Thursday, March 7, 2013

Quote of the day

Recycled from yesterday, but it deserves its own post:

"We want a license to fail, the freedom to see if consumers want this product. We're just asking for the ability to market our product, and see if it sells. Currently, we remain unable to do so."

- David Sley


  1. "Hume can you at least one time come on here and share an argument rather than prancing around and telling everyone they're wrong and that you're smarter than them when it comes to anything in the neighborhood of political philosophy? Give me an argument, please. What are YOUR thoughts on general welfare."

    (1) Funny, I became aware of your existence because of your constant "prancing around and telling everyone they're wrong" on other blogs.

    (2) I made arguments all the time re: democracy, the concept of democracy, democratic values, the concept of legitimacy, authority, and political obligation. You choose to ignore them, for example, insisting there is nothing normative in democracy, yet continuing to make assertions regarding "democratic" policies/laws with an implicit value attribution. I dont visit this blog nearly as much because of your apparent unwillingness to recognize and work through glaring gaps in your overall worldview (note: I dont expect you to *change* your views, but to acknowledge issues and try to smooth things out). Your free to do what you want, but saying I don't make arguments when I come by is false.

    (3) Re: general welfare. Look it up yourself, grapple with the complex issues and arguments, and then comment. My assumption is that once you go through this process, you will not be flippant in your response to those who disagree with whatever views you come to adopt.

    [I personally do not have a settled view on this matter because I am not comfortable with my views regarding constitutional interpretation. But I am confident enough to recognize the issues in play, and I have enough constitutional theory under my belt to know that the preamble was not considered part of the constitution and the tax clause did not fundamentally alter the perceived constitutional framework (federalism, federal govt's powers are strictly enumerated, no general police power, etc.)].

    (4) Here is a suggestion. When you are making assertions in the public domain regarding issues you are not an expert in, have a little humility. Consider that you are an expert in fields x, y, and z in economics, and you get extremely frustrated with, for example, "part-time Austrians" who are cock-sure that The Keynes-Krugman is the devil and gold is The Answer. You also get very frustrated with professional economists whose assertions in public make it seem like there is no issue at all regarding Claims A, B, and C. If someone comes along and says "Daniel, there are serious issues in this area in which you are not an expert," perhaps you should take that as a reason to delve further into the subject. And perhaps deep disagreement among experts is a reason to refrain from mocking disregard of opposing views. Or perhaps you don't care at all and are content with your beliefs, epistemic justifications be damned.

    1. re: "Look it up yourself, grapple with the complex issues and arguments, and then comment."

      I've done due diligence and come back to this from time to time for years. You're a lawyer and a philosopher. You've obviously got a level of engagement of this issue beyond mind. So I'm curious about your concerns rather than telling me to do something I've already done.

      I really don't have time to guess what your concerns are when you just tell me I have no idea what I'm talking about.

      re: "When you are making assertions in the public domain regarding issues you are not an expert in, have a little humility."

      As far as I can tell I do. You seem to think simply having an opinion isn't humble. Sorry, I don't buy that. I don't claim anywhere to be an expert on anything (even the stuff that I spend considerably more time working with). So if you disagree with me, come out and disagree with me - don't get flustered at the fact that I have an informed opinion just because it's admittedly not as informed as yours.

      The people I take issue with no what I take issue with them on and why.

      I still have no clue what you take issue with on general welfare.

      We had a detailed conversation on your issue with my take on democracy - you think it requires a philosophical justification. I disagree. I think we can advocate democracy as a practice or custom that works (and outline ways in which it works) even if there's no full philosophical proof. So we disagree on that.

      I don't know what your concerns are on the general welfare.

      What are they - or do you just want to take another opportunity to tell me how little I know?

  2. “I think we can advocate democracy as a practice or custom that works.”

    Here's a brief summary of what my argument was/is all about (mainly conceptual in nature). When you say things like “we” or “we chose” or “our chosen policy” in a manner that attributes moral import, you are not relying on an instrumental justification of “democracy,” and you are certainly not advocating for it merely on the grounds that “it works," nor are you providing a conception of democracy grounded in instrumental rationale [I'm not sure what that would look like] (unless you think that “we chose” simply means everyone under U.S. jurisdiction or Virginia jurisdiction etc took part in a debate and unanimously voted for each and every law/policy, and that this procedure is instrumentally superior to others in choosing the policy “that works,” in which case “we chose” can be a simple descriptive claim about the political and law-making process). You consistently use these terms in a manner suggesting that “we” are “choosing” in a morally important way. I am not saying that “democracy requires a philosophical justification” (although, *of course* it does, what do you think you are doing??). Rather, I am saying that democracy is a value-laden and interpretive concept—similar to “freedom” or “liberty” or “equality”—and that your morally-loaded uses of “we” and “we choose” implicitly rely on a political-moral theory of what makes “we” and “we choose” in this context morally-meaningful. (see Dworkin on interpretive concepts) [At this point, I would go on to argue that in order to elucidate “we” and “we choose…” in a morally meaningful way in the context of the political and law-making process, you need a theory of political authority, legitimacy, political obligation, and the duty to obey the law, but your Rorty views have no time for such things (i.e., real political philosophy), so we can set that aside].

    Of course, you will continue to pontificate about democracy when convenient, and you will continue to neglect reflecting upon the fundamental issues in political and democratic philosophy, and I will continue to skip over this blog with greater frequency (blogs are interesting when the blogger is engaged in actual *dynamic* dialogue).

    One last thing. I have never once said that I am “smarter than” you in any area of philosophy. This is immature childish nonsense. Pointing out gaps in another’s position, or pointing out that the issues are more complex than one is making them out to be, is not an exercise in arrogance. It is something that you do all the time, whether on your blog or in the comments section of others. Silly.


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