Friday, March 27, 2015

"Bubble Boy" Is a Better Movie Than "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble"

Bryan Caplan likes to say he lives in a bubble (or "a bubble within a bubble") and he recommends we follow his lead and create our own bubbles.

On the one hand, I think this matches up well with a rule I've named after myself: if something is causing you stress, stop doing it. On the other hand, this seems like the anti-voting argument that all brand-new libertarians shout from the housetops. Yeah, great, I get probability. And you are suppressing the vote total of candidates you ostensibly support. Someone's going to win the election, and it's not going to be the guy whose supporters have smug math-based reasons for staying home on Election Day.

I don't think bubble living is compatible with the ideas expressed by Arthur Farrer (and quoted by Neal A. Maxwell here):

Though argument does not create conviction, the lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced, but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief is possible.
Caplan would prefer to live in a world that embraces libertarianism, but that will never happen if all libertarians retreated within their bubbles. It will probably never happen anyway, but Caplan's system more-completely guarantees it.

The bubble strategy would say, since I can't influence nuclear negotiations with Iran, the stability of the Yemeni government, or Barack Obama's petulant revenge on Benjamin Netanyahu, I should ignore those things. But Jesus tells us that the Signs of the Times are given for the benefit of observers. This means I'm supposed to observe, not ignore, world events.

Perhaps there's a hybrid strategy, being in current events but not of current events. I can follow the news without allowing it to change my emotional state. Be in a bubble, but watch the world outside of it.

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