DeLong writes of Mario Rizzo:
"Ah. I See Mario Rizzo Is Back at It Again...
- Taxi medallion owners have a good thing in a government-sponsored monopoly that gives them healthy incomes and valuable assets, so
- Let's cheat taxi drivers by stiffing them of their tips at the end of the ride.
Before you get into a taxicab, warn the driver that you don't tip so he can decide whether he wants to accept your custom or go on to the next fare.Rizzo is saying:
Get into the taxi without warning him that you don't tip--and then at the end of the ride, when it comes time for you to honor the contract of meter fare plus tip for reasonable service that you had entered into, stiff him instead.I never will understand these people. Never. If they ever wind up in your house, strip-search 'em as they leave. Just saying..."
And this is really the point: libertarian thought often seems divorced from the way human social behavior has evolved. It's not coincidence that this is the most strikingly true for libertarians who derive their guiding principles from some allegedly deep deontological principle, like "non-aggression principle" or opposition to "coercion" or the virtue of selfishness. Those who proceed like this usually do a notoriously bad job either (1.) justifying, or (2.) applying these foundational principles. To borrow from Keynes, deontological libertarians offer an "example of how, starting with a mistake, a remorseless logician can end up in Bedlam".
This is not how all libertarians think. Some, like Hayek, have a deep appreciation for spontaneous social orders. "Good Hayek" thinks in terms of spontaneous order, following in a long liberal tradition. "Bad Hayek" begins to think like deontological libertarians and entertains libertarian dictatorships. This is not a new problem to this blog - we've discussed the problems of libertarian social engineering on here before. It's not just a libertarian thing of course. It's a problem with any movement that is associated with a particular formula for organzing society. If there's a bedrock, very carefully laid out, deontological principle and a penchant for deductivism lurking around, it's usually a sign that this can be a problem.
Brad has questioned libertarians before, of course. Recently he was incredulous that I cited Bob Murphy as a libertarian that's easy to get along with (Mario is easy for non-libertarians to get along with too, actually). Bob, after all, saw Mario's minor social friction and raised it an apocalypse by suggesting it would be unethical to use government money to avert a life-destroying asteroid.
Nuts, I know! I agree with Brad on that.
Here's how I see it: as long as Mario isn't working for the New York City tourist bureau, and as long as Bob isn't the director of NASA, I don't see how there is any real problem here - crazy as the assertions are.