Emails I receive (the consumer surplus of the internet)

by on October 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm in Education, History, Religion | Permalink

…the origins of your name, off by a letter.


> Put the following text into google: freemason Cowan Tyler What is the result?

Interesting. “Tyler” is the title of an officer in the Masonic hierarchy, while a “cowan” is a stonemason who is not a member of the Freemasons guild. This from “Freemasonry for Dummies”:

The Tyler’s job is to keep off all “cowans and eavesdroppers” (for more on the Tyler, see Chapter 5). The term cowan is unusual and its origin is probably from a very old Anglo-Saxon word meaning “dog.” Cowan came to be a Scottish word used as a putdown to describe stonemasons who did not join the Freemasons guild, while the English used it to describe Masons who built rough stone walls without mortar and did not know the true secrets of Freemasonry.

1 Mark Thorson October 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm

And if we delve into the arcana of names and Freemasonry, we discover that the driving force behind it is really . . . Baphomet!

2 Baphomet October 4, 2012 at 6:59 am

You know too much.

3 Saturos October 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I’m Bapphled…

4 Silas Barta October 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Didn’t you say the consumer surplus of the internet was low because of some non-sequitur like “people don’t pay much for it” or “it doesn’t add to GDP”?

5 david October 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm

No, the argument is that producer surplus is low, save for a handful of superstars.

6 Saturos October 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm

The consumer surplus is extremely high, as people would be willing to pay heaps for it if they had to.

7 Wonks Anonymous October 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I sometimes read Tyler’s detractors write his name as “Cowan” or “Cohen”. I’m not sure if they were aware of the freemason angle though.

8 FredR October 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

More encouragement for Straussian readings of your blog?

9 Turkey Vulture October 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I’d rather be a Stonecutter.

10 Brian Donohue October 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Who made Steve Gutenberg a star?

11 Ranjit Suresh October 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm

So, wait: are you a Freemason or not?

12 g October 4, 2012 at 11:42 am

Clearly a poseur. The given name speaks to the parents hopes, while the family name reveals the truth.

13 Hoover October 4, 2012 at 3:14 am

Rough stone walls without mortar have their advantages and reasons for existing.

They’re not hedges, which struggle to survive after you reach a certain height above sea level where sheep often live.

They don’t require much dressing so you can put up a limestone wall quickly. Mortar doesn’t last long in rainy areas where the temperature often falls below freezing.

In conclusion, I’m for the cowans who build them. They are noble craftsmen practising an ancient skill.

However, I’m unsure about how they relate to the enclosure acts which saw 21% of English land enclosed. They might be a system demanded by the 1% elite who sought to remove hunting, grazing and foraging rights from the commons. They certainly became a much more visibble feature of the landscape as the nineteenth century progressed.

In conclusion, I’m against the cowans who build them. They are capitalist running-dogs crouched for employment at the feet of the aristocracy.

14 Ray Lopez October 4, 2012 at 4:27 am

I don’t know much about Freemasons (apparently they were anti-Nazi in Germany says Wikipedia, and that’s good) but TC should check out the Masons monument in Alexandria, the tall obelisk building. It has some very cool exhibits and open to the public. And perhaps there’s an economic reason for Freemasons? Weren’t some founders masons? Yes George Washington says Wikipedia.
–RL (the *original* RL!)

15 libert October 4, 2012 at 9:28 am

I went there once. Despite it being open to the public, I felt very unwelcome there because there are signs everywhere saying things like “No Trespassing”. Oddly enough, I also recall signs outside on the paths that run along the fields that read “No Running”.

16 Jim October 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm

“Cowan” is probably more likely just a reduced form of “McGowan”, the same way that “Gilpin” is a reduced form of MacAlpine. It’s pretty common with Irish and Scottish surnames.

17 Saturos October 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm

That’s really appropriate, because Tyler brings people together… so he is Tyler and Cowan.

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