Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cycle of Stupidity, Part II

Volokh Conspiracy blogger Todd Zywicki weighs in on the Jane-Mayer inspired Kock brothers kerfuffle. Surprisingly (given that we're talking about a generally conservative-libertarian site), a number of commenters weigh in with support for the Mayer piece. The general thrust of that support? That it's important for people to know these billionaires are supporting free market causes and that (gasp) free market causes may help their business interests. I'll leave it to Zywicki and others to point out the numerous cases where free market ideology works against the interests of big business. What I'm more interested is this notion that any of this matters, that disclosure matters in the idea business ... and that is what we're talking about, the idea business.

The implication by Mayer and everyone who's spoken favorably of her piece is that there's some sort of problem with people with money supporting limited government, free market ideas. It's sort of like saying that we ought to call into the motives of old people who support social security or poor people who support welfare. The larger government gets, the more people are likely to be impacted by it one way or another, and it's just ridiculous to disparage the motivation of people who claim to speak from an ideologically pure perspective based on nothing more than the fact such people could benefit from their favored policies. As I stated in the last post, why should money matter more than the quality of ideas? Why is knowing so much about where ideas might come from more important than the ideas themselves? Once you get into the source disparaging business, there's no turning back to the arena of honest intellectual debate.


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