It’s been awhile since I’ve “stalked” (i.e., criticized) Jason Brennan, but the opportunities are always there. Here, Jason is riding his well-worn epistemic-political hobby horse: no one knows anything, but luckily, Jason Brennan is alone to know that knows one knows anything.
What is the expected difference between the candidates? Well, that’s usually really hard to say. A recent paper in APSR says that Republican vs Democratic leadership makes no measurable difference in outcomes in a bunch of issues after a few years. What about, say, presidents? Well, again, hard to say. No one could have predicted that Bush II would have to deal with 9/11, or that he would have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.
No one could have predicted that Bush II would have to deal with 9/11? Phrase it less tendentiously: could anyone have predicted that Bush II would deal with a major terrorist attack initiated by Al Qaeda?
Answer: just about anyone paying attention to the news could have predicted it. Al Qaeda declared war against the United States in 1996, launched a series of attacks, declared war again in 1998, launched another series of attacks, and made clear in any number of ways that it intended to launch a major attack on the US–a fact known to just about everyone in the American (and foreign) national security establishment, and documented in requisite detail in the 9/11 Commission Report, which Professor Interdisciplinary Social Scientist-Philosopher doesn’t seem to have read before sounding off in the usual authoritatively hand-waving fashion (see chapters 2-8 in the free online edition). The ignorance here is Jason’s, which he’s projected onto everyone but himself.
It’s a cheap shot, I realize, but don’t you think the people planning the attack could have predicted that Bush would have to deal with it?
This kind of thing–Jason’s offhand lapses into Flat Earth Historiography or Comparative Politics–happens a lot. The problem is, only the “stalkers” notice and say so. Only within the mainstream academic libertarian movement could a person this ignorant come to acquire Jason Brennan’s reputation for empirical reliability and inductive rigor. Outside of that closed circle, claims like this would barely be worth laughing at. Your choice. Feel free.