Friday, March 16, 2007

Good point from someone at Overcoming Bias
In recent posts, I have predicted that, if not otherwise prevented from doing so, some people will behave stupidly and suffer the consequences: "If people have a right to be stupid, the market will respond by supplying all the stupidity that can be sold." People misinterpret this as indicating that I take a policy stance in favor of regulation. It indicates no such thing. It is meant purely as guess about empirical consequences - a testable prediction on a question of simple fact.

Perhaps I would be less misinterpreted if I also told "the other side of the story" - inveighed at length about the reasons why bureaucrats are not perfect rationalists guarding our net best interests. But ideally, I shouldn't have to go to such lengths. Ideally, I could make a prediction about a strictly factual question without this being interpreted as a policy stance, or as a stance on logically distinct factual questions.
This has been an issue on this blog, and just in conversation in general. People look straight past what was actually said to the "true meaning" of what you've said.

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