The most controversial essays from the bestselling author once called the most dangerous man in America—collected for the first time.
The nation’s most-cited legal scholar who for decades has been at the forefront of applied behavioral economics, and the bestselling author of Nudge and Simpler, Cass Sunstein is one of the world’s most innovative thinkers in the academy and the world of practical politics. In the years leading up to his confirmation as the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Sunstein published hundreds of articles on everything from same-sex marriage to cost-benefit analysis. Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas is a collection of his most famous, insightful, relevant, and inflammatory pieces. Within these pages you will learn:
• Why perfectly rational people sometimes believe crazy conspiracy theories
• What wealthy countries should and should not do about climate change
• Why governments should allow same-sex marriage, and what the “right to marry” is all about
• Why animals have rights (and what that means)
• Why we “misfear,” meaning get scared when we should be unconcerned and are unconcerned when we should get scared
• What kinds of losses make us miserable, and what kinds of losses are absolutely fine
• How to find the balance between religious freedom and gender equality
• And much more...
Cass Sunstein is a unique, controversial, and exciting voice in the political world. A man who cuts through the fog of left vs. right arguments and offers logical, evidence-based, and often surprising solutions to today’s most challenging questions.
Innovative, offbeat policy proposals come wrapped in placid prose in these provocative essays. Harvard law professor and former White House regulatory czar Sunstein (Simpler) deploys the searching logic and lucid, down-to-earth style that make him one of America's most quoted and controversial liberal commentators Glenn Beck dubbed him "the most dangerous man in America" on an eclectic set of political, social, and judicial problems: why sane people believe nutty conspiracy theories (Santa Claus, he points out, is "the product of a wide-spread conspiracy among parents") and how governments could covertly defang them; why cost-benefit analysis promotes effective and humane regulation; why juries should award more compensation for lower back pain than for lost limbs; why animals should get their day in court; why gay marriage is right; and why spending to abate greenhouse emissions may be wrong. Several essays flesh out a "New Progressivism" that steers between free markets and big government, favoring nudges and incentives over regulatory mandates, and income supplements and housing subsidies over minimum wages and rent control. Sunstein will infuriate partisans on both sides with his even-handedness and his simultaneous embrace of active government and criticism of its excesses. The result is a stimulating exposition of the virtues and dynamism of moderation.