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Seth Edenbaum
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Non union carpenters' wages, 2000 to now. Ny wages in NYC. FLAT or DOWN. What about London? Yes immigration cuts wages. It has positive effects *in the aggregate* which is all economists care about. Displacement means nothing. The emotional well being of workers means nothing. London 2016. Iraqi Kurdish hotel desk clerk, 15 years in UK. Makes half what he used to. "Eastern European immigrants. it's how capital works" He shrugged. He didn't blame them. Stop lying to yourself in the name of well-meaning liberalism
"Clinton’s victory will show that the Democrats can win without the white working class" Clinton's a republican in everything but name. Interests? Erdogan is responsible for a rising middle class that wouldn't exist if you and your wife, and her father, had your way. That puts paid to that claim. The corollary to Trump is Sanders. Neither would exist if the republic were in good shape. But Sanders would have beaten Trump easily. Clinton had to hope he'd self-destruct. Lucky for her he did. All your shit is predicated on a contempt for the working class. Worse than a crime; it's a mistake.
"few people actually claim to be neoliberals" Few Zionists outside of the Israeli right claim to be conservatives. And yet ethnic nationalism is conservative by definition. Self-reporting is next to meaningless. "I'm a liberal" "I'm a nice guy!" Ask someone else what you are. The best description of neoliberalism is as an ideology, ethos or sensibility that places economic relations as the foundation to all other relations. Libertarianism is its purest form but all forms of neoliberalism prescribe what Marxism describes only to predict eventual escape. Neoliberalism is the logical result of liberal individualism: that the American model of life is the ideal. It's stupid. You don't have to be a revolutionary to admit that most jobs are pointless banality and that the rat race is for shit. Neoliberalism defines the rat race as an end in itself, the telos, the moral good. It's a fucking joke.
Call it econocentric logic. It makes as much sense to name it after Gordon Gekko as it would be to name it after Brad Delong Assuming self-interest reinforces self-interested behavior; measuring to the mean puts downward pressure on the mean. Democracy is a virtue ethic. "Value-free" science, especially social science, is a dangerous fantasy. "Liberalism is amenable to fans of science since it can claim reasonably or not to be without priors. Republicanism is a virtue ethic and priors are explicit: burdens precede freedoms, making hypocrisy more difficult to hide, from yourself at least. Liberal objectivity: If her interests have the same value as his, then my interests must have the same value as yours. The opposite of virtue." Gordon Gekko begins there.
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The problem of art for philosophy, and philosophers, is that artists don't mind at all if their art is seen as "of their time". That statement does no damage to their egos, or their reputation. Wallace Stevens was "a mid 20th century American poet". Referring to WVO Quine as "a mid 20th century American philosopher" opens up a lot of questions. Art can age well or badly. Truth isn't supposed to age at all. Quine's philosophy owes as much to American Puritanism as to logic.
Has anyone here ever thought to consider the possible intuitions of the victims in trolley problem scenarios? I really doubt the "doctrine of double effect" would be more than a laugh from the dying.
" 'Under such circumstances those who cherish values and hold fast to moral norms are not reliable...the moral norms and standards can be changed overnight...all that will be left is the mere habit of holding fast to something.' Evil is banal in its moralistic character, a much more interesting and surprising thesis." Yes. Civil disobedience only functions under the assumption that civility as such exists in public discourse; it's founded on a respect for the authority that will stand in judgement. But there's no rulebook on how to disobey a rule; that's the point. The most that can be asked is that the rule-breaker be able to articulate why s/he made the choice s/he did. At that level it doesn't matter whether the defense is made in a court or in letters sent from undisclosed locations --- 3 on "Weev" and one on Aaron Swartz http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html?_r=2& http://gawker.com/5962159/the-internets-best-terrible-person-goes-to-jail-can-a-reviled-master-troll-become-a-geek-hero http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/12/4693710/the-end-of-kindness-weev-and-the-cult-of-the-angry-young-man http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/03/11/130311fa_fact_macfarquhar None of them make for nice reading.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1997/jan/09/billions-and-billions-of-demons/ "I first met Carl Sagan in 1964, when he and I found ourselves in Arkansas on the platform of the Little Rock Auditorium, where we had been dispatched by command of the leading geneticist of the day, Herman Muller. Our task was to take the affirmative side in a debate: “Resolved, That the Theory of Evolution is proved as is the fact that the Earth goes around the Sun.” One of our opponents in the debate was a professor of biology from a fundamentalist college in Texas (his father was the president of the college) who had quite deliberately chosen the notoriously evolutionist Department of Zoology of the University of Texas as the source of his Ph.D. He could then assure his students that he had unassailable expert knowledge with which to refute Darwinism." Read the whole thing. Sagan was a putz "As regards science confusion, science is too hard. Only nerds are interested." The moral philosophy of autism.
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My father was a Jew. By my last name, the vast majority of the people on this planet will call me a Jew. Those who hate Jews will "recognize" me as a Jew. A small minority, actual Jews, will say I am a gentile. What does science say I am? WVO Quine denied the existence of a line between natural science and speculative metaphysics. The physicist Stephen Weinberg is the author of the book Science and its Cultural Adversaries. Chapter 15 is a defense of Zionism against its cultural adversaries. Peter Beinart defends and defines Zionism: "PB: I'm not asking Israel to be Utopian. I'm not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I'm not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I'm actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel's security and for its status as a Jewish state. What I am asking is that Israel not do things that foreclose the possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, because if it is does that it will become--and I'm quoting Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak here--an "apartheid state."" Google the quote. I won't go on about Tyler Cowens argument for economic Darwinism, eugenics, and post Katrina New Orleans. Again as I said: etc etc
Toggle Commented Aug 22, 2013 on 'Welcome to the Age of Denial' at Economist's View
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Philosophy professors and economists claim to be working as scientists. The study of politics is now called political science. Technocracy is founded on governance as a scientific discipline. And technocracy is not democracy. The Mad Scientist is the archetype for the figures of modern nightmares. Etc. etc.
Toggle Commented Aug 22, 2013 on 'Welcome to the Age of Denial' at Economist's View
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"Is There Any Point To Political Analysis?: A few further thoughts inspired by the sad revelation that Beltway conventional wisdom has settled on the proposition that Zionism is not founded in bigotry, even though there is now a consensus in the world at large that the opposite is true. …" It's just one example. Pick a central tenet to American political self-imagining that non-Americans don't shake their heads over. But that's not the point either, Here's a nice of graph of the relation of science literacy and risk perception regarding climate change, It might surprise you. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HXQJTABSJl8/TjDGpb6xt6I/AAAAAAAACYg/GnttbJsID-c/s1600/graph%2Bfrom%2Bcultural%2Bcognition%2BKahan.jpg Being mathematically next to illiterate I go with the climate scientists. The Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law school. http://www.culturalcognition.net Krugman's question might as well be, "Why can't other people see the fact value distinction?"
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Old conservatives went from "is" to an acceptance of a world of indulgence laced with shame. Modern liberals, following science, go from "is" to passive acceptance, laced with guilt. (you're right about that, yuan). Neoliberals, as modern liberals, lose the guilt. Brad DeLong: "For those humans who live in the city and are not really rich, rubber tomatoes provide a welcome and tasty and affordable simulacrum of the tomato-eating experience." After hurricane Katrina Tyler Cowen proposed letting swaths of New Orleans rebuilt as shantytowns, to foster a cultural rebirth, on the model of the corrupt and violent but vibrant New Orleans of 100 years ago. As another example he cited Kingston Jamaica, and the birth of Reggae. Interestingly enough he didn't mention the South Bronx and Hip Hop. There's no accounting for taste. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2007/dec/06/the-wrecking-ball-of-innovation/?pagination=false Robert Reich goes from "is" to "ought". Tony Judt argues against nature. The woman who talked down killer last week in London was asked why she approached him. Her response was immediate and regarding the question itself, incredulous. "Better me than a child". The woman has a strong and ingrained sense of moral responsibility. If she'd been more objective and less knee-jerk she might have realized that over the course of her career she would be able to instill that sense of responsibility in perhaps as much as 20% of her students, but that the odds of any children in the vicinity of the killer growing up to become like her meant that it would be better for society in the long run if she did not get involved. But science lost out to morality. Reflex trumped reason. "Scientific" and "disinterested" reason has shown that disinterested reason is in fact impossible in any engagements with the world. That's your point, right? We search for laws to govern our inevitably shallow self-interested behavior. And in our passivity we become even shallower. Delong attacks Alex Cockburn and William Safire in extremes of high dudgeon, but eulogizes Jeanne Kirkpatrick, closer to a war criminal than either of the others, as an old family friend. Power corrupts. He can't even conceive of himself as a jackass. "To the pure, all things are pure". From science, to Saint Paul, from arrogance to stupidity. Technocracy expands and democracy fades.
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Sorry to let you down but very few poor kids go on to be professors of "Victim Studies". They come from the middle classes and above, and if they live in poor neighborhoods, then the result is what's called "gentrification", and they tend to say nothing about their poor neighbors being thrown from their homes. I'll repeat my comment above, by way of a quote from 'Anne' on another post. She can use google if she doesn't remember: "Social Security is not an entitlement, how I detest the term, but a public insurance program in which we all share…" I'll add Dean Baker from the post linked above: "The main impulse for cutting back these programs comes from elites of both political parties who would like to pay less in taxes." True enough, but it's Baker who thinks it would be unfair for billionaires not to get their SS checks. Liberalism is founded in pity. The possibility of a workingman's' self-respect is beyond comprehension. To college educated liberals, SS is like welfare, a sign of the generosity of the "creative class", who have bathrooms they don't want to clean themselves. All of this reminds me why I'm a socialist and not a "progressive"
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"I think there is a distinction here after all. Republicans who support these programs do so because (often based upon a misunderstanding of how these programs are funded) they believe it is their money. …Democrats, on the other hand, are much more likely to support these programs as a means of lifting the unfortunate" So conservatives say Social Security is NOT an entitlement and Liberals say that it IS an entitlement. Interesting.
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If you can't tell the difference between elementary logic and bullshit you're not alone. And that was my point. All people are not created equal. But it's best not to assume who's who. Equality of all citizens under law, regardless of race or creed etc. Yes? Zionism? A lot of people are confused about that. All of us are confused about lots of things. We all live in glass houses.
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1- "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" Bullshit. 2- "A Jewish State for a Jewish people 'iff' [if and only if] A German State for a German people." Elementary logic. 2A- http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/05/goldblog-vs-peter-beinart-part-ii/56934/ Peter Beinart: "I'm not asking Israel to be Utopian. I'm not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I'm not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I'm actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel's security and for its status as a Jewish state." 2B- http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/24/mcgill-s-judith-butler-bungle.html "Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University and a Shalom Hartman Intstitute Engaging Israel Research Fellow in Jerusalem. His next book, “Moynihan’s Moment: America's Fight against Zionism as Racism,” will be published by Oxford University Press this fall." Bullshit. Zionism self-evidently is founded in bigotry. 3- http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/12/verbal-vs-mathematical-aptitude-in-academics#.UaE2z5Uir0c "Philosophers are the smartest humanists, physicists the smartest scientists, economists the smartest social scientists." My comment at the time (scroll down): "Philosophers are comparing themselves to Economists... in 2010?" translation: Bullshit Now lets talk about the persistence of normative assumption.
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After my mother died, in speaking to one of her relatives I referred to her as a communist from a good family. I was curious what the response would be, and to my surprise what came back was "Yes! that's exactly what she was". In any other country in the world, the response from anyone in the educated classes, if not all classes, would be a smile of recognition touched with irony. Here I'd expected bewilderment, and I still do, because I have no reason not to. Evidence? See Robin's article and the response. No. I cannot talk to the people here about cultural history, and therefore about politics, past or present.
Toggle Commented May 24, 2013 on 'Liberty for Whom?' at Economist's View
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Responding to two comments: 1-"The wealthy are not better than the rest of us. The 1% have taken the opportunity of the past 40 years and managed all the gains in production…" The US has 4.5% of the population of the planet. Think, just for a minute. 2-"I'm not particularly a Hayek fan, but bald statements like this are pitiful. 'Hayek cared about liberty for ultimately elitist reasons: liberty is not an end in itself, but a condition that enables the select few to make the world a better place' How about a citation that doesn't require starting with an assumption of corrupt motives?" Technocrats left and right refer to the need to foster "progress" and "innovation". What percentage of the population does that directly refer to? The majority are supposed to benefit from these policies only because as employees they've been given jobs. Pundits demand increased funding for education in science and technology for a new generation of leaders not for teaching all 5th graders, brilliant or not, the foundations of the Bill of Rights. A popular econ blogger (or at least one with a PhD in economics) says "I'm not sure why people are surprised and even upset that some teenagers don't know who the hell bin Laden is." http://www.eschatonblog.com/2011/05/kids-are-alright.html I won't even ask if they know anything about the Vietnam war, or any one before it. But I'm sure his friends kids know something. They're the educated elite. Another blogger, an academic whom I doubt any of you would read says: http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2013/01/who-has-heard-of-lebanon.html "Yesterday, I asked 130 students in my American Government class: who has never ever heard of a country called Lebanon? Some 40 students raised their hands." Leave it to someone born in another country to make the point a native born American would not. It's safe to say I won't be able to talk to most of you about economics for the same reason I won't be able to talk to you about foreign policy. One is no more or less based on science than the other. The American Dream has done more damage to the world than born again Christianity, but American liberals defend one while being horrified by the other, as if they had no relation. "They have the power. Look around and see what they have done with it." Yes we do. And power corrupts.
Toggle Commented May 21, 2013 on 'Liberty for Whom?' at Economist's View
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"a class of people who are better than the rest of us, on whom we depend for our salvation and prosperity" That sentence is a hoot. We're left to choose between the elitism of the rich or of economists and technocrats. Philosophy professors refer to "the folk". Somehow I doubt James Kwak and Mark Thoma would consider themselves folk. And DeLong? It drives me nuts that our technocratic elite, with their fixation on ideas are so willfully ignorant of their own complexities, simply as people. Logicians and moralists divide the world in twos, but the law of non-contradiction doesn't apply to books any more than people. Nietzsche connects to fascism; a lot of people did and do. The problem he faced as we do is how to come to terms with the modern desires for "equality" and "liberty". Hayek and Rand are secondary and minor figures facing the same questions. The old aristocracy and the intellectuals around it were both anti-bourgeois and anti-capitalist, and in their contempt for mediocrity in bourgeois culture they had a point, which is why so much of the cultural left over the past 200 years has been intellectually aristocratic. Foucault learned from the Surrealists and Symbolists, Baudelaire, Stendhal and Tocqueville. The flaneur is aristocratic observer. Technocracy qua technocracy, in service to itself, gets us this: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-25/italy-s-pure-chocolate-law-breaks-european-union-rules-on-candy-labeling.html "Italian rules allowing candy makers to label their products as “pure chocolate” breach European Union law, the region’s highest court said. Permitting chocolate made from pure cocoa butter to be called “cioccolato puro,” or “pure chocolate,” clashes with EU-wide measures which allow chocolate laced with vegetable fats to be marketed as chocolate, the tribunal in Luxembourg said." That's not an important example but it's part for whole. A focus on the mean puts downward pressure on the mean. Robin mocks [links below]: “The ancients sought virtue, a life of excellence lived in and through the polis; the moderns (Machiavelli, Descartes, Bacon, Hobbes, and Locke) perpetrate ‘a lowering of aims.’ ” If everyone is equal then its just a small shift to say we can refer only to averages: the average man becomes the benchmark for analysis by the new elite. And there is a new elite. What do you think it means every time Krugman says "it's a bit technical". Equality? No. And of course experts can make stupid mistakes. http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/ricardo.htm And who's the first to get hurt? Any engineer can lecture you on efficiency, redundancy and stability, but somehow efficiency makes economics take on the character of a morality play. If I were less of a determinist I'd be shocked. http://blog.edenbaumstudio.com/2012/11/notesvariousposted-by-me-elsewhere.html An exchange with Chris Bertram: SE: "Arguments for the nobility of greed are a recent development." Bertram: "If, by “recent” you mean 1705, you may be right." I wasn't raised to think of greed as noble. Yet somehow in the minds of technocratic liberals, facts became ideals, and actions became secondary, so we get elitists preaching equality, meaning the equivalence of everyone in the majority to each other, while taking their own superiority for granted. Technocracy is not democracy. Democracy is founded on obligations before freedoms. Libertarians are finally open in their dislike for democracy; maybe it's time defenders of democracy should develop a healthy skepticism regarding freedom defined as individualism. Freedom of speech serves the health of the polis. And maybe compulsory education should extend over the course of a life. If you pay attention to the culture that produced you, you'll understand your contradictions. If you think you're not contradictory, you're wrong. Too many liberals think saying "I'm a nice guy" makes it so. And of course, if I am what I say I am, others are what I say they are too. According to Cory Robin, Nietzsche and Burke are bad guys. Robin's arguments are based in simplistic assumptions about history, historical figures, and himself. His writing is shallow and obvious. His primary politics is self-promotion. US mythology includes puritans and drunks, Carry Nation and John Wayne; individualized self-righteousness is the only universal. Scandinavian mythology includes Janteloven. Social democracy wasn't the product of an idea; the ideas were the product of a culture. If you want to debate social democracy, as I've it would make sense to read Henning Mankell before John Rawls, and read for contradictions and questions not ideas.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2013 on 'Liberty for Whom?' at Economist's View
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