Saturday, May 21, 2011

Being linked and getting links

Being Linked: A couple flattering ones lately

- Gene Callahan leaves some big shoes to fill while he's on vacation. This made me smile this morning :)

- David Henderson links to my discussion of the Conley-Dupor paper.

- DeLong picks up the DARPA post.

- Andrew Bossie then links DeLong and agrees with me (and cites Keynes! He knows how to get on my good side, apparently).

Getting Links: So I've gotten some reading assignments from commenters recently that I've failed miserably on. I did want to provide some - I feel like there are more, though.

- From Prateek - Skidelsky on Democracy and Finance.

- Daniel James Sanchez points me to a length piece he wrote on Misesian epistemology. I do need to get around to reading this (got through the beginning). Readers know that really especially in the last year my opinion of epistemology has declined considerably. But it's still important to know where other people are coming from.


  1. Gene Callahan has reached what I call "Sage" or Jedi status when it comes to intellectual enlightenment or wisdom. He isn't bounded by any ideology; from time to time he takes a step back, looks at the facts, and he chooses the most logically consistent and most sound argument. A very wise man indeed. This is the accurate accurate approach to the humanities.

    Another one I think who achieved this non-dogmatic approach is Chomsky. Marxists say he's anarchist, liberals say he's anarchist, anarchists say he's a liberal or a marxist. If you're constantly being criticized by such a group of pseudo-intellectuals you're probably doing something right. I mean, how dare Chomsky suggest that the people in Iraq and Afghanistan probably love their kids too, and that 1,000,000 is greater than 3,000 deaths, that the Iraq war has killed more people than our own civil war:
    and thus it was a more violent action than September 11th. The Bush administration merely took advantage of the national tragedy by going back and trying to revise history just months after the attack:
    "The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door, and said, "I want you to find whether Iraq did this." ... I said, 'Mr, President. We've done this before. We have been looking at this. We looked at it with an open mind. Mr. President, there's no connection.'
    He came back at me and said, 'Iraq. Saddam. Find out if there's a connection.' ... We got together all the FBI experts, all the CIA experts. They all cleared the report, and we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the national security adviser or deputy. It got bounced and was sent back saying, "Wrong answer. Do it again.' ... And I don't think he, the president, sees memos that he wouldn't like the answer." --Richard Clark
    A million people died merely because the President was able to exploit the politics of fear to engage in "preventive war," start a war economy, and revisit history. Chomsky is really the Russell of our time. Free-trade (Somalia) and imperialism have been the leading cause of death in the last 50 years in terms of unnecessary intervention.

  2. As for the DARPA project and Delong's comments, I actually don't think this is something the government should be funding right now. Set aside a special corporate charter for it or leave it to the market.

    First of all, as sociobiologists have pointed out many times, humans are adapted to this world. We are not adapted to any other world or space colony. So the claim that this world is just a way to a better world is inherently flawed. It would cause all kinds of health problems and other problems with the ecosystem. I think economists and other philosophers tend to lose sight of the fact of just how necessary the earth's ecosystem really is. I also agree that it isn't really feasible from an astrophysics perspective as well as the people on Delong's blog pointed out.

    Second, it is flawed from a political science perspective. It's saying, "we've exhausted our resources and nearly destroyed ourselves on this world, so let's go do it somewhere else now." Why not change our ways here first? Then we can worry about where it move. Unless of course you think that "new beginnings" could only occur in space which I don't agree with.

    As for DARPA, yes, about 80-90% of their projects fail anyway, and yet they've had some of the most creative and intelligent research in our system. Half of the arguments I get into with Libertarians are the basic fact that a lot of incredibly important research has come from government or corporations given special priviliges and isolated from the market. Even microbiology that laissez-faire people go on and on about as being an example of "corporate research" started with research done by individual scientists in university laboratories. The fact is, I can think of about a million things I'd rather see DARPA involved with than this, and we've got way too many current political problems -- so this is one area I would just "leave to market forces," which is just another way of saying nothing will be done.



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