Since you're nerdy enough to read EconLog, I assume you're familiar with Bizarro World, Bizarro Superman, and Bizarro Jerry. Now imagine adding a new figure to this mythology: Bizarrro Wolf Blitzer. In Bizarro World, the masses and the mainstream media (Blitzer included) are thoroughly libertarian. Statists are just a handful of hard-blogging oddballs. To signal his open-mindedness, Bizarro Blitzer invites a leading statist on his show....
My claim: The people of Bizarro World have a far better understanding of right and wrong than the people of the real world. In Bizarro World, people know that it's morally permissible to refuse to help a total stranger who failed to purchase health insurance, and morally impermissible to treat a peaceful immigrant like a criminal.My response on EconLog was censored, because apparently "WTF" is such strong language that it makes Galtian supermen clutch their pearls and head for the fainting couch. So reproduced (reconstructed) below:
WTF does "morally permissible" mean? It can't mean "moral under the generally accepted moral code of western civilization", since that makes charity a moral requirement (as stated explicitly in the Torah, in the New Testament, and in fact by most moral codes elsewhere).
If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. " -- Deuteronomy 15:7-8So it must mean "moral according to the rules of libertarian bizarroworld", which inverts the usual moral codes. In libertarian bizarroworld, selfishness is a virtue and charity is a sin. The sociopath-admiring Ayn Rand I guess is the prophet of this inverted religion.
[[update: this is too good (emphasis added):
Suppose a guy with no health insurance and no assets shows up at a hospital emergency room with an urgent life-threatening condition. Should you let him die? Ordinary compassion says no. The heightened compassion of the economist says, at the very least, maybe.
Has there ever been a field so self-regarding as libertarian economics? Any field that is so in love with its own abstractions, so convinced that they confer moral virtue?
I will give the author of that quote, Steve Landsberg, credit for making it a "maybe" (sure, anything might be true), and focusing on an important issue (the scope of compassion). But still.]]