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Brad Delong is an invaluable source for progressive views on economics.  (I know he is a little too neo-liberal for some tastes, including my own.)  I found this description of the deceptions practiced by conservatives of a libertarian bent priceless.

Social-Darwinist Waltz. It goes like this:

  1.)  People are skilled decision-makers and rational judges of their own interests.
  2.)  Markets are very good ways of coordinating social activity among skilled decision-makers who are rational judges of their own interest.
  3.)  Markets are the best way to organize pretty much everything.
  4.)  When markets go wrong and produce bad outcomes, it is almost always because the government has interfered and has mucked things up with command and bureaucracy.
  5.)  You say government has not intervened, and yet the market outcome still sucks?
  6.)  Well, it must be because some people are not skilled decision-makers and are not rational judges of their own interests.
  7.)  But their lack of skill and foresight is non-adaptive.
  8.)  Their lack of skill and foresight is blameworthy.
  9.)  And they should be punished.
 10.) And in punishing them, the market outcome is good after all.
 11.)  It improves the breed.

Brad observes,

It is, I think, very important for rational policy to halt the Social-Darwinist Waltz where Tyler is, at step 7, and not go on to step 8.

I think most DailyKos readers would like to derail the waltz at step 4.

The idea of rational maximization is internally inconsistent with the other basic premise of economics, that resources are scarce.  See my post Rationality and Opportunity Cost

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