Megan McArdle & Dan Drezner discuss who deserves the blame for the current credit crisis. (video below). What is fascinating to me about this discussion is how in an attempt to assess political blame, they each completely miss the underlying issue as to what actually occurred.

The goal is not to get as close as possible to some objective reality, (around here, we call that "The Truth"), but rather, to assess or avoid culpability amongst partisans.

To wit:

Megan McArdle: "Don’t underestimate how contingent history is — Had Al Gore been elected in 2000, the Republicans would be arguing that this was problem of too much regulation, not too little. Who ever happened to be in charge gets blamed. " 

Dan Drezner: "The moral of this dialogue is that libertarians will rue
the day that Bush won. In terms of economic ideology is that Gore would
have gotten the blame instead of Bush."

This is political, opinion driven debate. It is empty and foolish rhetoric that generates heat but no light. As opposed to a discussion driven by, oh, I don’t know, let’s say "facts and data?" 

It contributes nothing of value in terms of identifying what actually happened. The focus is not on what went wrong, and what can we do to fix it. Rather, its how the party in charge takes the blame, and therefore the acceptance level of their ideology goes down.

Imagine after a jumbo jet goes down, and someone from the FAA said
"We won’t bother looking for the black box, we don’t play the blame
game around here." They would be fired immediately, and then tarred and feathered by the victims families.

Intelligent societies seek to asses blame not for political reasons, but to avoid
future jets from tumbling out of the sky again. In the current situation, we
want to know why this happened, what errors were made, and how we can
avoid it in the future.

There is also an element of cognitive dissonance to the discussion. Rather than look at the factual pattern of changes to the regulatory environment (see these comments in The Economist), it was merely a coincidence of the party in power getting the blame. Why do I suspect that if Al Gore was President, these two would not
be discussing the mere coincidence of which party had the White House?

This is a similar approach that has given us one of the dumbest phrases
in the English language: "The Blame Game." (as in "well, I am not going
to play the blame game).

My beef is not political, its evidentiary: There are no facts shown, no
regulatory historical record  dissected, no comprehension of what actually occurred — just how to duck resposibility.

This is why I hate ideologues, politics, and even political discussions of ideology — it leads to smart people saying dumb things. Cognitive dissonance will do that to you.

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Data Analysis, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

47 Responses to “Smart People Saying Dumb Things”

  1. lark says:

    Fantastic comment, Barry. Thanks for expressing your (my) views in such a public forum.

    Gotcha politics is a part of what got us to this point!

  2. CNBC Sucks says:

    Add that French bastard Nicolas Sarkozy to smart people saying dumb things: “Together we need to rebuild a capitalism that is more respectful to man, more respectful to the planet, more respectful to future generations and be finished with a capitalism obsessed by the frantic search for short-term profit.”

    Screw that anti-American Socialist crap. As a registered Republican, I want you to know that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are going to be making a list of those who are pro-American and anti-American, and I must say, this blog is dodgy, Mr. Ritholtz.

    ~~~

    BR: Heh heh. You said bastard

  3. JB says:

    I always enjoy your blog, I check it out multiple times a day. So take this as just an attempt to stir thought from a loyal reader. It seems that you may be falling prey to a little cognitive dissonance yourself the last few weeks. I have noticed that anytime you come across something like this that does not perfectly agree with your view of the crisis and its causes your response is to do what you have done here: call it “dumb”. Or “foolish rhetotric” Or Asshattery. Or something similar. None of those things would pass for oh, I don’t know, “facts and data”. I read both Megan and Dan regularly as well. Dan is a professor of politics, I think exploring the political side of the situation is not unrealistic or inappropriate.

    It is perfectly fine to disagree with them or me or others. As you have pointed out, there are lots of contributing causes to the mess we are in. It just seems that calling this kind of thing dumb and dismissing it outright carries the risk of a potentially false self assurance that there is only one right answer or thought and I/we are the ones that have it. As you have discussed here many times, that kind of hubris can be dangerous.

    ~~~

    BR: All I can say is I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em.

    I am not calling them dumb — I am pointing out they are saying dumb things.

    I’ve said plenty of stupid things in my life — and friends, family and readers of the blog point out all the time.

    I expect nothing less. Neither should you.

  4. Greg says:

    Great post, but one quibble.

    I don’t know about Drezner, but McMegan has a record of empirically false assertions. I wouldn’t like to visit the place where she’s considered “smart”.

  5. grumpy says:

    The above is one reason I am a clapper for Barry Ritholtz and a student of the board. While I am out of my league here on the markets, I am very much up on vocabulary. I would like to introduce the word “infantilized” to the discussion, as a lot of the education of the board is diluted from people of a dumbed down nation with an educational system designed to dumb people down from the beginning.

    This entry was an excellent composition and I wish it could make it to the NYT, but it is way to true for them.

    “Infinitilized” is going to be a word used by the truth sayers and is going to be more prominent as time goes by. There are some savvy people commenting here and then there is those with the television minds that dilute the wisdom of the board.

  6. Frank says:

    Barry, left to their own devices, the natural forces of earth would prevent jets from ever taking off, let alone successfully fly 30,000 feet above the earth’s surface. It’s only through a careful managing of those natural forces that jets are able to safely transport millions of people. When something major goes wrong in the managing of those natural forces, jets crash to earth and people die…simple as that. When something major goes wrong in the managing of the natural human forces of fear and greed in the market/economy, markets and economies crash to earth and people…well, at least people don’t necessarily die… While it’s true the black box should be analyzed in both cases, it’s inevitably true that the natural forces of both earth and human nature will never change…get used to it.

  7. JB,

    see Greg’s post, right below yours..

    She’s a caricature in more ways than one–a Pro-State ‘libertarian’ if there ever was one, who was happy talking this ‘Financial Implosion’ all the way through, while ‘advising’ her readership, with her explicit faith in EMH, to hold on, you’ll come out better in the long run, you can’t ‘outguess’ the Market, esp. if the ‘smartest boys in the room’(in re: Wall St.) can’t.

    To know the Truth, BR, nice guy that he is, is far too kind, above, to her..

    The best thing one can say about her is that she leaves her archives intact, as far as I have found, and she signs her name to every one of her ideas–which, really, separates her from a great many–including those Keynesian Klowns at Econbrowser..

  8. rational says:

    Funy how the rightwing assumes that if we had a Gore administration, we would have still had the same problems (9/11, poor Katrina response, financial bust etc). Gore would have done things differently — may be for the better, may be for the worse — and the results would have been different.

    The reality is we had a Bush administration and a Republican congress for 6 years (that gave Bush everything he asked for) and we ended up with today’s facts. This is all there is to work with. The only folks who would indulge in hypotheticals such as “if Gore was appointed the Presidency…” are those unable to accept that Bush and his buddies crashed the country on several fronts. The record of acts and consequences is clear. No hypotheticals necessary.

  9. VennData says:

    The “Gore Counterfactuals” … it sounds like a nine-part FOX News series that concludes that Bush has been one of the greatest world leader of the current century.

    How “anti” do you need to be to get on Bachmann’s list? I don’t have a history of support the US World Cup team too enthusiastically and I want cuts In Social Security taxes.

  10. Say it ain’t so, Barry! There you go agin, talkin’ ’bout the past!

    /Palin

    McCardle is bright enough, but not knowledgeable about facts or economics.

  11. Nicholas Weaver says:

    The libertarian mindset to the markets always puzzles me, because whenever you have complete lack of regulation and items where you lack transparency, you get disaster.

    Look at china: Because you don’t know what goes in the milk, melamine goes in the milk, because it makes it “look better” to the protien analysis, so you can water it down, add some melamine, and boost your profit.

    Look at the US financial disaster: melamine on the ballance sheets…

  12. Troy says:

    Libertopia would work, given technology to institute a solid-gold trust system, where corporations and individuals accrue a network of trust associations, kinda like “Linked In” but much more formalized.

    The fatal flaw of both the 90s dotcom era and the mortgage debacle this decade was that it was too easy for corporate officers and worker bees to milk the system and scoot with the loot, leaving investors as the bag holders.

    Libertopia would have to include market mechanisms to freeze out such scamsters, making it impossible for them to participate in the “trusted” economy.

    I like to consider myself a left-libertarian, so I sympathize with my idiot right-libertarians to a great extent.

  13. Steve Barry says:

    Barrons cover today is literally glass half full. No capitulation there.

  14. Howard says:

    If my little kid is drowning at the deep end of the pool, do I:

    Find out who taught her to swim and how, OR do I jump in the pool and rescue her using whatever is at my disposal without giving a fat fuck if I am using bad form. I can get the instructor any time I choose. Look guys, we were in the middle of a meltdown with a Fed Chair who is an “expert” on the Great Depression. It goes without thinking that he would react as if the Depression were upon us (and it might have been) and did the things that Hoover did not do in 1929. Blame? We all spent money we didn’t have and we’d never have used a credit card if only we could print money.

    ~~~

    BR: Why do you consider these things mutually exclusive?

    After you rescue the kid, wouldn’t you inquire as to where the lifeguard was?

  15. AW says:

    Barry, I will never forgive you for leading me to watch a “BloggingHeads” video.

    That said, I must say that I think your criticism is misplaced. McArdle (groan) and Drezner seem to be arguing not who “deserves” blame for the crisis, but who will *be* blamed for the crisis, and what the political fallout will be going forward.

    No doubt, the more important question is what caused this crisis, and what regulators and industry should do to avoid this happening again.

    McCardle and Drezner just happen to be debating a second, subsidiary point. But let’s not ignore the fact that the political fallout — no matter how deeply it is rooted in the voters’ or government officials’ fundamental ignorance or ideology — will have actual effects in the real world.

  16. AW says:

    Also, there’s a major typo in your headline. I think you meant “smart person,” not “smart people,” given that one of the two people in that video was Megan McCardle, who never before has offered the slightest evidence in support of the proposition that she is “smart.”

  17. Howard,

    your post would be funny if you were kidding with us, but, sadly, methinks you’re quite serious. please do yourself a favor, read some History books, catch a few facts, or, at the minimum, dial 877-RENT-A-CLU (have it on good info that, due to exceedingly high call volume, they’re going switch to a 900# format, so don’t dawdle)
    before you give yourself the Seizure(Anatomically) that the your friends at the FedRes have given us(Financially)..

    just to shorten your Journey, Hoover Started the ‘New Deal’ interventions, popularized by FDR, in reaction to the Problems then caused, by B. Bernanke’s own admission, by the said-same Federal Reserve..

  18. jagmohan swain says:

    “The focus is not on what went wrong, and what can we do to fix it. Rather, its how the party in charge takes the blame.” Precisely the problem all walks of life.When there is too much mediocrity around accompanying insecurity leads them always to finger-pointing, not fact-finding or trouble-shooting.

  19. Regarding the analogy …

    Imagine after a jumbo jet goes down, and someone from the FAA said “We won’t bother looking for the black box, we don’t play the blame game around here.” They would be fired immediately, and then tarred and feathered by the victims families.

    If the jet flew directly into a hurricane, I don’t think anyone would blame the FAA for ignoring the black-box. Everyone would assume the pilot had no business flying into the hurricane and go from there.

    Likewise, the US economic policy creates business cycles (hurricanes) and then flies the whole country into it. The solution is not to make a bigger hurricane and hope for the best, but that’s what we do when we purposefully inflate the money supply with bank credit expansion.

    These talking heads are correct. It wouldn’t matter who was in charge in 2000, and it won’t matter who’s in charge in 2008. If we keep using bank credit expansion, these artificial hurricanes will keep coming.

  20. Jay says:

    This is why I hate ideologues, politics, and even political discussions of ideology — it leads to smart people saying dumb things. Cognitive dissonance will do that to you.
    =====================

    That is what I appreciate most about this blog: its completely nonpartisan, unbiased and fact-based approach..

  21. moses says:

    “Intelligent societies seek to asses blame not for political reasons,”

    Curious spelling error here.

  22. Agree with Greg says:

    Cognitive dissonance: You describe a conversation so vapid as not to merit the small intellectual expenditure required to string the words together — and then claim that the practitioners are smart.

    Huh!

  23. Bob A says:

    “Had Al Gore been elected in 2000, the Republicans would be arguing that this was problem…”

    huh? there woulda most likely been SOME problem… but THIS problem? hmmmmm

  24. VJ says:

    While being interviewed, Charles Murray, the quintessential Libertarian and the Keynote Speaker to the 1995 Libertarian Party National Convention, contended that building and construction codes as well as building inspectors were unnecessary government intrusions, as if there ever any problem one could always sue.

    So, if your apartment complex collapses, killing your wife and children while you are at work, fear not, you can always sue. Of course, your wife and children are still DEAD.

    ~~~

    BTW, during an interview just a few weeks ago, Murray was asked what he thought of Sarah Palin. He responded:

    I’m in love. Truly and deeply in love.
    .

  25. DV says:

    I’d be interested in hearing which specific policies Al Gore would have implemented which would have averted this crisis.

    Just saying he wouldn’t have attacked Iraq is not sufficient, unless you can show cause and effect with our current economic problems.

    In the end, does the President really matter that much? I’m in the camp which doesn’t really believe that the President has super powers to eliminate economic cycles, but I’m open to hearing other points of view.

  26. Ricky in Columbus says:

    If you think that exchange was absurd, read this article by Ms Mcardle
    http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/10/how_did_it_all_happen.php

  27. catman says:

    Who is Markie Hoffer and what does he have to do with the markets? Oh yeah and who is John Galt and what does he have to do with anything?And what is Warren Buffet up to? It’s obvious the markets are oversold, but I’d be looking around the world, as Warren was reported to be a few months ago, especially with the euro down 50% and etc.

  28. Tony says:

    Greenspan was not the only fed governor voting at the FOMC meetings. if my memory serves, every vote was unanimous. No dissenters.

  29. AGG says:

    What really matters:
    I always thought that Maslow’s hierarchy left something out; the inability of those focusing on a higher level need to recognize the needs of those lower down. Is it necessary for people to ignore the needs of others in order to enjoy what they have? Is that part of elite peer group acceptance? Is this where blame the victim psychology, social Darwinism and market fundamentalism came from? Are we all a bunch of salesman for our own agendas? Can only Rebublicans talk about faults in their party? How about Democrats? How can Libertarians celebrate selfishness as enlightened self interest leading to the invisible hand when the power of the strong over the weak has always wrought strife and mayhem since time began? No, most people just want to shift your view AWAY from the truth when that truth interferes with their agenda. What exactly is an anti-American? The answer lies in defining what the accuser thinks is “American”. It’s all code speech for “these people are not one of us” bullshit. It’s the old tribal crap. It never goes away. Have you ever asked about how all those closed mom and pop stores the Libertarians cry about used to abuse and overcharge people who weren’t like them? Walmart may be predatory in many respects but it certainly has leveled the playing field for people with no connections to get something for a decent price.
    The “full disclosure” thing needs to make a comeback. Anyone in public must have a full bio constantly available and updated with all their assets and high level aquantances published. Until they do that, be cynical because they are pushing a story; not the truth.

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  31. Josh says:

    Barry, I completely agree, which is why I find your embrace of technical analysis troubling. No financial study has suggested that technical analysis has any merit. How has it performed recently? And what do the great investors like Warren Buffet say about it?

  32. Namazu says:

    Some of the bloggingheads regulars are contractually obligated to dumb things down to the level of political winners and losers. Ironically, I think the founder Bob Wright, author of “Non-Zero,” is responsible for this sorry state of affairs: my sense is that he’s searching for a business model. Having said that, since some people right in the thick of this mess (Phil Gramm, Larry Summers) have been mentioned as potential Treasury Secretaries, I don’t think it’s too early to start assigning some responsibility.

  33. DL says:

    Steve Barry @ 2:57:37 PM

    “Barrons cover today is literally glass half full. No capitulation there”.

    From the 8th paragraph of “The Trader” section:

    “The question, of course, is whether a market that has already surrendered all its bull-market gains has sufficiently discounted the coming gloom. Here, it helps that investor sentiment is shot. … … 43% [OF MONEY MANAGERS] NOW SAY STOCKS ARE UNDERVALUED — THE HIGHEST IN MORE THAN A DECADE”.

    So everyone thinks that stocks are undervalued. Maybe that means they’re not.

  34. nemo says:

    Daniel Drezner might be a smart person who says dumb things. Megan McArdle, on the other hand, well, it’s never been too surprising when she says dumb things.

    We are talking about someone who called herself Jane Galt. After she left high school.

  35. flenerman says:

    Based only on the quotes reported here, I have to hold with JB and BW on this one. You made too much out of too little, Mr. R.

  36. nowonder says:

    Imagine that, for twenty years, lefty do-gooders urge airline pilots to fly on fewer and fewer hours of sleep. Then, not to be outdone, right wing true believers remove the requirement for an alarm clock on every flight deck. After the inevitable tragedy, McCardle and Drezner speculate on who will get the blame. Ritholtz castigates them for their inattention to the cockpit voice recorder (which clearly shows that no alarm went off). “I hate ideologues,” he fumes.

  37. Oldman says:

    At this point it look like George W is the Republican’s Jimmy Carter and Barak is the Dems Reagan,

    Jimmy and George can’t catch a break
    Ronny and Barak had (have) the gift of gab and the camera loves them.

    To be fair if you dissed Jimmy you have to dis George and if you gave Jimmy a pass you have to give George one also.

    And if you praised Reagan get ready to praise Obama and if you just thought Reagan was lucky get be ready to attribute Obama’s success to luck.

  38. Mike A says:

    Intelligent societies seek to asses blame not for political reasons, but to avoid future jets from tumbling out of the sky again

    True to some extent, but understanding where a process failed, or how a design didn’t go as planned, is all part of “testing” a process to see if all conditions are accounted for in our models. When Jets fall out of skys it it because some condition occurred that our models weren’t prepared for. Or an action was (or wasn’t taken) that was set to remediate this.

    If a boiler blows up because someone wasn’t paying attention, or missed an alarm, then we can determine it’s operator error. Were they trained for that condition? If a valve didn’t open, maybe we can look at the conditions the valve is in to specify a better valve.

    Blame is a way of coming to an early conclusion before all the data has been analyzed to come to a conclusion that supports our political ideologies without analyzing any data.

    Our society can’t analyze the situation, because in doing so, would require transparency and analysis and probably expose people powerful enough to be caught in not following the processes, or providing what they should have. And this would expose the corruption in the midst on both sides. So they call off the investigation.

    There is never going to be truth because the people who will be embarrassed by the incident don’t want to be and they have the power to call it off. Only through the dogged determination of those to get to the bottom. To call on lack of transparency, will we ever really know. Blame lets us come to a conclusion without thinking too hard.

  39. ron says:

    mccardle says dumb things because she is dumb, not smart.

  40. dave says:

    But you are an ideologue, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Drop the John Anderson act, you are Blue and that is fine. And it would have rolled the same way with Pres Gore or Kerry. They showed zero inclination to intervene. Go true colors, they are shining through like a rainbow…

  41. Blissex says:

    «So, if your apartment complex collapses, killing your wife and children while you are at work, fear not, you can always sue. Of course, your wife and children are still DEAD.»

    You really don’t get that kind of logic…

    The argument is that nobody coerces you to buy that apartment; if you felt responsible to protect your family, you should have had it carefully examined by experts before buying it. If you did not, it was your free choice to risk the life of your loved ones. Then if you cannot afford the time and cost, well, nobody is coercing you to buy that apartment, and the government would be stealing somebody else’s money if they did it for free for you. If you don’t provide enough things of value to pay for what you want to consume, too bad for you. Good riddance looters and moochers.

    Instead if there are mandatory building standards, the government is indeed coercing you to pay for the building code inspectors, and that is an infringement of your choice and a humiliation of your personal responsibility.

    Well, to illustrate this point, here is a dialogue between one of the drowned passengers of the Titanic and St. Milton Friedman when the passenger’s soul appears before the gates of Winner Haven…

    Q When can I get in?
    A Well, I am not so sure. You look likely to be going to Loser Hell.

    Q But why? I always behaved virtuously…
    A You are personally responsible for leaving behind a family who are now traumatized and destitute because of your death, a grave sin!

    Q How is it my personal responsibility for a freak iceberg accident?
    A Well, you chose to drown and leave your family in trouble.

    Q But I didn’t choose to drown! I couldn’t get on a lifeboat!
    A Well some passengers did get on a lifeboat so why did you choose not to do that too?

    Q But there weren’t enough lifeboats!
    A Well, the rating agencies gave the Titanic an AAA buoyancy rating, and every extra lifeboat would have reduced the profits of the owner. Still, you could have boarded one of the existing lifeboats.

    Q But they would not let me board one of the few because I did not have a first class ticket!
    A Well, it was your free choice to buy a cheaper but less safe third class one. Nobody coerced you to buy that, your free choice for which you must accept responsibility was not to buy a first class ticket.

    Q But I could not afford to buy a first class ticket!
    A Then you should have stayed home and not travelled without a ticket that guaranteed your safety if you cared about your family.

    Q But The company should have provided enough lifeboats for everybody!
    A Well, the rating agencies gave the Titanic an AAA buoyancy rating, and every extra lifeboat would have reduced the profits of the owner.

    Q How is that my fault? I didn’t know any of that!
    A You could have researched the issue and if you disagreed with the rating, or found that there were lifeboats only for the first class passengers, you should have chosen to not travel, travel on another ship, or save until you could buy a first class ticket. You have been negligent, not just reckless, and your recklessness and negligence is going to cost your family their happiness. Loser Hell for you then.

    The argument here is pretty clear. If you can find the obvious flaw or two, perhaps you are not a Republican :-).

  42. VJ says:

    Oldman,

    At this point it look like George W is the Republican’s Jimmy Carter

    The expansion of GDP was higher during Carter’s term than during both of Reagan’s terms, and the job creation during Carter’s term was FAR higher than during both of Reagan’s terms. The comparison to Chimpy Bush is even starker.

    and Barak is the Dems Reagan

    Let’s hope not.
    .

  43. VJ says:

    Blissex,

    The argument is that nobody coerces you to buy that apartment

    If you meant rent, I agree.

    if you felt responsible to protect your family, you should have had it carefully examined by experts before buying it.

    It’s not the responsibility of a renter to provide his own structural engineer.

    If you did not, it was your free choice to risk the life of your loved ones.

    Then you would absolutely LOVE Somalia.

    Good riddance looters and moochers.

    I don’t think Corporate Welfare and Welfare for the Rich will be that easy to eliminate.
    .

  44. “if you felt responsible to protect your family, you should have had it carefully examined by experts before buying it.”

    It’s not the responsibility of a renter to provide his own structural engineer.
    –VJ

    VJ,

    how many peep rent/buy an apartment sight/unseen?

    many peep offer to buy homes, conditional on ‘Home Inspections’, why is that?

    what would excuse a ‘renter’ from nominal due diligence?

    @Blissex

    as always, thanks for Thinking!

  45. VJ says:

    Mark,

    There is a HUGE difference between:

    * Renting an apartment “sight unseen”, which I did not advocate

    * Hiring a home inspector, which would be reasonable, but would not necessarily discover structural problems elsewhere in the building.

    * Having each and every renter hire his own structural engineer to inspect each and every building, which would be prohibitively expensive, not to mention inefficient and dumb.
    .

  46. oaktown says:

    i think you meant to use the term “dumbass’s” didn’t you!

  47. Blissex says:

    «“The argument is that nobody coerces you to buy that apartment”
    If you meant rent, I agree.
    »

    Either way as you always have the free choice to sleep without family in cardboard boxes in a park.

    «It’s not the responsibility of a renter to provide his own structural engineer.»

    You really don’t get the logic here. In the Randian fairyland, it is your personality responsibility to do *anything* that is not subject to force.

    If you don’t hire the structural engineer when you buy or rent, or you buy or rent an apartment in a block where you are not allowed to have its structural soundness examined, and the block collapses and your family dies, it is solely and entirely your responsibility; you killed your family by exercising your free choice.

    «Having each and every renter hire his own structural engineer to inspect each and every building, which would be prohibitively expensive, not to mention inefficient and dumb.»

    Ah I see that you really don’t get the logic here. The argument is that “expensive”, “inefficient” and “dumb” are irrelevant, because the only thing that matters is free choice with personal responsibility. Practicality is just a way to say “sell out”.

    Any uncoerced transaction is better *on moral grounds* than any coerced one, and if the government coerces you to pay for building inspectors when you’d rather not, that is a criminal infringement of your rights, whether that is usually far more efficient and sensible.

    All the glibertarians care about is whether you have the right to say “no” to a proposed transaction. Being forced to accept any transaction is always wrong, no matter the consequences.

    Then they dissemble dishonestly when it comes to arguing that “building inspectors were unnecessary government intrusions”, which is a factual lie: there are literally billions of people in the world that refuse to pay for USA building inspectors.

    Nobody is coerced to pay for USA building inspectors, or USA income taxes: you can always say no! Freely and without coercion, billions of people in the world refuse to pay income taxes to the USA government.

    It is every libertarian’s free choice whether to be residents or citizens of the USA, and it is their personal responsibility to respect in good faith the law of the land, because they can always choose, freely and without coercion, a different land and a different law.

    In the USA the majority have chosen to group-purchase building inspector services, and those who disagree are entirely free to take personal responsibility and leave the country.