What part of the Constitution would you repeal?

On this day (5 December) in 1933, the 21st Amendment was offcially ratified. This was the historic constitutional amendment that repealed the Puritancial and paternalistic 18th Amendment, which had mandated a nationwide prohibition on the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcohol. So, if you were the King or Queen of North America for a day, what constitutional clause or amendment would you repeal? The open-ended Interstate Commerce Clause? The cumbersome Electoral College? The oppressive 16th Amendment authorizing federal income taxes? So many terrible rules to choose from!

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The primacy of procedural rules

Check out the map pictured below depicting the results of the 2020 presidential election by county or parish. (Hat tip: u/natanel_thicc, via Reddit.) In other words, if the Electoral College were tied to local counties instead of States, President Trump would have easily won re-election! Former VP Joe Biden, however, won the popular vote, so perhaps it is fitting that we will have to wait until 2024 for a Biden/Trump rematch.

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Lock Them Up!

Bush and Blair are war criminals and deserve to spend the rest of their lives rotting in a jail cell. Yeah, I have not forgotten about the Iraq War, and if I ever meet either of these smug assholes in person, I will make a citizen’s arrest.

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Rest in Peace, Walter Williams

More details here, via National Review. Professor Williams was one of my intellectual heroes.

Update (12/4): Here is another homage to Walter Williams, via my colleague and friend Alex Tabarrok.

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The logic of cancel culture

More details here. Hat tip: Brian Leiter.

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Revised Review of Cowen

FYI: I have posted a revised version of my full-length review of Professor Tyler Cowen’s “Love Letter to Big Business.” Below is a summary of my review, which is available here via SSRN:

“In 1848, two obscure German philosophers, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, published a revolutionary pamphlet called ‘The Manifesto of the Communist Party.’ The Communist Manifesto, destined to become one of the most influential works of political philosophy of all time, began with these famous words: “A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism….” Now, almost two centuries later, someone has finally chased down this seductive spectre and attempted to bottle her up for good. That someone is Tyler Cowen. In brief, Cowen has just published a kind of ‘Capitalist Manifesto,’ one that is even more intoxicating and liberating than Marx and Engel’s original screed. Far from the source of all things evil, Cowen explains why privately-owned business firms should be praised.”

Amazon.com: Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero  (9781250110541): Cowen, Tyler: Books
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Libertad para Denis y para todos los artistas cubanos

Via Civicus: “On 9th November 2020, … rapper Denis Solís González [pictured below], was detained [by the Cuban State Police]. Days earlier, the musician had used his social networks to share a live video of a police officer who had entered his home without a warrant. On 11th November 2020, Solís González was tried and sentenced to eight months in prison on ‘contempt of authority’ charges. According to Amnesty International, he was then transferred to a maximum-security prison.” More details here (in Spanish) and here (in English).

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JFK’s White House Bedroom

Source: Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC)
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Compilation of my most recent Adam Smith blog posts

I am in the process of getting my paper “Adam Smith in Love” ready for publication in an upcoming volume of Econ Journal Watch. In the meantime, below is a convenient compilation of my most recent “Adam Smith in Love” blog posts:

  1. Madame Nicol
  2. Adam Smith and Abbeville (redux)
  3. Adam Smith in Love: 18th-Century Sex in the City of Lights
  4. Adam Smith in Love: A Bayesian Rabbit Hole
  5. Adam Smith in Love Update: A Fourth Conjecture
  6. Adam Smith in Love: The Lost Letters
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How early do you arrive at the airport?

The late great George Stigler once observed something to the effect: “If you’ve never missed a flight, you’re spending way too much time at the airport.” (See also Natasha Geiling’s excellent essay here.) However you answer this question, Justin Wolfers has recently formalized Prof Stigler’s intuition thus (bravo!):

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