The Folly of Fantasy-Based Political Philosophy

It’s a coin toss which is more damnably confounding – contemporary journalism or contemporary philosophy. Reminded of this conundrum by the latest New Yorker article whooping up Elizabeth Anderson, a University of Michigan philosophy professor, as the great hope for American equality. The 8000-word profile was an exercise in faith building which failed to sway at least one unregenerate cynic. Here’s my podcast take on the article, the philosophy professor, and the bunkum.

Anderson, like the vast majority of political philosophers nowadays, simply ignores the nature of the State. Should we pretend government is a highly efficient, purring engine, like a hovercraft sailing deftly above the lives of ordinary citizens? Or should we think of it as the Wizard of Oz, doing great things for us behind a curtain? Should we embrace a Peter Pan theory – government would be wonderful if only people would believe that it has magical powers?

It is time to stop confusing what the State is with what its champions claim it can be. The surest effect of exalting government is to make it easier for some people to drag other people down. It is time to demystify the State—to see it as merely another human institution that relies on force and fearmongering. And we sure as hell don’t need any recipe for equality that puts more people under the federal thumb.

Here’s a link to my Wall Street Journal piece mentioned in the podcast – “Raising Hell in Subsidized Housing” –  and a USA Today story I wrote on how Section 8 helped wreck Baltimore.  Here’s a piece I wrote on how forced busing ravaged Boston.  And here’s a USA Today oped I wrote on the follies of federal flood insurance, mentioned late in the podcast.

Here is the audio version of this podcast:

And here’s a different approach to political philosophy – Freedom in Chains –


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3 Responses to The Folly of Fantasy-Based Political Philosophy

  1. H. Skip Robinson January 9, 2019 at 7:15 am #

    Good job Jim. Additional most of the nuclear plants wouldn’t have been built unless the government insured the projects because no insurance company in their right minds would ensure the potential liability of a nuclear power plant. Can you imagine what Fukushima would have ended up costing an insurance company if the Japanese Government wouldn’t have insured it? Chernobyl the same thing.

    It is just so easy to sell socialism to ignorant people and the lamestream media is very good at it.

    • Jim January 9, 2019 at 9:09 am #

      Thanks, Skip. Agreed – the Price Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act of 1957 slanted the playing field in the US in favor of nuclear power & undermined incentives to avoid catastrophe.

      At least we still have ethanol. 🙂

      • Vince January 12, 2019 at 11:34 am #

        Ye, 1000 times yes. Current and envisioned next-gen nukes are unsustainable because of the subsidies. There is no incentive.