Wednesday, January 13, 2010



* Steve Landsburg blows up Robert Gibbs on wind power. Now Landsburg accuses Krugman of being asleep at the wheel, but I hadn't heard Gibbs' comment, and I work for an energy think tank. So let's give Krugman a pass; he was too busy not apologizing to Jim Manzi.

* A nice compilation of Roderick Long's blog posts, filtered by theme.

* My former student Gennady has written up a bunch of study guides for actuarial exams. And you thought Bohm-Bawerk was dense material!

* GOP congressman wants to deport Iranians. If this administration weren't so politically correct, it would stop letting men into this country. I mean seriously, haven't the vast, overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks been committed by men? Let's profile I say!

* Jeff Hummel passes along the "definitive" history [.pdf] of the crisis in money market funds.

* David Friedman is either talking about private legal systems or starting an ethnic joke.

* This story (HT2LRC) defies commentary, though you can try in the comments. Bonus points if you can do it without vulgarity.

Steve Landsburg blows up Robert Gibbs on wind power.

Let me guess: "Gibbs says wind power would be cheap, but actually fossil fuels are cheaper, and who are you to question the market's valuation of these resources please ignore the fact that fossil fuel pollution is not factored into the price because that would require me to not be glib for more than five seconds".

Did I get it about right?
OH! Correct again!

Shouldn't you guys start to worry when your arguments are so predictable AND so invalid? Makes you want to think for a minute...
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"And you thought Bohm-Bawerk was dense material!"

Really? I always found econ math harder to understand than actuarial math. His exam, 4/C, was one of the "easier" ones.
Re. the deportation of Iranians:

Yeah Bob, that's appalling, completely agreed. But your subsequent comment on profiling is another good example that the difference between pro-market liberals and pro-state liberals is a lot less than both sides like to pretend.
"This story (HT2LRC) defies commentary, though you can try in the comments. Bonus points if you can do it without vulgarity."

OK, I'll try: stupid drunk woman shoves a cop, who over-reacts, but not nearly as much as some self-righteous libertarians, who spend all their time talking about everything except the real problems.

How's that sound?
I must be getting a huge audience, with so many critics who now are regular readers. Now if only I could figure out how to charge for this thing...
That cop story was absurd. First, if the bouncer was already escorting the women out of the club, what was the cop doing approaching the ladies in the first place? Second, she knocks his glasses off in drunken stupor, while he 'forces her to the ground' and handcuffs her, and she's the one who committed battery??? Third, what of the sister who was apparently kicking the cop while he was handcuffing the accused? Aaaarrgh.

Also, I would like to know what Uncle Sphincter classifies as a 'real problem' that he feels libertarians aren't addressing adequately.
Silas, what are you talking about???

Gibbs said that he anticipates domestic demand for alt. energy to increase. He then says that because of this, the US should start 'creating jobs' in these areas instead of importing these products from them for'ners. Now, I think Landsburg overreacted a little in this post, but he definitely did not say that 'fossil fuels are cheaper therefore wind power is stupid', as you seem to imply.

This post, of course, can be completely defenestrated if you were being sarcastic.
@Anonymous: Part of the reason it's cheaper to import the renewable tech is because all nations haven't adjusted for the environmental cost of fossil fuels. Landsburg's analysis implicitly assumes this cost is already accounted for (or makes a stupider assumption), and so is guilty of the fallacy I claimed.
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Police brutality is a real problem, but this situation is so trivial and the "victim" bears more than enough responsibility due to her stupid behavior (not to mention that the outcome is pretty comical), that for William Grigg (and implicitly Bob) to wax so indignantly over it suggests an inability to maintain any kind (let alone proper) focus. And that's a problem.

I might also add that Bob's willingness to appear stupid in his criticism of profiling is also a serious problem.

You want a list of problems libertarians should confront? Anything supported by liberals. By accepting liberal presuppositions but disputing only means, that makes libertarians like Bob part of the problem.
Silas, I still don't get it. To me, Landsburg was saying "Gibbs is stupid because he didn't take into effect comparative advantage". Could you explain why I'm wrong and he's actually saying 'Gibbs is stupid because he didn't take into effect that markets are efficient thus all prices are perfect therefore we don't need wind energy because fossil fuels are great.'

So you're saying if the costs of pollution were factored in, importing renewable tech would be relatively more expensive. Assuming this is true, it's completely besides the point of (what I take to be) Landsy's argument: that comparative advantage exists, and it should be taken advantage of.

Uncy Sphinc,
Regarding your point about Grigg (and Bob) not having focus: the overall theme of the "Lew Rockwell-Ron Paul" brand of libertarianism is that the government is a terrible institution that has many problems, and it seems to me that they viewed this instance as an example of this theme. (A year's probation and anger management for getting drunk and uppity? Really?) If you don't agree with their valuation of justice, fine. But don't say that they lack focus.

On your second point of Bob "appearing stupid"--I don't know what you're talking about. Bob reduced the profiling argument down to its ridiculous conclusions. He was being facetious.

And you can't possibly be serious on your last point. There are endless examples of "Bob-type" libertarians attacking liberal presuppositions on the Mises blog alone. You can even google "Robert P. Murphy Paul Krugman" and see what comes up.
Since there is some confusion: That story struck me as absurd because a cop was whining about a girl beating him up. Can you possibly imagine if one of your friends, say, went to the employer of a girl who bumped him at a club, and made her apologize to him publicly?

Would you be thinking, "Man that girl is vicious!" or would you be thinking...well this is why I asked for no vulgarity.
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