Sunday, May 01, 2005

Elite opinion

Good odds are the best that we can hope for in this world and I like these odds:
  • Economic freedom is good for prosperity.
  • Prosperity creates a demand for political freedom as well as more economic freedom.
  • Prosperity and growth are the best antidotes to poverty.
  • There is an environmental Kuznets curve and prosperity is good for the environment.
  • Democracies are loathe to make war on each other.

In other words, property rights are amazingly cost-effective. All of this makes the current fight in the U.S. Senate about putting pro-property rights judges on U.S. courts (including the Supreme Court) so very important.

While there is growing scholarship that elaborates all of the bullet points, much of elite opinion is still hostile (and/or uninformed). This is why Jeffrey Rosen's "The Unregulated Offensive" (link may no longer work) in The New York Times Magazine of two weeks ago (and the responding letters to the editor in today's edition) so interesting.

Rosen began with: "They believe an individual's economic RIGHTS [caps are his] are inviolable. Which leads them to NOT believe in the constitutionality of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and HEALTH adminsitration, Social SECURITY and the minimum wage. They have built a NETWORK of scholars, public-interest lawyers and sympathetic activist judges. The next SUPREME Court appointment could be one of theirs."

I saw this and imagined fainting spells among Times readers, from Connecticut to Malibu. Those who steeled themselves to read on would have encountered a well written (one hopes thought provoking) piece.

The response letters in today's edition are, for the most part, pretty tame. One writer links property to slavery, suggesting that he is out of intellectual ammunition.

Some very strange things on judicial confirmations may still happen in the U.S. Senate but I voted for the incumbent President twice mainly because I feared the rear-guard judicial doctrines and appointments that would be forthcoming from the Kerry-Biden-Kennedy-Boxer-Dodd group.