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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cloistered Academics Have No Real Life Experience

Are academics naturally prone to liberal politics because they have little first-hand work experience in a business? Do they see corporations as all powerful while anyone within can see they are dysfunctional? Is the world view of academics due to having jobs that have high autonomy with low risk?

Discussing these questions is Arnold Kling in an essay in FrontpageMag.com (Kling is published in that great website for the first time that I know of).

Capturing the essence of the liberal fantasy that government, if it were run by just the right people, would solve the ills of society, Arnold Kling writes the following:

Many academics share the adolescent fantasy that government would be terrific if only the right leaders were in charge...

A good way to cure the adolescent fantasy is to spend time in government. Up close, it is hard to tell the people from the special interests. The crusaders for more low-income housing turn out to be construction companies. The campaign for energy independence and clean-burning fuel turns out to be a plea for a subsidy to benefit a large ethanol producer. Conversely, those of us arguing against drug price controls do so not because we are industry stooges but because we believe that markets incentives lead to better treatments and cures.

The Democratic Party is opposed to tax cuts. Is this a matter of principled concern for the fiscal health of the United States, or is it because "the people" that dominate the party platform -- the teachers' unions; the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; and opponents of Social Security reform -- all feed from the government trough?


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