By Arnold Kling
Nick Schulz interviews Bryan Caplan. An excerpt,
SCHULZ: William Buckley once said “I would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty.” Do you disagree? Why?
CAPLAN: I’d definitely rather be governed by the members of the American Economic Association – or even a random sample of college graduates – than by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book. The problem with the faculty of Harvard is that it’s highly educated (a predictor of more reasonable views in general), but also highly self-selected for leftist ideology (a predictor of very unreasonable views about markets). So would the Harvard faculty be better or worse than what we’ve got? It could go either way.
Bryan also improves on one of his classic examples.
suppose a mad scientist wants to give you an unnatural operation. Which would you prefer? A selfish mad scientist who refuses to operate unless you pay him – or an unselfish mad scientist who ties you down on the operating table and says “You’ll thank me later – and your gratitude will be payment enough”?
His point is that irrational voters are like the unselfish mad scientist, who is even more dangerous than a rational mad scientist.
Read the whole thing. I know we are bombarding you with plugs for Bryan’s book, but his thesis is pretty unusual and important, eh?