The free market in gender-benders

What’s a testosterone-poisoned glibertarian to do when it turns out that his beloved free market is flooding the environment with feminizing chemicals?

Welcome, Instapundit fans! Either Glenn or I is having trouble adhering to consensus reality. See update below to figure out which one.

The two main features of glibertarianism, as far as I can tell, are hatred of government (cast as worship of the “free market”) and hyper-masculinity. So what’s a good glibertarian to do when it turns out that the free market has been flooding the environment with de-masculinizing chemicals? Support regulation? Support tort lawsuits?

As Tom Lehrer said in a different context, they have a hard problem, like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.

Never fear: There’s no problem so large that a real, manly glibertarian can’t pretend it has a “free-market” solution. Didn’t Ronald Coase prove there’s no such thing as an externality?* Self-organizing complexity uber alles!

* No he didn’t, nor did Coase himself think he had. But that hasn’t kept what they insist on calling “Coase’s Theorem” from becoming an article of wingnut faith.

Update Glenn Reynolds, who deals with all criticism by questioning either the critic’s patriotism or his sanity, suggests that I shouldn’t “take the brown acid.” (Full text of his post at the jump.) This is because when he clicks on the “hyper-masculinity” link above he gets some innocuous post about a murder in Nashville.

But there’s just one thing: If you click on the link above, you’ll see just what I saw: some rather routine wingnut hand-wringing about not letting boys be boys.

The Glenn and Helen Show: Conn Iggulden on Boys and Danger

Are we turning into a nation of wimps? Do boys need to be boys? Is there something parents and schools should be doing differently? We talk with British author Conn Iggulden, whose new book, The Dangerous Book for Boys, takes an old-fashioned positive look at boyhood, bravery, and the nature of risk, about those subjects and others — including the effect of modern parenting and education on military recruitment and the future of Western civilization.

What’s even stranger is that if you follow the link in Reynolds’s quote of my piece, you get exactly the same thing. And yet he’s concerned about whether I took the brown acid?

That’s all right, Glenn. No need to apologize. Just answer the question: What’s the libertarian solution to chemical companies flooding the planet with de-masculinizing chemicals? Your choices are class-action tort litigation, taxation, or egulation. And the solution has to be worldwide.

Update Reynolds explains that his archive links have been fouled up. No apology for suggesting I was hallucinating, just more insults. And of course no response to my challenge about how to handle the issue without violating his ideological taboos.


Here’s the text of the Instapundit post. Since I treasure the opportunity to reach across the aisle and express agreement with the denizens of Red Blogistan, I’m happy to acknowledge the truth of one of Glenn’s remarks. He is, indeed, confused.


I’M CONFUSED: Via the miracle of Technorati (er, well, it’s a miracle when it works!) I find this post by Mark Kleiman accusing me of “hyper-masculinity.”

The two main features of glibertarianism, as far as I can tell, are hatred of government (cast as worship of the “free market”) and hyper-masculinity.

Gee, I thought, what hyper-masculine thing have I done now? But when I followed the link, I got this post, which reads, in its entirety:

HOT AIR looks at a murder in Knoxville.

So either extreme pithiness is hyper-masculine — in which case I plead guilty! — or Kleiman’s standards for hyper-masculinity are awfully low, to include a world-class dweeb such as myself. How low? So low he must be getting wedgies from the Chess Club . . . .

I don’t blog about Coase very much, either. The brown acid is bad, Mark. Don’t take the brown acid.


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: