By Ilya Somin
Political scientist Dan Drezner has an interesting essay in Foreign Policy magazine that explores how different international relations theories would cope with an invasion of zombies. It’s based on his forthcoming book Theories of International Politics and Zombies, scheduled to be published by the Princeton University Press. Drezner analyzes the possible responses to a zombie invasion predicted by realist, liberal, and neoconservative theories of international relations. Great stuff!
Unfortunately, he doesn’t consider the possible predictions to be derived from libertarian theories of politics. I’m not going to do a complete analysis of such here. But I would expect many governments to try to use zombies for their own nefarious ends. Zombies might be an excellent tool of repression for authoritarian states.
Government efforts to combat the zombie menace might also be hampered by public choice problems. Various interest groups would surely exploit the zombie crisis as an opportunity to lobby for special benefits for themselves under the pretext of combatting the zombies. In democracies, anti-zombie policy might also be compromised by widespread voter ignorance of zombies and irrationality about them. Indeed, I strongly suspect that voters are likely to be even more ignorant and irrational about zombies than they are on most other policy issues.
Finally, I want to congratulate Drezner on his success in persuading a major academic press to publish a book on this subject. As soon as I finish my own forthcoming books on political ignorance and the Kelo case, I hope to try to equal Drezner’s achievement. Perhaps it’s not too early to to see if Princeton University Press might be interested in publishing my proposed book on the law and economics of orcs? As numerous fantasy novels will tell you, they’re a much more imminent danger than zombies.