voxette-vk said: Also, he is against the drug war and doesn’t “think addicts should be punished”. Though he doesn’t think taxpayers should be coerced to help them. That’s not the same thing.
while it’s difficult to summarise someone’s innermost views, harping on the inherent immorality and undeservingness of people and suggesting that the government spends too much on addicts, teenage mothers, and the unemployed may be treated as an aggressive act by some.
if you placidly observe a drowning person you are not actually punishing them, strictly speaking, and if you yourself cannot swim you are not morally obliged to drown yourself trying to hold them above water.
nonetheless, if you lived in a world where many people were drowning, it would make sense to consider whether society could be arranged so as to reduce this problem, and consider the consequences of various policies, rather than deciding that they must be inherently immoral to have gotten themselves into such a stupid predicament without taking reasonable precautions, and hence are undeserving of assistance.
we have lifeguards to rescue swimmers in trouble at the beach, even the stupid tourists who ignore the warnings.
now there is an escape hatch to say ah, but I support open borders! which will help more people than local wealth redistribution!
great, with the amazing wand of counterfactuality we have open borders and the American poor are truly poor and the Bangladeshi poor marginally less poor and the global wealthy substantially more wealthy.
now what happens to the people who don’t matter?
there is a deeper question about Caplan’s belief in moral realism in which his Libertarian ideology manages to be simultaneously capable of delivering the optimal economic outcomes and the optimal moral outcomes, for which you can chalk me up as Highly Doubtful, but it’s fundamentally just “welfare queen” rhetoric dressed up with less race baiting.
If you take a society as the relevant group where you are trying to help people, then you are not giving Caplan’s ideas a fair hearing, because he’s considering the world. So when you ask what we should do for the poor in the US, you’re missing much of his point. You haven’t addressed the issue of why we should prioritize people living in the United States over people who don’t. People are literally dying to get into the US. Why favor people who already have an advantage that others, starting with much less, would make great sacrifices to get?
Also, you know, if Caplan’s ideas are good, or if they are bad, it doesn’t matter if he personally is an asshole or not. They can be evaluated independently of that question.