Turing test: Fail

Bryan Caplan has a clever idea (he has many clever ideas). His claim is that libertarian economists can explain the liberal position on economics better than liberal economists can explain the libertarian position on economics.

The state forces us to attend public schools which teach us liberal positions. For example, you now have to know environmentalist propaganda to graduate in Maryland. If we do well in school, the state puts lots of pressure on us to go to college, where we learn advanced liberal positions. In other words, we all know how liberals think.

However, if you study economics, you also know how mainstream libertarians think about economics. So, I think most liberal economists can explain Milton Friedman (though not Mises or Rothbard) just as well as most libertarian economists can explain Keynes.

I went to school for 16 years. In that time, all of my teachers were liberal except for one, who was libertarian and who taught economics. My point is that you never, ever have to learn how conservatives think.

As if to prove this point, here’s Bryan Caplan trying to articulate the conservative position on immigration:

A few liberals – and many libertarians – literally advocate open borders. I recognize that immigration is the greatest foreign aid program in human history, and I sympathize with the plight of would-be immigrants in the Third World. Most immigrants – legal or not – are nice people. But open borders is crazy. It seriously risks killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. I’m very open to more cost-effective and humane ways to deal with the negative effects of immigration. But as long as immigrants are eligible for government benefits, hurt low-skilled native workers, and vote, the only people we should readily admit are the highly-educated and clear-cut humanitarian cases. I’d put Haitians in the latter category. Asking Mexicans to live on a $10,000 a year in Mexico is reasonable, but asking Haitians to starve in post-earthquake Haiti is a disgrace.

To be honest, I can’t really figure out what Caplan is saying. I think he ends up reverting to the libertarian-anti-immigration position, which says that open borders are preferable when there’s no welfare state, but that since we have a welfare state, we shouldn’t have open borders.

Grade: F

I think the root of the conservative position is that not all people are identical. If you import 25 million Mexicans into California, you don’t get California the way it was before it had 25 million Mexicans filled with 25 million rich Mexicans. You actually get something that looks a lot more like Mexico. Instead of California acting as a “foreign aid program,” post-immigration-California will likely need to be bailed out (i.e. will need some foreign aid of its own).

Or put another way, there are lots of Americans who are only cut out for low-skilled jobs. Importing an effectively infinite amount of unskilled laborers may then cause problems.

Both libertarians and liberals simply cannot admit there might be some people who are only cut out for low-skilled jobs. They can’t admit it even when they’re pretending to be conservative.

(As if to prove my point, Aretae has a super long post in which he basically argues you can’t possibly determine which people will be more productive.)


16 Responses to Turing test: Fail

  1. aretae says:

    You can…watch them work.

    Smartest guys I know (or who are 1 step removed) are an online poker-player, a usually unemployed surfer-physicist, a high school science teacher, a patent-lawyer, a garbageman, and an “AI researcher”. Smartest Girls between 30 and 40: semi-employed professor mom, full time homeschool mom, part-time author/professor mom.

    By my read…I’d advocate staying away from the 4+ sigma IQ crowd if you’re looking for productivity.

    My 115-ish IQ high school coach, who spent 15 years getting 2 masters and a Ph.D….he’s FAR more productive than any of the smart folks I know….and a better person besides.

    • Foseti says:

      I agree . . . So how do we get from 115 iq is good to open borders with Mexico?

      • aretae says:

        I was responding first to Hoppe, then to you.
        Hoppe says, effectively, “test for IQ and skin color when choosing immigrants. You’ll get productivity”
        I say…Hoppe is wrong. By observation…testing for IQ and skin color doesn’t get you productivity.

      • Foseti says:

        Really? Your example doesn’t prove that you don’t get productivity. Are you suggesting iq isn’t highly correlated with productivity?

      • aretae says:

        Yes, IQ has a positive correlation.
        Patience kicks IQ’s butt all over the map.
        I think Conscientiousness is in the ballpark of IQ.
        Self-Efficacy is hard to measure, but beats IQ on most measures.
        And “Parents made money” beats all of those by a fair margin.

        Hoppe is using IQ because he’s got a personal bias, not because it’s even objectively the best measure. Also, it gives him results he wants for other reasons.

  2. trewq says:

    Import third worlders and you’ll get the third world.

  3. Handle says:

    And who would pass the Reactionary Turing Test to explain the core tenets of the traditionalist (or, at least, anti-Progressive) position? It would probably just turn out to be a risible cartoon caricature of a skinhead.

  4. spandrell9 says:

    Aretae’s wife is black. I think that says it everything. No HBD for him.

  5. Leonard says:

    I have studied conservatives a fair amount, and my impression is that you still aren’t getting an A here. Maybe a C.

    Yes, conservatives don’t want to flood the country with Mexicans. But this isn’t really about their lower IQs or productivity, although that is one aspect of conservatives’ resistance. It isn’t about economics at all. Trad cons also resist flooding the country with Chinese — which makes no sense from a reactionary perspective, at least my neocameralist one. I mean, +5 IQ! (And for aretae, patience and conscientiousness!) Those guys ought to be a gold mine for the State! But the traditionalist doesn’t care about that — they are alien, and that is all he needs to know.

    We can explain this by seeing things in a different way. From the trad con perspective, the white Anglo Protestant majority of the USA is a nation, in the old sense of nation. Nations are established by God as a part of the natural order, and should not be intentionally interfered with by man. Letting in any aliens — racially, linguistically, religiously, or any other way — will attentuate the nation and is therefore undesirable. We can see proof that our nation is a part of the natural order by self-reflection, where we find that we love it, identify with, and don’t want it changed — even to let in productive Chinese.

    (I have tried several times to get Steve Sailer to say anything about whether or not importing Chinese instead of Mexicans would be a good idea — and he has never bit. I take this as evidence that he is more traditional than you might guess from most of his output.)

    • Foseti says:

      Absolutely correct.

      My broad point was that conservatives believe that different people are different from each other. This applies culturally as well. American democracy may not function in the same way if America imports millions of Chinese, for example.

      I think this still fits under my broad point, but it’s obviously better to conservative to make conservative cultural concerns explicit.

  6. […] – “Turing Test: Fail“, “An Insider on […]

  7. Xamuel says:

    Where are you all going to school at? I’ve done undergrad at University of Arizona and I’m doing grad school at Ohio State University and I can count on one hand the number of vocally liberal professors I’ve studied under (it would take two hands to count the number of vocally conservative prof’s, but the vast majority simply don’t discuss politics)

    • Pano says:

      Who knows Xamuel. Maybe it’s because you’re so far-left you think liberal conservatives are far-right because the educational system has without a doubt a huge liberal bias.

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