Robin Hanson And Kevin Simler’s The Elephant In The Brain

Read my essay on Robin Hanson And Kevin Simler’s The Elephant In The Brain:

“Our ancestors weren’t nice people. They kept slaves, looked forward to wars and sent people to concentration camps. It is easy to dismiss them as moral retards, but that would be setting the bar way too low. Slavery is bad, war is violence, and sending people to concentration camps isn’t very nice. Blacks, Jews, and foreigners are not ambiguous classes of people, and violence is unambiguously wrong. It takes no particular sophistication to see how cruel our ancestors were. But it takes remarkable insight to see such cruelty hidden in plain sight today. Libertarians are fairly good at seeing cruelty others miss. We see taxation as theft, war as murder and citizenship as slavery. We aren’t naïve enough to think everything will be fine if we have a good president at the helm. But we make a huge, comparable mistake. We assume the market is a great restraining force against fraud and deceptionNow it is true that certain forms of deception are checked by the market. But this is not true of many other forms of deception. There is a real sense in which the market values the ability to deceive. Libertarians are blind to this, at their own peril.”

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