Thursday, November 16, 2006

Blurring Distinctions

Brian Caplan has an interesting series of posts that deal with Analytical Egalitarianism (AE), which he characterizes as follows:
Proposition 1. All people are equally talented and have the same preferences.

Proposition 2. If people do have unequal talents or different preferences, these are ENTIRELY the result of environmental differences.

Proposition 3. If there are any innate/genetic differences between people, it's exceedingly dangerous for the world if anyone says so.
According to AE proponents, we ought to minimize, if not ignore, obvious inequalities among individuals in the name of “fairness” in the formulation of public policy…I guess. On the surface, this sounds great; but when it’s considered for more than a moment, it quickly dissolves.
The policy implications of analytical egalitarianism are democratic, not libertarian. If all preferences count equally, and the majority wants to ban marijuana, what's an analytical egalitarian to say?