My Intellectual Insurance Policy
By Bryan Caplan
My The Myth of the Rational Voter argues that many wonderful policies are extremely unlikely to be adopted because voters are deeply irrational. You could call it a bleak conclusion: If my descriptive views about the world of politics are correct, then the world of politics will persistently trample on my normative ideals.
Very sad, but there is a silver lining: My views provide me with a strange intellectual insurance policy. The more my normative ideals lose, the more my descriptive views win. If political disaster strikes, I can claim victory for my social science. And if great policy reforms come to pass, I can claim victory for my political philosophy. Whatever happens, either I win as a scholar or I win as a human being.
It’s a small consolation, but it’s something.