Over at Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux responds to an email correspondent on data-driven science. Here is my take:
Having followed Don for several years now and had the good fortune to meet and converse with him in person on several occasions, I can say with absolute conviction that his writings, teachings, and opinions are driven not just by data (I invite M. Wheeler to do a search of Cafe Hayek and he will find many posts, some as recently as today, that are chock full of data), but also ethical considerations. And ethics are key.
Science and data without ethics is highly dangerous. The “Progressives” of the early 20th Century believed they were just following the science when they passed eugenics laws, forced steralization, and Jim Crow. The Nazis believed they were just following the science when they executed millions and performed horrific tests.
People like Don and myself staunchly oppose MW and other market controls not because we are ideologues but because we believe it is wrong to experiment on people without their consent (see more of my thoughts here: http://force4good.me/2015/10/24/forgetting-the-humanity/).
Asking the question “is this outcome worth it?” is hardly dogmatic, but rather quite reasonable. It’s far more dogmatic to hide behind figures and avoid thinking about the consequences.