Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Over The Transom

Relate to both feelings of safety, and motives for gun control, I had an article from FEE showing that Nobel Economist Ronald Coase predicted in 1974 that intellectuals would eventually begin to favor censorship and regulation of the marketplace of ideas. His reasoning was that they controlled that marketplace at the time and had no need for censorship, as if there was any regulating to do, they would be the ones tasked with it. Yet if that control eroded, he thought, they would favor taking control back via regulation. Changes in communication since that time - cheaper phone service, cable TV services and deregulation of radio, computer improvements that allow self-publishing, and most dramatically world-wide internet publishing of content has democratised the marketplace of ideas. Social media has even more become the town square for many people, and the intellectual class has no control over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  They have to compete with the hoi polloi, and they don't like it. Claims that unregulated social media (and more!) will allow bullies to silence shyer or less-privileged voices with their harsh statements are the inverse of what has already happened. They were the bullies who could silence other voices, and now they can't. That's why they suddenly want to regulate things after decades of championing absolute free speech.

It is reminiscent of Burja's prediction that when the Chinese start supporting international patent recognition, which he thinks will happen in a decade or so, it will not be because we have convinced them of the rightness and fairness of this, but because they now feel they have more stake in protecting patents than in infringing the patents of others.

Immediately beneath that FEE article is the reminder that we have already had an assault weapons ban in the US, 1994-2004, and the federal governments own evaluation of it showed no effect. (But this time it will!  For sure! Everyone knows that!) Note that Kamala Harris shows that certainty-without-evidence that I found so dangerous to discourse in my own recent post. “We know what works on this. It includes, let’s have an assault weapons ban,” Also linked is an article about the CDC study - yes, all you hating the CDC out there, calm down - showing that guns prevent crime, to the tune of 3M/year. You can criticise FEE's summary of the study - they do leave out some parts and that is a fair cop - and you can find all the fault with the study itself that you like. I simply note that the mere existence of these studies done in good faith illustrates that the idea of need for gun control is at least Not Obvious. Thus government authorities and purportedly objective news outlets claiming that it Is Obvious is unnecessarily divisive.

Why, it's almost as if they are trying to silence less-privileged voices.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Smart fellow, Coase.

Nobody likes competition.