Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Note on the Rarity of the Libertarian Mindset

It seems to me that the reason why the libertarian mindset is so comparatively rare is that its formation requires a rare combination of individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions, among which I would list at least the following psychological and intellectual characteristics:

1. Immunity to Stockholm Syndrome.

2. Immunity to libido dominandi.

3. Ability to think like an economist, i.e., in terms of opportunity costs, unintended consequences, incentive structures, etc.

4. Ability to overlearn moral principles.

I find hope in that none of the above seem primarily innate. On the contrary, their emergence appears to be a natural consequence of successfully overcoming certain easily identifiable cognitive biases and unreflective propensities. Thus, in view of the accelerated unfolding of the process of technological progress, universalization of access to free knowledge, and increasing cultural interconnection, all of which make these biases and propensities increasingly easy to overcome, the libertarian mindset is likely to become more and more common.

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