Friday, September 13, 2013

An Apology to my Readers

I've been posting here at EE since January of last year, and in that time, I've been writing under the warrant that fully euvoluntary exchange is universally acceptable. That indeed, if all six conditions are met and the exchange itself isn't morally or aesthetically objectionable, then not only would the tails of the voting distribution shelve any pretense at meddling, but even the busybodies themselves would pass their eye over the exchange in search of more worthy prey.

I was under the impression that the Euvoluntary Exchange thesis had something important to say about the nature of third party interference in mutually beneficial voluntary exchanges. I thought that Munger had made some very compelling arguments that fit well with not only the conflict resolution literature but with my own reflections gathered from close to four decades of trundling my corpulence upon this weary earth. I truly believed that a careful analyst, perhaps backed by frameworks forwarded by leading philosophers and economists could comment meaningfully upon modern instances of state-sponsored coercion.

I was wrong, and for that, I sincerely apologize.

From CBS, through Reason, and handled by the Dub-MOE, we now have irrefutable evidence that the EE conditions are insufficient to explain state intervention into the act of eating a meal in your own home.

Take your time. Read the links, especially the CBS link with the original story.

Now pause for a moment and ask yourself what the difference is between a cholera epidemic and a salmonella outbreak. Ask yourself if there is a meaningful difference between harm and external harm. I used to think there was. I used to think that an airborne contagion that could infect others without their knowledge and consent was substantively different in kind if not merely in degree than a food-borne illness whose risk was already captured in market prices. The metastasis of public health organizations suggests to me that my distinctions were the benighted ravings of an academic crackpot. Public health officials (in this story, retired public health officials) have now conflated private, one-off (minor) health risks with effectively unavoidable airborne pathogenic diseases. I had it all wrong.

I mean, the alternative explanation is that the snout of the state has begun to push past the euvoluntary fold, and that? That's just crazy.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?