Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kettle... Kettle... this is Pot calling for Kettle...

OK, I normally don't post much on commenter Blue Aurora's favorite scholar, Michael Emmett Brady. Nor do I give much a platform to lewrockwell.com here. But Blue Aurora just shared this link with me which is too good not to pass on. It's a rant about Brady. This was the funny part:

"Nothing in the academic world reeks more revoltingly than the man who labels anyone who disagrees with him a shoddy scholar. Such a desperate act of intellectual dishonesty is a sure sign that the man who resorts to it possesses not a shred of intellectual integrity and is utterly incapable of honest discourse. The fact that few scholars ever stoop so low is primarily due to the fact that their peers are readily capable of recognizing the tactic for what it is: puerile name-calling masquerading as argumentation....

[two more paragraphs saying essentially the same thing]

...Brady accomplished this ignoble feat in a short article (i.e., "pamphlet") that he penned for Amazon.com. His aim was to demonstrate that Murray Rothbard had – God forbid! – misinterpreted J.M. Keynes’s theory of probability. Rothbard’s interpretation in Keynes, The Man shows that, according to Brady, "Rothbard was either a master of deceit and deception or an ignorant fool.Either case is good grounds for eliminating M Rothbard from serious consideration as an economist or philospher.M Rothbard was a pamphleteer.""

I actually do think Brady can be a little harsh to anyone that disagrees with him. But defending Rothbard against Brady on this particular tactic - of all tactics - is like Ann Coulter comparing Barbara Walters to one of the most notorious propagandists of the 20th century.

Or (dare I say it) like Ron Paul fans accusing Obama supporters of getting wrapped up in the personality cult of a power-seeking politician.


  1. If Crovelli was a bit more mannered, this would make for good debate. Crovelli is grounded in statistics, and so if there is anybody capable of debating with Brady it would be him.

  2. And, of course, Crovelli's exaggerations are even grosser than Brady's! Accusing someone of shoddy scholarship is absolutely fine... if the charge is well-grounded! And to call it ad hominem is absurd: either the accuser CAN point to shoddy scholarship, or the charge is simply false. In neither case is it like Crovelli calling Keynes an anti-Semite.

  3. Catalan: Or a person with a doctorate in mathematics like Dr. David J. Marsay.


    See Marsay's review of A Treatise on Probability and the following interactions I had with Dr. Marsay.


    Does this Crovelli character have at least an undergraduate level grasp of mathematics?

  4. I'm not sure (not even sure how it's relevant), but like I said, I know him for his work in statistics.

  5. Just curios Daniel, have you ever read Rothbard's "Keynes The Man"? If so, is it at all accurate? I read it about a year ago and it seems like he documented facts about Keynes' career and made some judgements based on the groups he was affiliated with. Just wondering if you had an opinion on it.

  6. Catalan: The reason I asked was because you need an undergraduate level understanding of mathematics to comprehend A Treatise on Probability. A debate between Crovelli and Brady would be interesting, but I'd first like to know how good his grasp of mathematics is.

  7. Um, but you don't need an undergraduate education to have an undergraduate level understanding. Why don't you test his understanding based on his more academic contributions, rather than ask whether he has a bachelors or not? I would also say that most people with an undergrad degree in statistics can't understand Keynes, because going to school doesn't imply that you learned the information and its implications.

  8. James, I read it as well. It really just delve into his personal nuances and associations. I wasn't aware there was a whole lot of substantive argument Rothbard put up.

  9. @Mattheus,

    Exactly. Rothbard doesn't make any damming conclusions on Keynes but merely looks at his academic upbringing and the kind of ideologies his associates had. I failed to see any "propaganda" in it.


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