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Judge Posner’s Goofiness

Recently, Judge Richard Posner said, “I’ve become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy.”  A very peculiar claim in a couple of ways.  I had the same reaction to this that David Bernstein had.  Will Posner respond to Bernstein?  Judge Posner is probably a genius, but what possibly could he say?

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on July 10, 2012 at 05:33:32 am

Posner has been moving Left for a long time. "Sex and Reason" came out in 1992. What has been missed relative to that book is that Posner confused "is/ought" statements. That is very odd for a gifted economist used to dealing with rules. But the overwhelmingly amazing matter emerging from the book was Posner's version of "Getting to Denmark". Posner endorsed unmarried mothers in the context of State welfare. The reality is that once the State has taken over the family's functions, it becomes all powerful. That is why when you go to the Museum of Communism in Prague, you see Communist Party statements to the effect that the family has to be abolished. Moreover, anyone who was not blind would see that government provision is extraordinarily inefficient, in purely economic terms. Posner would say that in giving extra choices, it increases individual freedom. This is along the lines of the New Liberalism that displaced the old liberalism (Thatcherism) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries - for example, L.T. Hobhouse. But then, if that is the measure, why don't we just give everybody an automobile and a house and say, $500,000, when they turn 18? Why don't we abolish work and give everybody 52 weeks of holidays? If we do not give everyone $500,000, why would we give a woman that amount over a long period, just because she had a child out of wedlock? New Liberalism, when it goes beyond subsistence, needs a theory of what is important and why. It does not have one and nor does Posner have an explicit one.

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Max Wilson

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.