Don't Dislocate Your Shoulder While Patting Yourself on the Back

Alex Tabarrok posts on the "Ethics of Economists":

I have an article in TCS today on why economists tend to be more in favor of immigration than the typical person. Surprisingly, the ethics of economists may be part of the answer!

Apparently, in this debate, it's not enough to be correct; you also have to be morally superior to your opponents. I've recently blogged about how this relates to Thomas Sowell's famous book A Conflict of Visions. And comments like the above remind me of nothing so much as Sowell's subtitle to his companion volume The Vision of the Anointed: "Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy."

It's not surprising that economists tend to be smarter than other people on economic issues. When Alex, and the co-signers of his open letter point out (for example) that a free labor market makes us all richer, they're right. But what they're right about is the relatively narrow theoretical economic issue, while neglecting practical cultural, legal, and political issues. It's not a matter of "ethics", really: it's more of a matter of focus. And, um, vision.

Meanwhile, Robert Rector at NRO provides a list of some of the costs of "reform" as passed by the Senate. Read the whole thing, and decide for yourself who's got a better look at the whole issue.