A while back Bryan Caplan wrote The Lorelai Paradox and Parenthood as the Trump of All Past Regret. His argument is that because parents love their children as unique individuals and would not want to replace them with any other child, they cannot regret any event that resulted in said children turning out just the way they are. It always struck me as a poor argument, but I didn’t realize until a few days ago that Caplan himself had explained why. Here is what he said about Independence Day: “How about conservatives? They’re likely to say “This war created our country – of course it was worth it!” But without the war, conservatives would still have a country to get misty-eyed over – it would just be Britain instead of America. If you’re going to love whatever country you’re born in, it’s hard to see the point of fighting to make a new one.” Equivalently, Caplan would love his children even if they were different from how they are now, and if they had birth defects I am confident that he would prefer that they had been born without them. Caplan treats the situation differently because he is not a conservative. In case you are wondering, I think is Caplan is right about independence but not children.
Moving on to another matter, in the comments to a previous post, mtraven suggests that Caplan is inconsistent in declaring the “insane” to be rational while in another paper saying the opposite of poor criminals.