#moralresponsibility Feed

The more Geoff Kabaservice insists that William F. Buckley was much more than a Klansman with a big vocabulary, the more people send me things that seem to strongly indicate that he was little more than a Klansman with a big vocabulary—or, possibly, a grifter who wanted to appear to be a Klansman with a big vocabulary. Is that better? Is that worse?: Jeet Heer (2015): National Review's Racism Denial, Then and Now: "[The] massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, but conservative writer Mona Charen seems to have been doubly upset. Writing in National Review... complained that the prospect that the tragedy could be politically exploited by Democrats was 'even more depressing' than the actions of the killer...

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Willmoore Kendall, Harry Jaffa's Crisis of the House Divided, and the Party of Abraham Lincoln: Hoisted from the Archives

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More about the... rather strange... musings of: Geoffrey Kabaservice: Liberals Don't Know Much About Conservative History: "Buckley’s endorsement of Southern segregation was a moral blot on the conservative movement, and he later acknowledged it as his gravest error. But it’s anti-historical to assume that Buckley was little more than a Klansman with a large vocabulary...

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Thinking About This Again: Extremely wise and interesting on how the more empirical reality tells the Trumpists to mark their beliefs to market, the more desperate they are to avoid doing so: John Holbo: Epistemic Sunk Costs and the Extraordinary, Populist Delusions of Crowds?: "Here’s a thought.... The first rule of persuasion is: make your audience want to believe...

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(Early) Monday Joint Mark Helprin/Ross Douthat/Geoffrey Kabaservice Smackdown!

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I find, on Twitter, the smart Geoff Kabaservice being just weird: Geoff Kabaservice: @RuleandRuin: "POLITICO asked me to expand my tweet previous thread about what liberal historians tend to get wrong about conservatism..." So I go read it, and find a list of 1990s "new voices on the neoconservative/neoliberal front like David Frum, Michael Lind, Andrew Sullivan, Francis Fukuyama, John McWhorter, Richard Brookhiser, Mickey Kaus, Michael Kelly, William Kristol and John Podhoretz..."

And I think: Huh! Wait a minute! Neoliberals aren't conservative! And I think: Mickey Kaus and Michael Kelly were mean and deranged. John Podhoretz and Richard Brookhiser were not smart. Andrew Sullivan and John McWhorter always struck me as more... performance art than anything else. William Kristol was a hack back when he smelled power, but now that he does not is a genuinely quirky, interesting thinker. So are David Frum and Michael Lind. And Francis Fukuyama is a genius—but not a conservative. In general, here—as elsewhere—those who are wise and conservative are not honest, those who are honest and conservative are not wise, and those who are wise and honest and thus worth reading rapidly cease to be conservative. It's like Lasalle's Iron Law of Wages. So I think: Geoff, that's two strikes.

And I read Kabaservice to the end, and find "liberal historians should consider subscribing to the Claremont Review of Books or National Affairs". So I surf on over, and start reading—first Mark Helprin on Charlottesville. And then I stop reading: Mark Helprin: Charlottesville One Year Later: "Enter Antifa, the Communist fascisti as invisible to the mainstream media as were Stalin’s and Mao’s genocides, Castro’s executions, and, with special mention to the New York Times, the Holocaust. They came in ranks: shields, helmets, clubs, etc. But unlike the idiots they came to fight, some of whom had firearms, Antifa had the best weapon of all—well-meaning, overprotected Millennials fed upon virtue signaling..."

I stop readin: when what really gets you mad about Charlottesville is not Nazis and the Klan and "very fine people on both sides", but is rather "Antifa... Communist fascisti... invisible to the mainstream media... well-meaning, overprotected Millennials fed upon virtue signaling..." there is something very wrong with you, mentally and morally—and with the editors who publish you. Denunciations of "virtue signaling" are what people who know they are villains start doing when they think they can no longer pretend to be the good guys.

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Ask Not For Whom the Global Warming Bell Tolls...: Live at Project Syndicate

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Project Syndicate: Ask Not For Whom the Global Warming Bell Tolls...: Scarcely had I begun my first lecture of the fall semester here at the University of California, Berkeley, when I realized that I was too hot. I desperately wanted to take off my professorial tweed jacket. A tweed jacket is a wonderful but peculiar costume. If all you have for raw material is a sheep, it is the closest thing you can get to Gore-Tex.... Over the past 20 years, professorial garb has become increasingly uncomfortable, even here on the east side of the Bay. The climate now feels more like that of Santa Barbara.... The problems associated with global warming will be neither mere inconveniences, nor as far off as we would like to think. There are currently two billion near-subsistence farmers living in the six great river valleys of Asia, from the Yellow all the way around to the Indus. These farmers have limited means and few non-agricultural skills. It would not be easy for them to pick up and relocate.... The snow melt from the region’s high plateaus has always arrived at precisely the right moment, and in precisely the right volume.... Another billion people depend on the monsoon arriving at the right time, and in the right place.... Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal.... 250 million people living at or near sea level in the greater Ganges Delta, the world will face a long train of catastrophe. The international community is in no way prepared....

“No man”—nor nation, region, or country–“is an island entire of itself.… And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Read MOAR at Project Syndicate

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Hoisted from teh Archives: Joseph Schumpeter on "Liquidationism"

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Today's Economic History: Joseph Schumpeter on "Liquidationism": "Three things strike me while rereading Schumpeter's 1934 "Depressions" (and also his 1927 Explanation of the Business Cycle):

  1. How much smarter Schumpeter is than our modern liquidationists and austerians--he says a great many true things in and amongst the chaff, which is created by his fundamentally mistaken belief that structural adjustment must be triggered by a downturn and a wave of bankruptcies that releases resources into unemployment. How much more fun and useful it would be right now to be debating a Schumpeter right now than the ideologues calling for, say, more austerity for and more unemployment in Greece!

  2. How very strange it is for Schumpeter to be laying out his depressions-cause-structural-change-and-growth theory of business cycles at the very same moment that he is also laying out his entrepreneurs-disrupt-the-circular-flow-and-cause-structural-change-and-growth-theory of enterprise. It is, of course, the second that is correct: Growth comes from entrepreneurs pulling resources into the sectors, enterprises, products, and production methods of the future. It does not come from depressions pushing resources into unemployment. Indeed, as Keynes noted, times of depression and fear of future depression are powerful brakes halting Schumpeterian entrepreneurship: "If effective demand is deficient... the individual enterpriser... is operating with the odds loaded against him. The game of hazard which he plays is furnished with many zeros.... Hitherto the increment of the world’s wealth has fallen short of the aggregate of positive individual savings; and the difference has been made up by the losses of those whose courage and initiative have not been supplemented by exceptional skill or unusual good fortune. But if effective demand is adequate, average skill and average good fortune will be enough..."

  3. How Schumpeter genuinely seems to have no clue at all that the business cycle is a feature of a monetary economy--how very badly indeed he needed to learn, and how he never did learn, what Nick Rowe and company teach today about the effects of monetary stringency on economic coordination.

  4. And, finally, how absolutely bonkers liquidationism and austerianism remain...

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Hoisted from the Archives: What Was Karl Marx's Principal Contribution?

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What Was Karl Marx's Principal Contribution?: It really depends on what you mean by "primary contribution"...

Look: Marx started his adult life with an adolescent oppositional stance, an Enlightenment confidence that he was living in the age of humanity's liberation, and a big chip on his shoulder as a German Jew when all the real action seemed to be going on in the west in France (politics) and in Britain (industry).

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Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: William Saletan Claims That the Real Thing Wrong with the Cheney-Bush-Rice-Rumsfeld Iraq War Was That It Prevented the Much Larger Cheney-Bush-Rice-Rumsfeld rIan War

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Duncan Black: The Stupidest People In The World: "I was going to let this go, but I just can't. Will 'Too Stupid to Tie Shoes' Saletan wrote his little 'How a supergenius like me helped cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people' piece for Slate as a list of 'lessons learned'. All relatively innocuous until you get to the last one...

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He is the best young organizer-activist I have seen: Will Bunch: Dying from ALS, Ady Barkan will save U.S. democracy if it's the last thing he does: "A onetime running and outdoor enthusiast who now uses a motorized wheelchair to zip around, Ady Barkan says it’s been getting harder just within the last few weeks for him to lift his fork and eat his meals...

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Adolf Hitler Interviewed by George Sylvester Viereck in 1923: Weekend Reading

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George Sylvester Viereck: Great interviews of the 20th century: Adolf Hitler: "'When I take charge of Germany, I shall end tribute abroad and Bolshevism at home.' Adolf Hitler drained his cup as if it contained not tea, but the lifeblood of Bolshevism....

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The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler attacks Beto O'Rourke. There is something deeply mentally, morally, and psychologically wrong here—with Glenn Kessler, with his bosses, and with his colleagues. In a Washington Post with good journalists, there would be a substantial number of resignations today.

Kessler's major point appear to be that Black teenage boys aren't children, and that you are armed and dangerous if you have a toy gun: Glenn Kessler: Beto O’Rourke’s claims on African Americans and police shootings: "If you drill down and look at the data for unarmed black children killed by police, there is virtually no support for the idea that this happens at a frightening level...

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Yes, Republicans Are or Are Pretending to Be Easily Grifted Morons: The Theory of Relativity: Is It Time to "Teach the Controversy"?: Hoisted from Seven Years Ago

Preview of Yes Republicans Are or Are Pretending to Be Easily Grifted Morons The Theory of Relativity Is It

It is now 24 years since my default hypothesis became that that the conservative wing of the Republican Party is composed exclusively of people who have completely disabled their bullshit detectors, and were, as a result, easily-grifted morons. That default hypothesis has served me very well. Only now it is broadened: now all Republicans either have or are pretending to have completely disabled their bullshit detectors, and so now all Republicans are easily-grifted morons:

Hoisted from Seven Years Ago: The Theory of Relativity: Is It Time to "Teach the Controversy" in America's High Schools?: Jason Kuznicki pleads for charity for creationists:

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Big Questions for Left Opposition Social Scientists: Cedarbrook Notes

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Cedarbrook Notes: Occupy had zero impact on austerity budgets. Mont Pelerin was not important because they gathered by a lake, sang “kumbaya”, and felt a sense of solidarity. We should not pretend defeats were victories.

What can we do? I think there are three levels that we ought to be operating on—all, right now, understanding the world rather than trying to change it: understanding policies, understanding mobilizations, and understanding utopia:

  • The first is understanding the effects of policies: the policies adopted between 1980 and 2007 did not have the results that their advocates expected nor the results that their critics expected. We really do need to figure out how to understand what the social world is rather than what the models—both pro and con—in use during the neoliberal era said the social world was.

  • The second is understanding the vicissitude of mobilization. The standard political center-left plans to promote full employment, progressive taxation and social insurance, upward mobility, and infrastructure and public services—equitable growth—all these are things that should meet with near-universal applause. By contrast, con-game kleptocracy in the interest of plutocracy should not get 60 million votes. Fascism—the belief that you need a strong leader who is a bully, because he is your bully, and he will bully your enemies, who may be corporations, foreigners, people who look or think differently, and who are always the rootless cosmopolites—should not be attractive to a 21st-century electorate on any level. Yet, somehow, it, terrifyingly, is. The same social-science models that failed to adequately track the effects of neoliberal policies failed to predict the seductive attractiveness of 21st century neo-fascism. Thus we have two different levels at which we need to understand the societal world: the effects of neoliberal policies, and the possibilities for mobilization.

  • The third is the question of what our Utopia is. How will our different view of the social world change our goals for a good society? Our utopia will almost surely still include full employment, progressive taxation and social insurance, upward mobility, and lots of infrastructure. But it will also include other and deeper objectives—objectives that have not been on the New Deal and social democratic bucket lists.

These three tracks all need to be pushed forward. But they also very much need to be three tracks. And they need to be three different tracks.


Steering by the Socialist Idols in the Heavens Leads Us to Sail Not Towards but Away from the Shores of Utopia: (Early) Monday Corey Robin Smackdown

Preview of Steering Toward Socialist Idols Leads Us to Sail Not Towards but Away from the Shores of Utopia

I find Corey Robin smart most of the time. I find him annoyingly and profoundly stupid some of the time. Why? Because of occasional but stubborn blindnesses to very important parts of recent history and, indeed, very important parts of the world in which he lives—what seems to me a willful, trollish blindnesses.

For example, his piece in the New York Times last week. It really could have used some proper editorial attention it did not get: The examples presented of what is wrong with "the market" are simply... not examples...

Robin writes of "the anxious parent, desperate not to offend the insurance representative on the phone, lest he decree that the policy she paid for doesn’t cover her child’s appendectomy". But that is not a problem with "the market": that is a problem with bureaucracy. National health systems face the same problems and make the same kinds of decisions with respect to "medical appropriateness" as do private insurers.

Robin writes of freedom from "the need to smile for the sake of a sale". But that is not a problem with "the market": that is a problem with the need we have for a complex division of labor in order to be a rich society, in the context of the very human fact that people will not be eager to deal with you as a cooperative partner if you are a misanthropic grouch.

The market provides a partial way around the unfreedoms generated by institutions of bureaucratic organization and social cooperation. The market—if and only if you have wealth—allows you to be a misanthropic grouch and still get people to cooperate with you. The market—if and only if you have wealth—allows you to avoid having to work to make the gear-wheels of bureaucracy turn and yet still gain access to resources. It is certainly the case that if people are poor then the market does them no good at all. It cannot, then, be a way around bureaucracy or norms of social agreeableness. The market pays attention to the wealthy and only the wealthy. But the problem then is one of poverty—that we have managed to arrange a very wealthy society in such a way that it has a lot of not-wealthy people in it.

Contrary to what Robin claims, utopia is indeed the liberal dream of freedom plus groceries—with "groceries" standing in for enough wealth to route yourself around the unfreedoms created by bureaucracy and by your own misanthropic nature when they bind too tightly. The problem is not "the market" or "capitalism": Corey Robin: The New Socialists: "Under capitalism, we’re forced to enter the market just to live...

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How Much Is Left of Donald Trump's Brain? The Level of Cognitive Decline Here is Close to Being Absolute...

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Rob Beschizza: President Trump colors U.S. flag wrongly in classroom photo opg: "Maybe Trump should kneel before it a while, so he at least knows what it looks like. I've created a useful graphic of the Trumpamerica Flag:

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On Removing My Tweed Jacket at the Start of Lecture...

Observing Drought in California with Remote Sensing LP DAAC NASA Land Data Products and Services

A word about this peculiar costume—the closest thing you can get to goretex if all you have is a sheep—that I am now taking off...

Because of central heating, these male formal and semi-formal clothes aren't comfortable these days even in Oxford and Cambridge, England, where they were originally developed. They are really only comfortable in Scotland. That is well-and-good if you teach at the University of Edinburgh or in Glasgow—or, perhaps, in Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, or maybe in Washington or Oregon.

It used to be that these clothes were comfortable here in Berkeley. But, because of global warming, the climate here these days is a lot like what I remember Santa Barbara being like half a century ago when I was a child. When I got a job here at Berkeley in the mid-1990s, I looked forward to living in a place in which tweed jackets and such were comfortable both inside and out. The fact that these clothes were actually comfortable here was a factor—a small factor, but a factor. Increasingly, however, that is no longer the case. A problem resulting from global warming, albeit a small problem.

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Josh Marshall: We Know Trump Is Guilty. We’re Having a Hard Time Admitting It: "The greatest conceit in public life today is the notion that we don’t already know President Trump is guilty... of... conspiring... with a foreign power... and then continuing to cater to that foreign power either as payback for the assistance or out of fear of being exposed...

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Orange-Haired Baboons: Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads

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  • Just think: if the New York Times had been willing to play ball with Nate Silver, they could have things of this quality—rather than more of their standard politician-celebrity-gossip and "Javanka are going to save us all" that has done so much to empower the Orange-Haired Baboons of the world: Nathaniel Rakich: 538 Election Update: How Our House Forecast Compares With The Experts’ Ratings: "FiveThirtyEight’s forecast is a tad more bullish on Democrats’ chances overall than the three major handicappers...

  • Why are Fox News's victims so easily-grifted with respect to making them scared of liberal universities?: Jacob T. Levy: "I’ve made a lot of arguments in my life to people who didn’t want to hear them. I argued about sodomy laws and Bowers vs Hardwick with my grandmother when I was 15...

  • Michael Tomasky: Hail to the Chief: "It’s worth stepping back here to review quickly the steps by which the Republican Party became this stewpot of sycophants, courtesans, and obscurantists...

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Monday Smackdown: George Borjas P-Hacking His Way Along...

How George Borjas p-hacked his way to his conclusion that immigrants have big negative effects on native-worker wages: Jennifer Hunt and Michael Clemens: Refugees have little effect on native worker wages: "Card (1990) found that a large inflow of Cubans to Miami in 1980 did not affect native wages or unemployment...

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Following the pattern of the Bank of England, the United States's regional Federal Reserve Banks are quasi-governmental corporations with special charters, missions, and governance structures created by the central government. This provides them with an unusual degree of autonomy. For example, the Bank of England's charter strictly regulated the kinds of financial transactions it could undertake without going ultra vires. But the Bank of England did, repeatedly, engage in ultra vires actions. In fact, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would, not infrequently, write to the Governor of the Bank of England inviting him to and requesting that the Bank do so.

Somehow, in the summer of 2008, the systemically-important American investment bank of Lehman Brothers entered into a state in which it was grossly insolvent, albeit still liquid. Somehow, in the summer of 2008, the Federal Reserve failed to either to develop a plan to guide the successful conservation and resolution of Lehman Brothers should it also become insolvent or to immediately shut it down before the insolvency of this systemically-important financial income became large enough to threaten the stability of the system as a whole. So when Lehman did hit the wall in the fall of 2008, Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner dithered. That, I think, was the biggest policy mistake of the last decade.

Ryan Cooper has a very good candidate for the second biggest policy mistake of the past decade, however: Ryan Cooper: The biggest policy mistake of the last decade: "After the 2008 financial crisis, old-fashioned Keynesians offered a simple fix: Stimulate the economy. With idle capacity and unemployed workers, nations could restore economic production at essentially zero real cost. It helped the U.S. in the Great Depression and it could help the U.S. in the Great Recession too...

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Weekend Reading: Why the World Would Be Better with Weblogs: Daniel Kuehn on James Buchanan

Daniel Kuehn et al.: _Buchanan Was Not a Massive Resister. He Had All the Other Hallmarks of a "Moderate Segregationist", and of Course Supported Large Infusions of State Funds Into Segregated Private Schools to Avoid "Involuntary Integration": "There's a narrow sense in which you could fairly say it came from the 'political center' (keeping in mind-obviously-that the 'center' in 1950s Virginia was segregationist)...

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Socialism with German Nationalist Characteristics: Sheri Berman: Weekend Reading

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Weekend Reading/Hoisted from 2006: Socialism with German Nationalist Characteristics: "I was supposed to contribute to Crooked Timber's seminar http://crookedtimber.org/category/sheri-berman-seminar/ on Sheri Berman (2006), The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe's Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 0521521106). But it never happened: I never produced anything I was happy with.

So let me, instead, point you over to the ongoing debate and post my favorite passage...

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Rory McVeigh, David Cunningham, and Justin Farrell: Political Polarization as a Social Movement Outcome: 1960s Klan Activism and Its Enduring Impact on Political Realignment in Southern Counties, 1960 to 2000: "Short-term movement influence on voting outcomes can endure when orientations toward the movement disrupt social ties, embedding individuals within new discussion networks...

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How Likely Are the Great Plains Between the Rocky Foothills and the Missouri to Dry Up and Blow Away?

This is from Dodge City to Wichita, and from the western boundary of Oklahoma to Norman. And the Ogallala Aquifer is going. In the nest two generations—save for he oil patches—it now looks as though the Trans-Missouri plains between the Rocky Mountain foothills and the Missouri River are likely to dry up and blow away...: Comment of the Day: Graydon: Should Kansas's (and Missouri's) Future Be "a Lot More Like Texas"?:: "The Hundredth Meridian of descriptive meteorology has moved about 140 miles east since 1950. It looks more and more like we're getting a switch from tropical-temperate-arctic to tropical-not-tropical, and that the air circulation stops being east-west in reliable bands. This does allow us to explain the deserts of the Oligocene but it does nothing good for agriculture..."

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Wise to people who want to be journalists in our current age: (1) Don't expect backup from your peers. (2) rather, the reverse. (3) Falsehood comes faster than you can report it, let alone debunk it: Alexey Kovalev: A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media: "Congratulations, US media! You’ve just covered your first press conference of an authoritarian leader with a massive ego and a deep disdain for your trade and everything you hold dear. We in Russia have been doing it for 12 years now—with a short hiatus when our leader wasn’t technically our leader—so quite a few things during Donald Trump’s press conference rang a bell. Not just mine, in fact—read this excellent round-up in The Moscow Times..."

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Nick Stern is right: Discount rates are highly endogenous to scenarios—and go way, way down in true catastrophe scenarios in which insurance is not possible. Nick Stern is right: Societal discount rates cannot be read off of imperfect capital markets. Climate change studies that start from either the assumption of a pure positive real intertemporal discount rate or from financial market perfection are, I think, as close to worthless as anything on God's Green Earth: Nicholas Stern: Public economics as if time matters: Climate change and the dynamics of policy https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.03.006: "Subjects such as the dynamics of innovation, of potentially immense and destabilising risks, and of political economy, together with technicalities around non-linearities and dynamic increasing returns...

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In retrospect, this from the usually-reliable Karl Smith and Brandon Arnold looks really, really, really awful, no?

But they really should have known better: Anyone who goes the extra mile to give the version of Kevin Hassett on display these days the benefit of the doubt is likely to wind up naked on the Moon. That, I think, is the real lesson here—shading your thoughts to think more highly of Kevin these days either out of comity or because you think he is broadly on your policy side will put you in the same position as those who surrender their dignity to Donald Trump: Karl Smith and Brandon Arnold: Kevin Hassett’s Defense of Tax Reform is Right on Point: "The Tax Policy Center... had recently issued a report suggesting that the “Big Six” tax-reform proposal would add nearly $2.4 trillion to the budget deficit over the next ten years, raise taxes on many upper-middle class households, and slash taxes for the top 1 percent. Mr. Hassett was invited to respond to the report. His remarks were, unsurprisingly, unsparing. After all, the government’s top economist shouldn’t sit quietly while premature invectives are launched at the administration’s signature fiscal proposal...

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A spectacular catch by the highly-learned Adam Tooze, from his War in Germany, 1618-2018: Lecture 9: 1848 and the Impasse of Conservative Militarism in Prussia. The question here is: is Friedrich Engels threatening that the Angel of History will bring about the cultural elimination of the Slavic peoples of Greater Austria and Greater Hungary, or the physical elimination of the Slavic peoples of Greater Austria and Greater Hungary—"demographic replacement", either via exile or genocide?:

Adam Tooze: In February 1849 Frederick Engels wrote the following truly menacing lines for the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. Engels championed the [Magyar] revolution in Hungary against both the Czechs and the Russians...

...The Magyars are not yet defeated. But if they fall, they will fall gloriously, as the last heroes of the 1848 revolution, and only for a short time. Then for a time, the Slav counter-revolution will sweep down on the Austrian monarchy with all its barbarity, and the camarilla will see what sort of allies it has. But at the first victorious uprising of the French proletariat… the Austrian Germans and Magyars will be set free and wreak a bloody revenge on the Slav barbarians.

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Should Kansas's (and Missouri's) Future Be "a Lot More Like Texas"?: Hoisted from the Archives

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Hoisted from them Archives: Should Kansas's (and Missouri's) Future Be "a Lot More Like Texas"?: That is one of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback's constant applause lines—that he wants Kansas to be a lot less like California and a lot more like Texas.And so I was reading Bryan Burrough on Erica Grieder: ‘Big, Hot, Cheap and Right’: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas.... Burrough applaud's Erica Grieder's "counter[ing] much of this silliness" that "Texas is corrupt, callous, racist, theocratic, stupid, belligerent, and most of all, dangerous.” The problem is that three paragraphs later Burrough is writing of how:

Texas’s laissez-faire mix of weak government, low taxes and scant regulations is deeply rooted in its 1876 Constitution, which was an attempt to vehemently dismantle an oppressive post-Civil War government of Radical Reconstructionists…

What was most "oppressive" about the Radical Reconstructionists? It was, of course, that they thought African-Americans should vote, and enabled them to do so.

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Am I the only one who remembers journamalist Erica Grieder's carrying water for Texas Governor Greg Abbott's tinfoil hat fear of Operation Jade Helm?: "Greg Abbott’s announcement... that he would direct the Texas State Guard to monitor Operation Jade Helm... has been widely derided as political pandering, stoking paranoia, wasting state resources, and making Texas look silly. Way harsh, guys..." Bending over backward to claim tinfoil hat behavior is not tinfoil hat behavior is never "balance", guys: Cassandra Pollock and Alex Samuels: Hysteria Over Jade Helm Exercise in Texas Was Fueled by Russians, Former CIA Director Says: "Gov. Greg Abbott's decision in 2015 to ask the Texas State Guard to monitor a federal military exercise.... A former CIA director said Wednesday that the move emboldened Russians to next target elections...

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Weekend Reading: Judith Shklar: The LIberalism of Fear

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Judith Shklar (1989): The Liberalism of Fear: "The liberalism of fear... does not... offer a summum bonum... but it certainly does begin with a summum malum, which all of us know and would avoid if only we could. That evil is cruelty and the fear it inspires...

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As I often say, academic freedom is not "free speech". Universities are safe spaces for people to learn, for scholars to grow, and for ideas to be propounded and evaluated. You can argue—as Ernst Kantorowicz did, and as I more than half believe—that grownup full members of a university are their own sovereign judges of this propounding-and-evaluating business: that they are under an obligation to think as hard as they can and to argue fairly and fully for what they believe to be the truth, and that the sole sovereign judges of whether they have met this responsibility are their consciences day and their gods. And that makes it very, very important indeed to draw a clear line between those who can and those who cannot fulfill this responsibility: Dani Rodrik: No to Academic Normalization of Trump by Dani Rodrik: "Those who have served the current US president are necessarily tainted by the experience. While they should not be barred from speaking... they should be accorded none of the trappings of institutional esteem such as fellowships, named lectures, and keynote speeches...

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Ten Years Ago: A Federal Reserve Not Understanding the Situation at All

The Ahistorical Federal Reserve by J Bradford DeLong Project Syndicate

Occurrences in August 5, 2008, FOMC Meeting Transcript:

322: Inflation
029: Liquidity
029: Spreads
028: Unemployment
011: Crisis
001: Solvency
000: Minsky
000: Lehman
000: Bear-Stearns

A Federal Reserve looking in exactly the wrong direction ten years ago: Federal Reserve: FOMC Meeting Transcript: BERNANKE: "On inflation, I do have concerns, as everyone else does.... We will continue to see that high level of prices being passed through into the core...

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It is necessary to remember, every day, what Dan Froomkin reminds us of: THIS IS NOT NORMAL. This was a private cabinet meeting. Yes, there are always lots of leaks and lots of complaisant reporters who work for sources generating a cloud of misinformation in an attempt to seek personal advantage in the court that is the White House. But "our principal is an idiot" is a message that people in the White House rarely wish to send. But that is, as Dan Froomkin points out here, the message that the Whire House insiders are saying: Dan Froomkin: THIS IS NOT NORMAL: "In private FEMA remarks, Trump’s focus strays from hurricanes..."


Nikita Sergeyevitch Khrushchev to John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1963): "We and you ought not now to pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied the knot of war, because the more the two of us pull, the tighter that knot will be tied. And a moment may come when that knot will be tied so tight that even he who tied it will not have the strength to untie it, and then it will be necessary to cut that knot, and what that would mean is not for me to explain to you, because you yourself understand perfectly of what terrible forces our countries dispose..."

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(Early) Monday Smackdown: Bard College Has a Quality Control Problem Here: Roger Berkowitz Needs to Learn to Quote Fairly and Accurately

I think that almost every discussion about "cultural appropriation" should be, instead, a discussion about: "don't be a d-ck". Clarifies matters immeasurably.

The brilliant national treasure Roxane Gay is, in my opinion, 100% correct when she writes: "stay in your lane.... The great thing about writing is that you can develop new lanes through research, immersion and effort..." That is not "being a d-ck". But When I read these exchanges (and Jennifer Schuessler's piece), I think Jennifer, Nina, and Burleigh are all being d-cks—especially Roger Berkowitz, who I think is being a major a--hole here, and doing so while claiming to be the heir and channeler of Hannah Arendt:

Jennifer Schuessler: "I wrote about the controversy over @thenation ’s publication of a poem by a white poet using black vernacular, with a little bit on the long debate over what counts as literary 'blackface' (looking at you, Vachel Lindsay & John Berryman)..."

Nina Burleigh: "Probably shouldn't wade into this but, by @rgay 'stay in your lane' logic, every entitled male screenwriter-white or black-should be banned from writing female characters of any race. I'm actually all for that, but piling on to crush the career of a young poet? geez..."

Roxane Gay: "Well, Nina, this is the problem with journalists taking tweets out of context and using them in their articles, instead of asking people for a more fully fleshed out statement. My tweets are my opinions...

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(Early) Monday Smackdown: New York Magazine Has a Huge Quality Control Problem with Andrew Sullivan. It Needs to Fix It...

Clowns (ICP)

Quo usque tandem abutere, Newyorkmagina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos1 eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?Andrew Sullivan (2014-12-22): Excuse Me, Mr Coates: "Dish readers know how comfortable I found myself in that liberal tradition...

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Some of My Less Polite Thoughts from Aspen

Farmer and the Cowman

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