Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology
CSPI Podcast
Social Desirability as the Enemy of Truth | Bryan Caplan & Richard Hanania

Social Desirability as the Enemy of Truth | Bryan Caplan & Richard Hanania

On demagoguery in politics, logic in labor markets, and stupidity everywhere

Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University, a visiting senior scholar at the University of Texas at Austin, and the author of several books, including The Myth of the Rational Voter and The Case Against Education. He returns to the podcast to talk about his two new collections of essays released as books, Labor Econ Versus the World: Essays on the World’s Greatest Market and How Evil Are Politicians?: Essays on Demagoguery. The conversation centers around how much Richard and Bryan have in common when it comes to how they think through social and political issues, with a focus on Social Desirability Bias as a major hindrance to engaging in moral reasoning and discovering truth. Topics include:

  • How little effort most people put towards developing their most cherished political views

  • Why most politicians should be considered bad people

  • Why the first world poor can be considered morally blameworthy, particularly compared to those who live in developing countries

  • The demagoguery of feel-good policy ideas like raising the minimum wage

Bryan gives a teaser of his next collection of essays that will be released under the title Don’t Be a Feminist: Essays on Genuine Justice, discussing why, as the title suggests, he hopes his daughter does not become a feminist and turn against him. The conversation concludes with reflections on how podcasting and Substack have disrupted legacy media, and why that’s good for independent writers and journalists. 

Listen in podcast form or watch at the YouTube link below:

Bryan Caplan, “The Ideologues of GMU.”

Bryan Caplan, “Labor Econ Versus the World: Essays on the World's Greatest Market.”

Bryan Caplan, “How Evil Are Politicians?: Essays on Demagoguery.” 

Bryan Caplan’s Substack