Saturday, March 3, 2012

Thank you, Jonathan

I had taken Cafe Hayek off my Google Reader earlier this morning (this is actually the second time I've done that), after reading a Don Boudreaux post where he responds to Rush Limbaugh's diatribe against Sandra Fluke by arguing that while Limbaugh perhaps shouldn't have said that, Fluke was being "uncivilized".

Classy Don. You're a real gentleman. My own view is that when a professional young woman making an intelligent argument (even an argument you don't agree with) gets called a slut by a nationally syndicated bully, you should come to the defense of the professional young woman - not pile on. But then, that's just how I was raised to treat women.

Jonathan Catalan calls Boudreaux out on it too.

I was just going to take an "out of sight, out of mind" approach to the blog by removing it from my reader and just fade out of my radar. I feel like a lot of the nits I've picked with them lately have been over dumb stuff - it's been more of a waste of time. But it is a delicate balance. Don and Russ appeal to a very different audience from most libertarian blogs, and Russ's work on EconTalk (which I often do enjoy, actually) and with John Papola give these guys a big platform. So I've found it valuable in particular to push back against their mischaracterization of Keynesianism.

That sort of "public education" role of F&OST still won't stop, but for the time being at least I'm not following these two anymore. Commenters - let me know if anything substantive worth addressing comes up.


  1. I very much enjoy reading the economic perspectives on various blogs. I have also taken Cafe Hayek off my Google Reader due to the overtly partisan content by some of its contributers.

    My tolerance for partisan commentary are rather limited. I still follow Krugmann, Yves Smith, and Mish Shedlock. All of whom I think would benefit from toning down the punditry and amplifying their economic analysis.

  2. Apparently you don't read Landsburg's blog either.

  3. If you really want to get Don Boudreaux's nettle, remind him that he wrote multiple columns in 2006 to the effect that the CPI very much overstates inflation (the agenda being that "flat" inflation-adjusted worker wages were actually rising nicely).

    Now he pens the usual "inflation is a crisis" columns (the agenda being Obama is no good), despite the fact in the last three years the CPI has been near historic lows. In fact, if the CPI overstates inflation, we are near deflation (I believe this to be the case).

    I happen to be a Market Monetarist, so I regard Obama as a mediocre President (Bernanke the real problem), and I favor monetary stimulus before Krugmanite spending.

    That said, the behavior of Boudreaux, as well as John Taylor and Alan Meltzer, has been curious, and probably deeply partisan of late---so much so as to undermine their academic qualifications. Taylor went to Japan and n 2006 gushed about the positive effects of QE, and Meltzer (like Milton Friedman) told Japan to print more money. Now Meltzer and Taylor pompously pettifog about the perils of inflation--the same inflation they (correctly) advised Japan to seek (along with growth) in similar circumstance.

    I anm confident that Boudreaux, Taylor and Meltzer will all change their tunes if we get a GOP president, and he gets us into a new war and wipes out Obamacare.

    We will then hear nothing about inflation, the deficit will be backburnered, and any monetary stimulus will be accepted.

  4. Add on: Let's see--we are now defining people as "uncivilized" if they have different points of view from us?

    So, every time I meet a democratic socialist, I am meeting someone who is "uncivilized?" Or every time I meet someone who favors large military outlays (and thus a higher level of coercive taxation), I am meeting someone who is "uncivilized"?

    Don Boudreaux needs a long vacation. Demonizing people with different viewpoints is not the hallmark of a democracy nor an academic.

  5. I apologize I'm just now joining this conversation, but life gets in the way....

    I read this a couple of days ago and I am disappointed that you're removing yourself from the conversation. I am no economist, but subscribe to several economics blogs for the education I receive and different perspectives that probably don't happen anywhere else. What I enjoy most is that I can see both sides of the debate because the several blogs I follow often carry on a conversation through posts that respond back and forth to each other. It's a conversation among the experts unlike any other field.

    The best example I can think of of this "conversation" is the recent back and forth started by Krugman about deficit spending having to be "paid for" by future generations. I watched that conversation with great interest and really enjoyed the education I received from some great economic minds.

    I consider myself a classical liberal and therefore most often sympathize with Professors Boudreaux and Roberts compared to other economists I read, but I'm always willing to give others an ear and I make sure to thoroughly read and try to understand their perspective. When one removes themselves from the conversation, I'm wondering if there will be anything for the casual observer to learn from you if you're no longer a part of the larger conversation.

    1. I'm still talking to a bunch of libertarians. Don and Russ have been bugging me lately, and this just took the cake. I did this once before... I forgot the instigating post... and then re-added them later. I'm sure that will happen in this case too.

      I'm just in kind of a "life is too short" for this mood. If you see a post of theirs that you think is worth talking about here, just let me know in the comment section.

  6. Please don't take offense, but if life is too short, it definitely is much too short to monitor blogs and then report back to you when I see something interesting and think you might have something to add. Join back in to the conversation when you see fit, I just wanted you to know it's disappointing that you're doing this.


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