Don Boudreaux and Bryan Caplan want you to know that their criteria for the circumstances in which their ideological opponents should forfeit employment are slightly narrower than those of the mainstream.
Behold, the courage of mainstream libertarianism! From, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” to “I still don’t think you should be allowed to conduct research, but I would have terminated your employment for slightly different things you said” in a few generations.
I can’t think of any opinions that should disqualify someone from being employed by a willing employer. Who’s the libertarian now, bitches?
Here’s the nut of their “argument” (I hesitate to use that word without quotes, since we’re discussing who should get fired from their job for their factually-based opinions):
I would add only – as a matter of emphasis – to Bryan’s take that a researcher who argues that immigration policy would be improved by screening out low-I.Q. immigrants is a researcher who doesn’t understand the principle of comparative advantage.
One of the more useful general principles that I learned studying economics is analyze argument by using extreme cases.
For example, does the principle of comparative advantage dictate that immigration of few million people in a persistent vegetative state would improve overall well-being/wealth of society. There are two potential answers: 1) “no,” in which case Boudreaux’s argument is wrong; or 2) “yes,” in which case the principle of comparative advantage is wrong.
The answer, of course, is “no.” Comparative advantage only works when certain assumptions are met. (For example, it won’t necessarily work in societies in which everyone is disabled and people use food stamps to buy bomb-building supplies).
(Note, I mean no offense to people in persistent vegetative states nor do I mean to compare them to any non-vegetative human beings, the point is to consider the extreme case to evaluate the argument – a difficult point for minds in the PC-era to grasp though hardly one that is composed of complex logic).
What the good professors are doing, is engaging in wishful thinking. In their ideal societies, the conditions in which comparative advantage works, would be met. Alas, our society is not such a society. In the end, all they’re doing is wishing we had a different society. Oddly though, given that they’re wishing for something, they’ve picked a very strange wish.
Why not just wish that everyone was super smart, super productive and super lucky? That scenario is no less likely the total re-ordering of society.