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Morning Flamebait from Lynne Kiesling

Morning flamebait from Lynne Kiesling:

Where are the female economist bloggers?: I have no time or patience for that; I prefer (greatly) what in the 18th century might have been called civil discourse. That is why you will NEVER see me link to Brad DeLong or try to engage him in an interchange. NEVER. Emphatically...

A quick search pulls up, first:

A "Third Way" on Network Neutrality - Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality with All Ten Tentacles: The highly intelligent Lynne Keisling finds something interesting on net neutrality...

Can't be that, surely?

Continuing to search picks up a Lynne Kiesling comment on my version of "The Tale of the Serf." I had written:

The Tale of the Serf: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal: Here are two situations:

In the first, you are a free and independent peasant living in a village. Your field is your own. Your crops are you own. After working, you huddle before the fire in your peasant hut until you fall asleep. A smallpox epidemic comes. You, your spouse and your children all die.

In the second, you are a peasant living in a village. Once a year a thug with a spear--Sir Pierre de Bois-Guilbert, say--comes and takes 10% of your crop. He uses his takings to live well in the castle up on the hill. He also employs a troubadour who comes and entertains the peasants nightly in the village square, singing, juggling, and telling stories. He also employs chirurgeons who undertake research into the balance of the four humours. One day, the chirurgeons come with their knives: they cut the arms of you and your family, and insert some cowpox-infested tissue. When the smallpox epidemic comes, you and your family (and the other families in the village) survive.

In which situation are you "freer"? Do you really care whether you are "freer"?

To which she replied:

FREE TO CHOOSE SLAVERY? « Knowledge Problem: I agree with Jonathan [Wilde] and say YES! Put another way, I think of freedom as an a priori good.... [T]he crux of Jonathan’s point is: "We all have different preferences. Depending on the circumstances, my preference might be to not have my crop taken from me and to not have the chirurgeons insert vaccine into my arms. Perhaps I believe the vaccine to be unsafe. Perhaps my crop will be better invested by my decisions. In the end, the specific reasons do not matter; what matters is consent. However, based on his preferences, DeLong is willing to violate my consent." Oh, that’s important! Is the manorial lord not telling me about the cowpox thing because he thinks I can’t handle the risk, that I can’t be reasoned with because I’m just a stupid peasant? Does that condescension justify failing to obtain my consent through reason in the service of a “public good”? No.

At the time I did not respond: lots of dead horses, limited number of sticks, and so forth.

But now...

Kiesling argues that it is essential for her to protect your right to watch your children die of smallpox--smallpox she gave them because she thought that the benefits to you and yours from having her vaccinated were outweighed by the risks to her of getting vaccinated.

I cannot think of a single eighteenth-century thinker who would have agreed. I can think of many eighteenth-century thinkers who would have regarded that degree of Weapons-Grade Randroid Superselfishness as incompatible with even the possibility of civil society.