Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Eject vs Exit

It was the first day of class and I was the first person there.  The second person there was some gangster looking Chinese guy...who decided to sit right next to me.  Who does that?  It's not as bad as violating the one urinal rule...but it's pretty darn close.

That was a long time ago.  Andy and I have been good friends ever since.  He's not at all a gangster...but he's at least one standard deviation from the norm.

Another friend that I met at school was Ming.  He's also Chinese and also at least one standard deviation from the norm.  He's an Asian redneck with a degree in physics.  Andy and I give him a hard time because  Dick Cheney shot him twice.  Dick Cheney is an old, half blind Chinese guy that Ming goes hunting with.  Who does that? 

Not too long ago the three of us were hanging out.  Ming and Andy were sitting together on a loveseat sofa.  Andy was on his laptop while Ming was reading some gun magazine.   I was going to ask Ming a question when I noticed that Andy was about to sneeze.  Here's where it gets good.  Rather than turning his head away from Ming, Andy sneezed directly on Ming, quickly glanced at me and then went right back to his laptop without saying a single thing.  What's even stranger is that Ming didn't say a thing either.

Woah!  It was remarkable!  I couldn't even remember the last time that I had observed some new human behavior.  So I asked Ming if he was going to tell Andy something.  Ming's quick response was, "It's ok it's ok."   Then I gave Andy a hard time...especially the part where he glanced up at me to see if I had witnessed his transgression.  Andy was not at all remorseful.  

It didn't bother me one bit that Andy sneezed directly on Ming...I thought it was hilarious.  But wouldn't it have been strange if I had made Andy sit somewhere else?  It would have been strange because Ming was perfectly capable of "exit".  Nothing was stopping him from sitting elsewhere.  So if he wasn't bothered enough by Andy's behavior to move...then why would I "eject" Andy from the couch?

A few days ago I was "ejected" from the EconLog Blog because of my comment on Bryan Caplan's blog entry...Is Bleeding-Heart Libertarianism Evil?  Here was the comment that I submitted...


You know who else wanted to throw the baby out with the bath water? My Mommmm!! That was a Muscle Man reference. Errr...he's a character on the Regular Show.

Actually, Murray Rothbard also wanted to throw the baby out with the bath water. The "minor" detail he missed was...well...the baby. Neither the government...nor the BHL all bath water. The government does a few things pretty well...and so does the BHL project. You know what the BHL project does well? Heterogeneous activity. It hedges its bets. It doesn't put all its eggs in one basket.

There's Peter Boettke...From Capitalism and Freedom to Free to Choose...and Andrew Cohen...States Must Do Bad...and Gary Chartier...Violence, Wars, and States...and Jessica Flanigan offers some interesting food for thought... Can you sell your future self into slavery?

You know which part of the BHL project consists of bath water? The part where Zwolinski banned me from commenting on his website. My comments are pretty much not sure why Zwolinski would want to ban me. Well...unless value is subjective. Which would be a pretty good argument for allowing taxpayers to use their taxes to indicate which part of the government is the baby and which part is the bath water.

Yeah, pragmatarianism is on the rise.


You can compare my comment to the EconLog's comment policy. can just take my word for it that my comment did not even come close to violating their comment policy.   According to the e-mail I received, the problem was that it was the 4th time that I had linked to the Wikipedia entry on Tax Choice.

Clearly they were willing to tolerate the first three times that I sneezed on them.  But the fourth time was when they decided to put an end to my nonsense.  Everybody has a breaking point.

Is the problem with me or them?  Well...given that I've also been ejected from the Crooked Timber blog and the BHL would seem pretty straightforward that I'm the one with the behavioral problems.

It's not all that straightforward though because readers are perfectly capable of picking and choosing what they read.  If people decide it's not worth it to read my comments...then nobody is forcing them to read my comments.  They can easily "exit" from  my comments simply by skipping over them.  I have no problem skipping over comments.  Who has a problem skipping over comments?  Anybody who has difficulty skipping over comments will sacrifice a lot of their time to the Gods of the Internet.

The trick is understanding that...just because I might not find value in your comments does not mean that nobody will find value in your comments.  The subjectivity of values forms the basis of tolerance.  But moral arguments are not sufficient for tolerance.  Just because somebody understands the moral arguments for tolerance does not mean that they will understand why taxpayers should be free to choose which government organizations they give their taxes to.  People just don't understand why we should be tolerant enough to allow people to directly allocate their taxes.

Therefore, economics trumps philosophy.  Well...maybe not...but that will be the subject of my next post.  Unless my priorities change.


  1. Xero,

    Here is some of your "wisdom" from Noah Smith's blog:

    You'd pay for the public goods that you value and I'd pay for the public goods that I value. Why are you so intolerant of other people's values? Why are you so blind to the economic value of tolerance?

    Good for you to raise the issue of tolerance. If you weren't so bloody stupid you'd understand that it is you who is the intolerant one. Representative democracy requires that we elect lawmakers TO REPRESENT US. But, you find this intolerable. The idea that lawmakers should have the power to appropriate funds you find intolerable. Alas, the government cannot function if it cannot control the amount of money each agency or project receives. Again, you're so blindingly stupid you can't see this.

    Neither of us wants America to fail...we just disagree on what it will take for America to succeed. It's a given that we'll debate the merits of various ideas but at the end of the day you should have the freedom to put your taxes where your heart is and I should have the freedom to put my taxes where my mind is.

    No. At the end of the day you should try to elect politicians who share your general values. Then show that you respect and tolerate the democratic process by abiding by the laws of the land. In extreme cases, sure, you should protest what the gov't does if you find it deeply morally offensive. But your case against the system that our Founding Fathers designed is based on selfish, petty intolerance. It saddens me that you are so stupid you can't see that.

    And as a result you pollute other people's blogs with your idiotic remarks. What a shame.

    1. Either a minority or a majority of people share my perspective on the subject. Which do you think it is? If only a minority of people share my view then only a minority of people would directly allocate their taxes while the majority of people would give their taxes to their representatives. If a majority of people share my view then the majority of people would directly allocate their taxes while a minority of people would give their taxes to their representatives.

      You say that I'm being intolerant yet I'm advocating that people have the freedom to allocate their taxes according to their beliefs. You believe in congress so you would have the freedom to give your taxes to congress. I don't believe in congress so I would have the freedom to directly allocate my taxes.

      I want people to have the freedom to exit from your beliefs. How is that being intolerant? In no way shape or form am I ejecting people from their beliefs. Just because I have the freedom to worship my Gods does not mean that you do not have the freedom to worship your Gods. If your Gods are truly great then why are you so afraid of allowing people to decide for themselves who they sacrifice to? If your Gods truly produce results then why does the thought of political tolerance cause you such anxiety?

      You say that I'm so bloody, blindingly stupid...but the thing is...we're all just blind men touching different parts of an elephant. The only people who are bloody, blindingly stupid are the people that believe that they are exceptions to this rule. Throughout history...the greatest human tragedies have occurred as a direct result of blind men believing that they could actually see.

      You want to impose your beliefs on me because you are certain that you can see. I don't want to impose my beliefs on you because I KNOW that I am blind. You tell me that you can see truth...but I can't touch the truth that you are telling me about. It doesn't mean that it's not there...or that it is just means that my perspective is truly limited.

      Maybe your perspective isn't as narrow as my own? That's entirely possible but you can't ever know that because you'll never exactly know how narrow or broad my perspective is.