The minimum wage increase is the mostly hotly debated policy.

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Dan Walters is a columnist at CALmatters. Reach him at .

That was totally out of the blue and without any support. I cannot believe you're falling pray to the leftist propaganda machine. It seems the American people outfoxed you on this one.

Russ Roberts: There's still a prize, I think, named after Ely--

Russ Roberts: The American Economic Association.

If the people of the United States weren't terrified with respect to socialism at the turn of the 20th century, with historical hindsight, they should have been.

Thomas Leonard: And it was also incredibly arrogant, at the same time. Right? Naive and arrogant.

That Richard Ely, an illustrious economist, the founder of the American Economic Association and whose name still graces a lecture series today, believed that we shouldn't help people in a famine because it would be better for the world's genetic endowment to let them die, is news to me. He wasn't simply a prejudiced person. He used the best science of his day to justify policies that he believed were good for the world.

Thomas Leonard: That's right--


Thomas Leonard: Mmm-hmmm. Yeah, I think so.

Please keep in mind that I am not coming from a 'You are wrong and I am right" perspective, that I am trying to 'think this through' much as I believe that you are. But my thinking leads me to the opposite conclusion.

Thomas Leonard: Fantastic work. Fantastic.

True, there is a subset of men who are morally suspect, , by those that exhibit the highest levels of psychopathology, drawn almost exclusively from that very subset of men, then the existence of this 'subset' is why government is not only not necessary, but on the contrary, those most likely to form a ruling class could be arguably the foremost threat to the person and property of whatever hapless populace they can lay their little psychopathic hands on.

[spelling of Maz's nick corrected--Econlib Ed.]

And while I agree with you that conservative thought is progressing, and that free market capitalism is becoming much more accepted, I just look at the last eight years and this year’s election and see that not only do we have a long way to go, but we are still as a country devolving with respect to liberty (based on the sheer number of regulations per year and the growing size of government). We will reach our nadir when these metrics have reversed and maybe then we will be able to progress again.

Wrong question. The more important question is:

Nature and culture are different, just as governing and parenting are different. We do learn, but that learning is not unavailable to Kim Jong Un, he chooses to subjugate. When I look at thousands of years of human history, the cultures and mores change, but I don’t see human nature changing. Maybe this nature was naturally selected in the hundred thousand years or so of H. Sapiens evolution (back on topic!), but it hasn't changed much in the 7,000 years or so of civilization. So I don't see it changing much in the next few thousand. After that, it becomes harder to predict...

Anyway, Goldberg would be an interesting interview.

Unfortunately, I am sufficiently pessimistic to believe that some subset of man is inherently evil and that government will continue to be necessary. Remember, we are not talking about the majority here. The majority of North Koreans may well be born good, but all it took was a small minority with the inclination and will to be evil to subjugate the rest. And yes, it is a shame, but that wouldn’t make it untrue.