13 April 2011

A list of biases and preferences

1) Pro-civil liberties/anti-security theater
1a) Pro-free speech especially.
2) Pro-sex ed/anti-anti-science (ie, abstinence only sex ed)
2b) Pro-vaccines too for that one
3) Anti-dumb regulation. I see these all the time in the form of licensing laws, sign restrictions, most traffic laws, etc. A better way to put this is that I am anti-symbolic laws. Laws should actually function to do things against that which they purport to oppose when they are constructed. They should not simply be a pass-forget system in which we feel better for having done something (or opposed something) and we all move on without having evaluated whether the law actually benefits the people it is publicly intended to. Most laws will have beneficiaries, but they are often authorities, or rent seeking industries, and not say, poor people, or minorities. Many laws use the fallacy of a corner solution also and ignore their significant costs and effects in their haste to attend to a single issue (and often enough, badly at that too, as in the case of anti-drug laws).
4) By contrast, pro-externality prices. So by my reckoning, gasoline, most forms of energy, water, meat, corn, or milk probably would either cost more if left to their own devices in the market or would use more efficient methods to gather them (as would most narcotics cost more in my idealized state, as they would be largely legal and taxed). Sugar would probably cost less. Corn and milk probably would too. As would labour
5) Pro-immigration/anti-xenophobia. I think there are some smart arguments against mass immigrations of people across borders, but most of them are coached in the same tired "logic" of the Know Nothings in the 1840s and 50s. That these are a noisy, dirty lout of criminals and degenerates streaming across the border. Send them back from whence they came! And so on.
6) Pro-Utilitarianism and empiricism. Anti-received "wisdom". Lots of arguments are just utterly wrong when they come this way because people don't fully understand where they are coming from themselves, having not had to think through their beliefs. If you have very few critical first principles, and arrive at them basically as "free people will tend to do better than otherwise", because that seems to be the historical trend, then it's a stronger case to be made than "america is teh awesome" or some such.
7) Anti-emotional appeal. I see people doing this frequently. The plural of your anecdote is not data.
8) Pro-market. I'm not definitely anti-union, but I'm not all that fond of them at this point either. They have not done much of benefit for the public since we enacted a series of labour laws and they mostly operate as another source of rent-seeking for an industry lobby.
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