Let’s take a brief break from our exploration (and defense) of rationality and look at the big picture. I’ve been researching and writing on the same thing (why it’s rational and moral for my clients to control the wealth they do) since 10/9/14. Stealing their wealth in order to pass it out to others is wrong. Seven years of Bayesian updates to my Schelling Fence has made me confident and secure about that. I’ll keep looking for a rational counterargument but haven’t found one yet.
A recurring theme among thinkers who attack successful concepts like rationality, meritocracy and classic liberalism is that they have no good suggestions for what would replace them. Knock out Meritocracy – what’s the alternative? Tear down liberalism – what replaces it? They cannot tell you because there is no good answer – I’ll keep looking.
Here’s an article responding to Patrick Deneen of Notre Dame (whose insightful ideas I discussed here 3/28/17 – 6/6/17 and 2/20/18 – 4/24/18):
Liberalism (free markets, limited government, freedom of speech, the rule of law, etc.) works and works well. It’s not perfect. It has flaws but it’s what we got, flaws and all. Even if you don’t read that whole Rod Dreher article – the door dialogue at the end is pretty funny. It illustrates the ‘there is no alternative to liberalism, meritocracy and rationality’ point nicely:
“Hey mister, that front door you have is in pretty bad shape. It’s not going to keep the bad guys out.”
“Yeah, you’re right about that. It’s been bothering me for a while. What do I do?”
“I would take down that door right now. It’s crap.”
“What, and leave my front door wide open? Are you serious?”
“I didn’t say you had to leave it wide open. You need a stronger, better door.”
“I know. So what do you have for me? Are you selling doors?”
“Not as such. Why do you ask?”
“Because you’re telling me that my door is weak and I need to take it down. What are you proposing that I put up instead? I can’t just leave my house wide open.”
“You are operating from a defensive crouch. Is your name David French?”
“A defensive crouch! The days of being in a defensive crouch behind flimsy doors are over!”
“Damn right I’m being defensive. I want to defend my house from the bad guys. You are telling me that my front door is in bad shape, and I agree. You are telling me to take it down. You want me to take down weak protection for no protection at all. What sense does that make?”
“There will be a better door, in time, when we learn again how to build doors like they did in the 13th century. Now those were some strong doors!”
It goes on… but you get the point. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Back to Rationality Tuesday.
EDIT: Lest we let our guard down, the anti-meritocracy coercive wealth redistributionist minds persist:
I’ll be moving on to myside bias in the coming months, which explains why respected mainstream academics are so blindly biased….. and quite wrong about confiscating my clients’ wealth so it can be handed out to others through an inefficient, bloated bureaucracy.