Golden(ish) Oldies


Cass Sunstein

Absolutism Redux” and “The Cost of Rights” (both on the political, economic, judicial, and ethical theories of Cass Sunstein)

4 Responses to “Golden(ish) Oldies”

  1. Tom G. Palmer

    Not as far as I can tell. I did comment on a presentation he made at the Cato Institute a few years ago and we had a robust discussion, but I don’t think he has ever responded to responses or criticisms of his attacks on libertarianism.

  2. Cyril Morong

    Here is a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education that got printed.

    “I enjoyed Evan R. Goldstein’s “The New Paternalism” (The Chronicle Review, May 9) about Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, authors of Nudge. Who could disagree that “human perception is flawed,” or that we all have “cognitive limitations”? This suggests enacting policies that “nudge” people in the right direction.

    But it seems like a straw man is being used when Thaler and Sunstein say that policy makers previously assumed that all people can think like Albert Einstein and can exercise the patience of Mahatma Gandhi. Surely no neoclassical economist would believe that. Even Milton Friedman, in Capitalism and Freedom, said that “there is no avoiding the need for some measure of paternalism.” But he also said that the principle that “some shall decide for others” is very troubling and that “there is no formula that can tell us where to stop.”

    Coincidentally, Alan Wolfe summarized John Stuart Mill’s view in the same issue: “The purpose of liberty is not to give us what we want but to help us grow so that we can best understand our wants” (“The Forgotten Philosopher,” The Chronicle Review). Let us hope that the “new paternalism” does not end up stifling such human growth. In understanding our wants, we get to know ourselves. If someone else is always nudging us in the right direction, we will never figure anything out on our own.”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>