links for 2010-03-24
Worth Reading #2: Jeet Heer: Obama, Hitler, and Commentary Magazine

Person to Stay Far, Far Away From #1: Oh Boy: Mario RIzzo Sure Is Clinically Crazy... (March 24, 2010)

Oh boy...

Somebody who wishes me ill sends me another piece by New York University Austrian econ--no, that's not right... um... the only word I can use to describe him is "psychopath"...

Mario Rizzo:

Why am I tipping the cab driver whom I shall not see again? I tip cabdrivers very small amounts... they really don’t do anything more than drive... they don’t know where things are... there are now all sorts of surcharges... even a tax to support the inefficiently-run mass transit system that I am not taking.... I would really like to not tip.... I often do simply because drivers sometimes say nasty things to you if they don’t get a tip. It is a failing of my psychological make-up to let that bother me. Am I being selfish?... I am not being selfish any more than the driver who wants a tip. The real issue is for me: Is this the best use of my money?... You are not a bad person if you don’t tip taxi drivers much or at all. Just be prepared to tell the voice in your head that it is wrong. And don’t let any possible cab-driver annoyance spoil your day.

To be clear:

If you enter into a contract with somebody, and if have no intention of honoring the terms they believe you have agreed to you, and if you know that they are expecting consideration you have no intention of delivering--if you enter the taxicab planning to stiff them and don't say "I don't tip" before you do so--you are then:

  • a liar.
  • a cheat.
  • a thief.

Normal human sociability--what Adam Smith called "sympathy"--makes us eager to make every act of market exchange we engage in a win-win deal. It makes us sad when our trading partner feels ripped off. To see this not as part of our humanity but as a weakness--as a "failing of my psychological make-up" is to try as hard as you can to not be a normal human being.

Instead of being a normal human being, you are then trying to turn yourself into a psychopath--someone who should be turned over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease.