By Bryan Caplan
I’ve already seen George Mason University badly mistreat non-conformist professors. Should I expect the same to happen to me? I wouldn’t be surprised, but I’m not greatly worried either. I’m definitely not going to self-censor to protect myself. Yet quite a few people tell me that I’m in grave danger. One of them, Todd Proebsting, a C.S. professor at the University of Arizona, has offered to bet me.
To be clear, Todd wishes me well. He does not want me to suffer mistreatment; he merely predicts it. Here are the terms on which we have agreed.
I bet Todd Proebsting $50 at even odds that I will NOT be “clearly mistreated” by George Mason University before January 1, 2031.
If there is a dispute, Phil Magness will have final authority to determine the winner of the bet.
Examples of “clear mistreatment” include but are not limited to:
1. Any public announcement by an agent of my university’s administration that my speech or writings are under investigation, or a subject of further inquiry.
2. Any GMU investigation or inquiry into my speech or writing. This could be done by administrators or an ad hoc committee or HR or whatever.
3. Any official disciplinary action due to my speech or writing, even if limited to a mere “warning”.
4. Cancellation of a public talk by me at GMU.
5. Any negative financial consequences explicitly justified by my speech or writings.
6. “Clear mistreatment” does NOT include any employee of GMU expressing disapproval of the content of my speech or writings, but DOES include any official personal or professional condemnation. So: Todd doesn’t win for “GMU strongly disagrees with what Prof. Caplan said about pickpockets,” but Todd does win for “GMU strongly condemns Prof. Caplan for saying that about pickpockets.”
Update: David Henderson has accepted the same bet, with the following proviso: “In the event that David R. Henderson is dead or has dementia on January 1, 2031, neither he nor his estate has to pay up in the event of David’s losing the bet and neither he nor his estate is owed money by Bryan Caplan in the event that David wins the bet.”