Let’s take an example from real life: in Sonoma county, California, where I live, a 15-year-old boy, Andy Lopez, was recently shot to death by a police officer. Andy was walking down the street in a neighborhood not considered the best carrying a toy gun which the officer (and his partner) mistook for a real AK-47. Upon seeing him, they stopped the police car and one officer jumped out, ready to fire: Andy turned around to face them and they shot him dead.
Now – what are the costs and the benefits of this kind of police policy: shoot and ask questions later? The risk of not shooting was that Andy was really a mass murderer intent on mayhem. The costs? A young boy’s life. According to Sunstein’s calculus, it was just fine and dandy that the officer killed Andy Lopez – because to believe otherwise would exhibit \”an indifference to tradeoffs.\”
What if you believe a 15-year-old boy’s life is not to be \”traded off\” in the name of the Greater Good? Well, then, that’s how we know you’re a \”paranoid libertarian\”!