Friday, February 13, 2015

Why are conservatives so enamored of Thomas Sowell?

This is from what I wrote on Quora in response to the question.

I have only read his later, awful, writing, but my impression is that his first 1 or 2 books were intelligent, and his 1980 Knowledge and Decisions very likely did a good job of popularizing Hayek's The Use of Information... or Von Mises Problem of Calculation in [socialist systems], and got him a lifetime position at the Hoover Institute.  It must have been a relief.  He got his Ph.D. in 1968 from U. Chicago under George Stiglitz, then (see wikipedia)  he taught economics at Howard University, Rutgers, Cornell, Brandeis University, Amherst College.  That's 12 years as a conservative black economist in the worst possible time in history to have done that.

His book publishing history goes like 1968 - (year of Ph.d.) - 1971 no writing; probably having a terrible struggle.
1972 a technical economics book.  1975 Race and Economics, probably an intelligent moderately conservative analysis.  1980 Knowledge and Decisions, as I mentioned, which won him the extremely prestigious place at the Hoover Institute.  From then to 2002 a book or two a year, including A Conflict of Visions -- very popular on the right today, which gives a totally out of date portrait of liberal (dreamers of human perfection) and conservative (pragmatists who understand human fallibility)  philosophies because today the right is much more dominated by (their kind of) dogmatic utopians than the left (esp. look at Clinton and Obama - Clinton way too much blowing in the wind, and Obama pragmatic and intimidated by economists maybe up to now).
From 2002-present about 2 books a year and popular articles every week.  I am sure Sowell was treated abominably by liberals esp. prior to his ascention to the Hoover Inst.  But at some point I suspect somebody started throwing lots of money at him to write right-wing hack books.  Read David Brock's Blinded by the Right:  1994 do hatchet job on Anita Hill; 1996 - offered nice advance to do hatchet job on Hillary Clinton, but halfway through becomes disillusioned with his current friends and writes a more nuanced book that fiinished him as a right wing hack writer.

I have mostly sampled his post-2002 work except for the 1987 Conflict of Visions and the already fairly vile The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy.  The late work as far as I can tell is pure pushing of right wing talking points from a bitter wounded liberal hater.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What I get for being on National Review mailing list

Title=my guess as to why this came to my mailbox.  I subscribe to  keep up with their foolishness.  Not only would Edmund Burke turn over in his grave, even Buckley would, I think.

From: MikeWard@thebusinessemailer.com
To: hal@panix.com
Subject: Federal Reserve insider warns of 70% stock market crash (shocking footage)

Dear Concerned American,

I develop systems for the CIA that detect imminent threats to our national security from terrorists, rival nations, and internal weaknesses lurking inside
our economy.

I'm stepping forward today because my team and I have uncovered a series of alarming signals that point to a fast-approaching, 70% stock market crash.

And we have begun to prepare for an unstoppable $100 trillion American meltdown that will be unleashed in its aftermath.

Unfortunately, our government has already enacted measures for this coming catastrophe as well. They call it "The Day After Plan."

Because our leaders have kept you in the dark about this dangerous situation, I'm going to release all of the evidence my team has gathered.

This way you can see it for yourself.

(Warning: This footage is shocking) - http://tinyurl.com/financial-collapse-is-imminent

I'm not asking you to believe me now. I realize what I'm talking about is very serious.

Which is why I strongly suggest you take a few moments to view this evidence.

And then ask yourself, "what if I'm right?"

Click here to see everything...

Stay Safe,

Jim Rickards
Financial Threat and Asymmetric Warfare Advisor

=====================================
Remove yourself from ProjectProphets - http://tinyurl.com/gobacktosleepameirca

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" never mentioned Lincoln, and Yet

From the "House Divided" speech  http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/house.htm

We can not absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert. But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen -- Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for instance -- and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few -- not omitting even scaffolding -- or, if a single piece be lacking, we can see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared to yet bring such piece in -- in such a case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first lick was struck.
 Stephen A. Douglas
 Franklin Pierce
 Roger Taine
 James Buchanan

Oh, the anti-Lincoln Mises Institute Anarcho-Capitalists will have fun with this

Friday, January 9, 2015

Obama To Disband the Marine Corps

You didn't know this, did you?

On a flight home I sat in between two individuals,  a Marine and boxing promoter.  The boxing guy was an older gentleman, and told interesting stories, such as meeting Don King.  Both men were very pleasant and that helped make time pass on the flight.  We were all combat veterans and all Southerners, so we had a lot in common.  Then the discussion, inevitably, turned to politics.

The older guy turned to the Marine and said "You know Obama is getting rid of the Marine Corps, right?"

The Marine was puzzled.  He hadn't heard this news.  Neither had I.  "Yeah, Eric Holder just had a meeting with the Joint Chiefs.  Obama is going to disband them by Executive Order."

Hooooo boy.  We are going to do this now, are we?  Putting aside for the moment why the head of the DOJ would be involved with restructuring a military department in the DoD, I said: "I don't think any president can just disband a branch of service.

                  quoting "SemDem" (Seminole Democrat) at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/01/01/1355083/-Obama-To-Disband-the-Marine-Corps

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Notes from around the web 2015-01-08

  “Why do we fuss about what the noumenal world gets up to in our absence anyway?”

From a fairly interesting ScientiaSalon Discussion of Philosophy of Physics
hosted by Massimo Pigliucci, author of


AND

Ways of Thinking About History, Take 2 (part 1?)

History and Systematization

I will always be enticed by the dream, of a grand system for discovering, from history, how to make a better world.

At the same time, nearly all experience tells me this is a foolish, often dangerous, chimera.

To systematize, seems to be an irrepressible urge, evident in many people, and a part of the design of human beings. This urge has given rise to religions, cults, literary salons, 'think tanks', universities, philosophical societies and their journals, those arrogant 'master narratives', grand unified field theories, scientific and historical conferences, and paranoid fantasies.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What to Make of Judith Curry?

Or   Watt's Up With Judith Curry?

This article is something of a "spin-off" of Global Warming and the Controversy: What is Scientific Consensus? Continental Drift as Example.

   A Common refrain of those who call global warming a hoax, is that mainstream climatologists are "calling an opposing scientist a 'denier', ostracizing him/her and ridiculing them".

 So what to make of Judith Curry, who while continuing to publish studies supporting the general trend of global warming, has done more to impugn the integrity of her colleagues, and encourage those who call them liars than most actual climate change deniers