Another good step would be defunding universities which are influencing America's smart young people. If you don't subsidize loans, then maybe social justice majors would receive higher interest rates and it would serve as a financial disincentive.

Expand full comment

#1 (deregulate discrimination) is premature but probably the long-term solution.

#2 (deregulate hostile takeovers) seems a non-starter in the current regulatory environment. Maybe one day.

#3 (school choice) is viable but perhaps the least effective. But we need it anyway, so it's worth fighting for.

Going from what I hear from my university-aged son (U Florida) and his friends, the next generation is going to swing hard to the right, or at least against wokeness. The backlash in that generation will be astounding (and perhaps harmful in new ways). College students are NOT swallowing the Kool-Aid. There's just nothing they can do about it . Yet.

Expand full comment

What do you think of both the chance and effect of the supreme court ending affirmative action and in the future, disparate impact?

Expand full comment

The governmentalization of social affairs leads to pukey morals and culture. Burke and Tocqueville were especially good on this particular consequence of governmentalization.

Pukeyness is part of what Coase called "the total effect."

Expand full comment

" Multiple friends in totally apolitical jobs were suddenly required to endure woke brainwashing sessions"

The other day, at a university eye clinic, I saw a sign about pronouns. I wish I had taken a picture of it, but I didn't. Well. I was thinking of writing the head of the center to register my disapproval, but I didn't want to open a can of worms. You see, the sign said that "as a courtesy" my practitioner should ask me my pronouns. She didn't. (Thankfully.)

If I had written a protest letter, I might have gotten my practitioner in trouble. So I clammed up.

This is how the vile tentacles of wokeness surround and strangle us.

Expand full comment

Bryan Caplan, May 23 ("An Economist Walks Into a Refugee Detention Center"): "To be blunt, I normally classify people who radically change their minds because of a personal experience as 'weak-minded.'"

Bryan Caplan, August 8: "In 2020, however, I rapidly started to change my mind. Why? Because the outrageous events stopped merely being stories on the internet. I started to experience them first-hand. My friends started to experience them first-hand."

What's the other evidence? "By now, publicizing woke outrages is a full-fledged genre. You could spend all day reading one after another." So, more anecdotes. No data or systemic analysis. Do the anecdotes even hold up to scrutiny? No mention of this problem - you apparently just take them on faith.

And what's the evidence that "wokeness" is a *serious* problem? "Hyperbole is the worst thing in the universe. Most problems and effects are marginal." --Bryan Caplan ("You Don't Understand Our Culture")

Expand full comment

Of these #3 has the most merit. In general, if your proposal isn't hitting someones purse strings, it's not real. Draining thousands of dollars per kid out of public education qualifies are real.

On #1, I think your are going to need some high profile examples of institutions paying substantial penalties (the kind you can't ignore and move on) for discrimination against whites/asians/males to break the pattern. I doubt you could ever get rid of civil rights law (you might as well propose to bring back Jim Crow in most peoples minds), but even if you could HR would still take the attitude of "better safe than sorry" based on the status quo which is biased one way. Perhaps the best way for people to end discrimination is to be equally afraid of discriminating in any direction, and so are left with neutrality being the best way to implement "better safe than sorry". Obviously, disparate impact will need to get gutted to make that possible.

As a simple example, Google should have paid a massive penalty for what it did to Damore. Enough that they would never do something like that again. Do that a few times and companies will want to go back to "Republicans Buy Sneakers Too." Once they are on board it will be easier to de-emphasize civil rights law.

Expand full comment

Problem: People are "ordered to start hiring primarily on the basis of race and gender."

Solution?: Repeal laws against explicit discrimination?

I've read your argument, and it's extremely tailored to academia. In the overwhelming majority of situations, those who hire based on discrimination are not doing it based on ignorance of the evidence. Everyone knows, and nobody cares.

More formally as a hiring agent for my employer, if I am incentivized to hire from Employee pool "A" and not "B", I'm gonna do it. Most people aren't hiring doctors and rocket scientists.

Expand full comment

#2. With 'Go Woke, Go Broke' what's supposed to happen is not for woke corporations to go under and be replaced, but for CEOs of woke corporations to realize that overtly woke policies are hurting their bottom lines and stock prices and their own prospects for continued employment. This process already seems to be underway in the entertainment business. Examples include the Netflix woke purge (and 'this may not be the place for you' letter) as well as the recent cancellation of the woke 'Bat Girl' movie after something like $90M had already been spent. And on the other side of the coin, there was the blockbuster 'Top Gun II' release.

In the corporate world generally, I expect the indoctrination sessions to continue (they've been around in one form or another for decades), but I expect this to become increasingly pro-forma. Instead of CEOs groveling before woke agitators within their companies, they're increasingly going to send the agitators packing and have much less tolerance for bringing politics into the workplace.

As for academia? Good luck.

Expand full comment

putting aside all the sarcastic comments about the newly mugged offering advice about crime control

wokeness has spread through the institutions (especially THE GOVERNMENT) because it is first and foremost a set of weapons for office politics

by now all institutions are dominated by people who are best at deploying wokeness for increasing both personal and institutional power

since it is the permanent government that interprets and enforces the laws

changing the wording of the laws will not change how the laws are implemented

the government is not a neutral tool you can direct with good intentions

which means that you also cannot free the private sector from wokeness

all businesses are regulated - even Musk or Bezos can end up in jail if they piss the deep state too much

Expand full comment

This really ought to be the plan the next time the right is in power. I hope someone is listening!

Expand full comment

Hostile takeovers...I'm not an antitrust lawyer, but I read Matt Stoller on this subject, and his history of the financialization of the economy is compelling, and from what I understand, the process of transforming a manufacturing-based economy, with its good jobs and high standard of living, to a financial and ultimately a speculation-based economy, began with the deregulation of corporate raids in the form of a hands-off attitude to criminal (as opposed to civil) prosecution of corporate malfeasance. So I'm on board as long as criminal prosecution for corporate bad actors is vigorously pursued.

Expand full comment

I'm all for these ideas, but I get depressed. Is there a risk we'd go too far, go full Mosquito Coast?

Expand full comment

I don't see that you have much to apologize for; you have always opposed wokism. I suppose you can harp more relentlessly on your opposition, but you have other themes to promote, by which you might do even more good: you can't reform *all* the world's misconceptions.

And what do you want *me* to do? I have just one vote, and no special talent for persuading others, or even for getting them to listen very attentively to me. I am forced to live with the policies that my government, at the behest of my fellow citizens, imposes upon me. I hope for some good things from the Supreme Court and, with less confidence, from future Congresses and Presidents; more fundamentally, from my fellow voters. But my own contribution to the elimination of wokeness will inevitably be minuscule.

Expand full comment

The real difficulty is that wokeness solves a problem--too many chiefs, not enough indians. Prestige is valuable to people and naturally scarce/hierarchical. So how do we allocate prestige or the associated sinecures/near sinecures?

You can try to allocate it by merit, but most people aren't very meritorious, and so a majority won't have a very strong incentive to go along with that unless there is something else thrown in the deal for them. And the rich world is so rich now that the marginal benefits that accrue from optimizing talent allocation aren't so great as to convince people its worthwhile to really commit to merit-based systems which more or less locks them out of the direct benefits just so they can ride the rising tide.

Expand full comment

So basically, eliminate the de facto right to not be offended, loosen the reins on the “free market,” and empower parents to make family-level decisions. Let’s do it!

Expand full comment