Questions for liberals (and some libertarians)

Robin Hanson, citing the work of Arthur Brooks, asks:

  • Would you or I be happier if we let ourselves think more conservatively, such as by attending church more and believing we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps?
  • Would society be happier if we encouraged more conservative thoughts?

Robin answers that he would rather "believe whatever is true even if that makes me unhappy."  But there is always adjustment on some truthful margin that can be made.  Robin could play up the relatively conservative thoughts he already believes in and do more of the church-like activities he already partakes in, even if he does not go to church per se.  So these results probably should influence our behavior even though of course we should reject the deliberate pursuit of untruth.

Here are Bryan Caplan’s thoughts on the Brooks book.


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