The Enduring Appeal of Perversity Arguments and Unintended Consequences Warnings

James Forman, Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize last week for his book Locking Up Our Own. It is well-deserved. That book–and his earlier work wrangling with Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow–shows the ways that we have arrived at the wicked problem of mass incarceration through something much harder to disdain than evil scheming by distant elites. We… Continue reading The Enduring Appeal of Perversity Arguments and Unintended Consequences Warnings

“The purpose of law enforcement, with respect to transactional crimes, is to make sure that they have ‘good’ criminals.”

Keith Humphreys shares this interview with Vanda Felbab-Brown. There are no dull moments, but here’s one I think should give us lefties pause: what will replace the underground marijuana economy? Felbab-Brown explains: Most of the time governments tend to fight illicit economies and not think about what will replace them. Policies are often premised on the… Continue reading “The purpose of law enforcement, with respect to transactional crimes, is to make sure that they have ‘good’ criminals.”

Arendt, Antisemitism, and the Chicago Teachers’ Union Strike

I am one of those ideologically-impure liberals that worries a lot about public sector unions. On the one hand, I favor workplace democracy and collaboration; on the other hand, I worry about the fact that as union membership has declined, the majority of remaining union members haved tended to be at the top of the… Continue reading Arendt, Antisemitism, and the Chicago Teachers’ Union Strike

Democracy Means Asking the Right Questions

Whenever I talk to students about democracy, I like to emphasize that the original term for democratic rule was isonomy. Consider the account Otanes gives in Herodotus’ History: “[T]he rule of the multitude [plêthos de archon] has… the loveliest name of all, equality [isonomiên]…. It determines offices by lot, and holds power accountable, and conducts all deliberating… Continue reading Democracy Means Asking the Right Questions