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...

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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 project...is 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 priceless...so 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.

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You can compare my comment to the EconLog's comment policy.  Or...you 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 blog...it 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.