On experts

On the Left right now they’re passing around a paper which suggests that immigration boosts median income. Since the modern American elite Left is pro-immigration they naturally take a shine to such papers, and my own impression from talking to economists is that a “pro-immigration” position is mainstream within the discipline. Fair enough. But how many liberals would accept the mainstream position on the minimum wage? Now all of a sudden I suspect you’d be hearing objections based on what the economic models leave out, how they’re oversimplified, etc.

Or, consider what happened with Ross Douthat’s column on assimilation, nativism, and anti-Catholicism. An individual who I was discussing the issue with pointed me to a historian who “debunked” Douthat’s assertion in a few sentences, stating plainly that Douthat was simply wrong. Stop!!! If a historian gives you a straight, black & white answer, without nuance, he’s telling you what you want to hear! Or, he’s telling you what he believes for normative, not positivist, reasons.

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