I enjoyed this post

by on April 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm in Philosophy | Permalink

But there’s a good-versus-evil story just below my surface, pitting reasonable, constructive, iconoclastic people who agree with me against the benighted masses and their emotional, whiny, conventional intellectual apologists.

Here is more, from BC, interesting throughout.  It starts with this:

I’m a libertarian, a natalist, an atheist, a credentialist, an economist, an optimist, a behavioral economist, an elitist, a public choicer, a dualist, a Szaszian, a moral realist, an anti-communist, a pacifist, a hereditarian, a Masonomist, a moral intuitionist, a free-market Keynesian, a deontologist, a modal realist, a Huemerian, a Darwinian, the other kind of libertarian (=a believer in free will), and much more.  I could spend hours adding additional labels to the list.

Andrew' April 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Ha! My first thought was “you could just simplify it by saying “I’m not a libertarian, just like WW” and then clicked to see it is BC referring to WW.

Wonks Anonymous April 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

BC is an anarcho-capitalist, and differs from WW (who used to complain about “libertarian democraphobia”) in quite a number of ways.

I think Caplan has so many layers to his identity that they can’t all be salient enough to independently have large effects. So he might be down some IQ points, but not nearly as many as would be predicted by his shear number of identities.

Ted Craig April 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm
kiwi dave April 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Classy. I think the headline says more about B. de L than it does about Caplan (and I say this as someone who disagrees with Caplan on many things).

NAME REDACTED April 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

“How long ago was it that people at the Cato Institute were mourning the possession of the franchise by XX chromosomed persons”

At what point will we stop paying attention to this troll?

RJ April 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Why does anybody pay the slightest attention to Brad DeLong’s insane rants?

Richard Hook April 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

modal realism is weird.

Amasa Amos April 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I wonder how many of those views are actually compatible with each other.

Adrian Ratnapala April 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I only understood about 50% of the terms, but those were

A) Apparently compatible with one another.

B) My own view.

Given (B), you should probably be skeptical about (A), but that’s my two bob none the less.

Dan in Euroland April 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Labeling yourself is a very bad idea. Identity uber alles, hence its best to keep your identity small.

John Gee April 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I think giving yourself a label as a means of political group identification usually means taking part in epistemically unsound social processes (as well as morally unsound ones, which is Wilkinson’s main point). However, accepting that you hold a defined/labeled intellectual position for the purposes of argument usually does the opposite, ceteris paribus. So I think Caplan and Wilkinson are talking about conceptually different things that nonetheless have significant overlap in practice. If we could separate them, that would be one step toward liberal deliberative democratic utopia. Otherwise, it’s unclear which sacrifices we will have to make on one side to claim the benefits of the other.

Bill April 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Ask yourself an honest question:

Who cares.

Bill April 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

He could have added to the long list of self-identification: I am a narcissist.

Ted Craig April 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Do you mean who cares what labels were put on you? Or that you put on yourself?

Mark Thorson April 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Ted cares.

Ted Craig April 10, 2012 at 6:11 am

Actually, I posted my question at the same time Bill posted his clarification.

Kopfschlaeger April 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm

ONE assertions stuns me, given the obvious intelligence of the asserter: That what one wills is uncaused — i.e. free will. The evidence is piling up the other way from psychological and brain studies; the idea of an uncaused decision — caused only by the occasion for decision itself and not by anything built into the decider as it reacts to incentives and disincentives — is surprising, coming out of the head of an economist.

Urso April 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Labels are fine when you treat them as merely descriptive. “I believe 1, 2, 3, therefore I must be a Republican.” They become problematic when you treat them as prescriptive. “Since I am a Republican, I must also believe 4, 5, 6.”

Of course I’m as guilty of this as anyone else.

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