He sketches the main ideas of the book, and then he uses the three-axes model to discuss the blind spots of each tribe. For example,
Liberals first. In their eagerness to empathize with the victim, they can turn the victim into an object rather than an independent actor. Poor people are so oppressed in the liberal view, they don’t just have limited agency to choose and live life in meaningful ways. They have no agency. They are simply objects manipulated by powerful people around them.
Indeed. I would say that the oppressor-oppressed axis attaches too little agency to the individuals in the oppressed categories. Also, it attaches too much agency to the individuals put into the oppressor category. Progressives prefer to explain market outcomes as deliberate exploitation rather than the operation of supply and demand.
I would say that conservatives have a blind spot when abandoning tradition can enhance civilization rather than threaten it. Think of abandoning the tradition of Jim Crow in the South.
Concerning libertarians, Roberts writes,
We often romanticize the power of economic freedom. We struggle to imagine that some people are poorly served by markets, that some transactions involve exploitation of ignorance and that the self-regulation of markets can fail. In our zeal to de-romanticize government, we often ignore the good that government does especially in cases where freedom might perform badly. Our worst mistake is to defend the freedom of business to do what it will in situations where government has hampered or destroyed the feedback loops of profit and loss that make economic freedom successful.
I get what he is driving at with the last sentence–the problem sometimes called crony capitalism–but it comes across as more of a humble-brag than a blind spot.
What might I see is the libertarian blind spot? Perhaps it is the tendency to view coercion as a binary phenomenon. We speak as if you either are coerced by the government or you make a free choice. Perhaps it is more reasonable to think in terms of a continuum. There are many government policies that people do not experience as horribly coercive. Traffic regulations are one obvious example. There are market situations where people do not sense that they have free choice–remember the guy who got thrown off a plane by the airline? And what if a gay couple could not find any convenient baker willing to bake them a wedding cake?