I just wanted to add one quick point to DougJ’s anger at Tyler Cowen’s pure, sociopathic callousness. Elias Isquith is right to say that the post demonstrates what we’ve been saying plainly for years, which is that conservatives and libertarians actually are opposed in principled to sick poor people going to doctors and getting healed. (Tyler Cowen can come right out and say it, and that’s just adult political discourse; if I accuse Tyler Cowen of it, Andrew Sullivan and the rest of the Very Serious People will spit out their gum.) But it also highlights just how stupid this kind of callousness can make you. Says Cowen, “the wealthy enjoy all sorts of other goods — most importantly status — which lengthen their lives and which the poor enjoy to a much lesser degree.”
Most importantly status?
Let that roll around in your brain for a little while. Let it seep in. The most important good that the rich enjoy over the poor, in Tyler Cowen’s world, is status. What an ugly, privileged, ignorant, myopic, empirically invalid thing to say. He might as well have said “I am wealthy and have lost all ability to make discriminating observations about social class.”
I really wish Tyler Cowen would walk down to one of the poorer neighborhoods in DC and tell some desperately poor child, “You know, kid, you think you envy me because of my physical safety and security, the fact that I eat enough every day, that I don’t fear eviction, that I can go to the doctor or get medicine when sick, that I got an education, and that I enjoy material comforts and privileges that are beyond the imagination of most of the world’s people. But, honestly, it’s because I’ve just got so much more status than you do. Now stop cluttering the streets.”
In before Beltway progressives pronounce Cowen “one of the good ones.”