but we were the only country to do so violently.
— Thomas H. Naylor, Secession, 2008
I try to save my money. Who knows, maybe one day it’ll become valuable again.
Wisdom from The Myth of the Rational Voter by Bryan Caplan
— Milton Berle
The belief that you can outrun a cheetah would prove fatal at the wrong place and the wrong time. But given the chance of cheetah encounters, it is usually a safe mistake.
False beliefs range in material cost from free to enormous.
Assuming that all people are fully rational all the time is bad economics. It makes more sense to assume that people tailor their degree of rationality to the costs of error.
When voters talk about solving social problems, their primary aim is to boost their self-worth by casting off the work-a-day shackles of objectivity.
“We encounter the price-sensitivity of irrationality whenever someone unexpectedly offers us a bet based on our professed beliefs.” Suppose you insist that imposing increased costs on the production of coal and gas—such as a carbon tax—will not have a negative impact on economic activity and your standard of living. Then someone challenges you, saying, “If you’re really ‘sure,’ you won’t mind giving me ten-to-one odds.” Why are you unlikely to accept this offer? Perhaps you never believed your own words; your statements were poetry—or lies. But it is implausible to tar all reluctance to bet with insincerity. People often believe that their assertions are true until you make them “put up or shut up.” A bet moderates their views—that is, changes their minds—whether or not they retract their words . . . an offer to bet triggers standby rationality. Two facts then come into focus. First, being wrong endangers your net worth. Second, your belief received little scrutiny before it was adopted.
Intuitively, if one vote cannot change policy outcomes, the price of irrationality is zero.
. . . in elections with millions of voters, the probability that your erroneous policy beliefs cause unwanted policies is approximately zero.
D&S comment: Hence, you (as an individual) risk nothing in an election by voting for your favorite false beliefs.