Wednesday assorted links

by on March 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Jeff R March 22, 2017 at 1:35 pm

#3: that’s the kinda guy you’d want as your lawyer, I’d think, if you were falsely accused.

#4: Would have been better if he’d stuck with the Austen style prose the whole way through, rather than just the first few paragraphs, but I suppose he has deadlines and all. I think the Straussian reading is that art by ideologues of any stripe is usually terrible. Good literature should be able to appeal to different people for different reasons, even if it means the dreaded alt-righters find something agreeable in it.

2 Joël March 22, 2017 at 1:43 pm

But it is not true that “art by ideologues of any stripe is usually terrible”. Something can be a very heavy propaganda medium and at the same time great art. This is particularly true in Cinema, cf. the films of Eisenstein (and many of the classical Hollywood films could enter in this category as well). In pure literature it is less easy to find good example, but
if we include philosophy Plato’s late dialogs are also (considered by many as) heavy propaganda (against Democracy, pro Sparta, etc.) and great art works.

But then I agree with your last sentence. Good literature and arts can be appreciated even by people who see in them an abhorrent ideology.

3 Joël March 22, 2017 at 1:35 pm

4 is a very good read, on an important subject concerning academia: not only Jane Austen, but the fact that many of the authors of the classical curriculum have a vision of the world that is very different from the ones proposed by academic liberals, and the several reactions of the academic left to this: denying the fact, or putting the classical authors away from view).

Douthat is a good replacement for David Brooks, who used to be great but has become progressively (almost always) very boring. As usual Douthat’s column is attacked very harshly by most of the NYT commenters.

4 Anonymous March 22, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Is it even real, or all an excuse for the Darcy and Wickham line?

We know which one wouild be more ill served by a tape recorder on a coach.

5 So Much For Subtlety March 22, 2017 at 7:55 pm

But I wonder which one would be more ill served by Twitter? Darcy’s tweets could be fun but he would probably be banned. Could Wickham maintain the facade of being a decent, ill-served man on Twitter over a length of time? I think not. He would be too busy tweeting like a drunken frat boy

Probably ending up on the Jerry Springer Show: Drunken Louts in Uniform and the Women Who Love Them

6 Barkley Rosser March 22, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Interesting. So, Noah pounds on a point I have been making in various places without any reply from you, Tyler, that people are more afraid than complacent, and that fear is not complacency. As Noah puts it, “complacency” sound more like “blithe optimism.” He says people, or at least millennials, are looking for safety and security. I do not think it is just a generaltional thing, and I agree with your disputing that point with him, Tyler. But lots of people are looking for safety and security, and his point that lots of risk has been shifted to individuals is completely correct and a reason for this fear. Looking at income volatility does not capture such things as people now retiring not having defined benefit plans. Nor does it capture the fear associated with large student debts, this problem clearly one more serious for millennials, however we define them (I have seen 1980 or even 1975 to 1995 as what defines them, most people in their late 30s think they are millennials).

I see that you admit that “lots of people are afraid,” but then you shift the complacency to being that “they do not respond urgently.” Well, Tyler, if you are afraid, just how are you supposed to “respond urgently”? Maybe hiding in your parent’s basement playing video games is an escape as you are afraid to do anything. Certainly if you define moving to another state or quitting a job you have as “responding urgently,” well, most of us think that this is not what fearful people are going to do. They are going to hang on hard to what they’ve got.

7 thfmr March 22, 2017 at 3:00 pm

“most people in their late 30s think they are millennials”

Dude, how out of touch are you?

8 Anonymous March 22, 2017 at 7:28 pm

It sounds like crowd psychology to me. The Economic Anxiety Index rose 20 percent from 2015 to 2016, and yet most economic metrics improved in that time. Unemployment fell. Wages grew.

It’s almost like repeating “Things are terrible, they’ve never been worse” can influence people more than raw facts.

9 Thiago Ribeiro March 22, 2017 at 1:42 pm

“that had George W. Bush only discovered his talent for painting earlier he might not have invaded Iraq”. If only the Houston Academy of Fine Arts had not rejected him…

10 Thomas March 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm

#3. It is unfortunate that ATL removed their comment section as a result of the criticism the writers received therein.

11 Artimus March 22, 2017 at 2:39 pm

#3. That doesn’t sound very complacent to me.

12 Troll me March 22, 2017 at 2:50 pm

3) See? Critical feedback is good.

The guy got a C. Then went and did better and got good ideas enacted.

13 carlospln March 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

James Tooley is a naive idiot.

He has no one to blame but himself.

14 So Much For Subtlety March 22, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Really? Anyone who gets locked up by a policewoman in search of a bribe only has themselves to blame?

This is odd coming from someone who thought that a thug who tried to grab a policeman’s gun after assaulting him was innocent.

15 carlospln March 22, 2017 at 11:30 pm

You’ll just have to connect the dots for yourself.

16 JWatts March 23, 2017 at 9:59 am

“James Tooley is a naive idiot. … He has no one to blame but himself.”

Really? He saved 15K pounds by not paying the bribe and obtained the source material to write a sympathetic story that reinforces his previous narrative. I’d say he was very clever.

17 Anonymous March 22, 2017 at 4:58 pm
18 Kieran McCarthy March 22, 2017 at 4:59 pm

#5 It would appear that a fair number of people are selling Trump short.

19 Viking March 22, 2017 at 5:42 pm

#1: Shows the failure of western governments, if countries were ranked, and once in a while, one got brutally recolonized, and corrupt officials and politicians humiliated, the incentives to be more civilized would exist. Right now we are rewarding bad behavior.

20 Viking March 22, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Also, the one interesting point that kept me reading was a curiosity about the resolution, that seems to be missing, unless I missed it while skimming the article. Is it clickbait for the book?

21 MMK March 22, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Haha, I reread the article 3 times trying to figure out wtf happened.

22 Viking March 22, 2017 at 7:37 pm

It seems like the bar has been lowered quite a bit in journalism, many articles that purports to make an argument is just incoherent ramblings that have limited connection with the headline.

23 So Much For Subtlety March 22, 2017 at 7:41 pm

Or at least their aid cut off. Britain is giving aid to India and India is sending missions to Mars.

Still, strike one for the Institutions Theory. India has substantially similar institutions to Britain. But they are run by South Asians not by British people. So academics get thrown in prison for no reason. Unlike the rest of the English speaking world where they get fired for no reason.

24 Kris March 23, 2017 at 5:07 am

Britain is giving aid to India and India is sending missions to Mars.

That’s an urban myth. It was raised during the Mars mission first. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now.

On a different topic, we Indians have made great strides in gender equality. Our female officials are proving to be as venal as our erstwhile patriarchy.

India has substantially similar institutions to Britain. But they are run by South Asians not by British people.

Sometimes you make good points, but otherwise you seem to be the resident apologist for European colonialism in MR. I would urge you to expand your horizons and read history that doesn’t present only what the British administrators in the Raj imagined they were achieving. A couple of recent books, by Jon Wilson and Shashi Tharoor (perhaps there are others too), make a comprehensive case for why the claims of the British rules of India were totally bogus. All they managed to do was establish a facade of efficiency at the top, while at the lower levels, basic administration was anarchic and justice was woefully lacking (with a very explicit racial code.) One example of injustice: Brits in India could literally murder their servants by kicking them and a European judge would throw out the case claiming that Indians had naturally weak bodies, so master couldn’t be blamed.

Our current institutions are in a bad state not because they are run by Indians instead of whites, but because our post-independence administrators continued in the same vein as their colonial predecessors had, perpetuating a despotic unaccountable bureaucracy on the masses. we need to thoroughly clean house, perhaps have a new constitutional convention, fire most of our civil servants and police, and start over. If there is a swamp to be drained anywhere, it’s in India.

It should go without saying that I sympathize deeply with the British professor’s plight. But as he also noted in the article, a lot of Indians suffer injustice much greater than he did. He was able to get away relatively easily because someone expected him to pay up. Lots of poor Indians remain incarcerated indefinitely.

25 Kris March 23, 2017 at 5:09 am

I should have said “claims of the British made of their rule in India” instead of “claims of the British rules of India.”

26 So Much For Subtlety March 23, 2017 at 7:47 am

An urban myth? You mean that India does not get aid from the UK? Because it does. Or do you mean that India did not send a probe to Mars?

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan (“Mars-craft”, from Sanskrit: मंगल mangala, “Mars” and यान yāna, “craft, vehicle”),[9][10] is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).[11][12][13][14] It is India’s first interplanetary mission[15] and ISRO has become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency.

I don’t need to apologize for European colonialism. The Portuguese condemn themselves and the British were obviously good for the world. As if I have not read many such books. Clearly the British did more than establish a facade of order. Look at the railway network. Look at the Tata group. It is true that the more Indians involved in the administration the worse it tended to be. The cases where a British person could kill a servant and get away with it are tiny and often well known. Entire British regiments were punished when they were suspected of a single death. Because the British were the first ruling class in India to care. So far the only. No one cares when powerful Indians kill today.

Good luck with thinking that luke warm Maoism will produce an improvement. I agree about the swamp but it is what happens when you replace British officials with Bengalis. As any number of Indians will tell you.

Saying that Indians are crueler to their own is an odd defense.

27 Ricardo March 23, 2017 at 10:49 am

It is interesting how all the rhetoric about the dangers of having unaccountable elites in government suddenly disappears when the topic shifts to whites ruling non-whites.

28 Kris March 23, 2017 at 12:16 pm

I was talking about aid. I’ll need to see proof that Britain offers India aid before I believe it.

The railway example is well-debunked in the books I mentioned, and in copious other older texts. The punch-line that Tharoor often gives is (I’m paraphrasing): virtually every country in the world managed to get railways without going to the trouble of getting conquered and colonized, so to point that as a benefit of British rule is laughable.

Your mention of Tata is more than laughable; it’s deeply offensive, not just to the man himself but to everyone who worked for his group and helped settle and grow the city he started (my family is among them.) The British government, far from offering any support, posed obstacles every step of the way. Finally, he was able to raise capital purely from Indian sources (appealing to their nationalism) and managed to start his company, a foundational pillar of Indian industry.

Please give an example of a British regiment getting punished. Also, if you want to contradict the research done by authors about Brits murdering their servants, you’ll need to provide data.

We care very much when powerful Indians kill. If we don’t prosecute them enough, it’s not because we don’t care but because our law-and-order system is ramshackle and venal.

Your entire comment shows that you are coming at this topic from an emotional/political point of view and you haven’t bothered to read much on this topic. You seem deeply invested in the notion that whites are inherently more capable than non-whites, and that they have been spreading goodness around the world for the past few centuries, like Johnny Appleseed.

Your unseriousness is indicated by your baseless “Maoist” shot. Not only did that come out of nowhere, it made the libertarian (I once used to be a Rand fan) in me gag.

Lastly, I wasn’t defending India. The institutions of my country (and society) need a serious overhaul. But when you stupidly try to paint the British Raj as somehow more competent, better, caring (use whatever terms you will), I’m going to push back because that (in the immortal words of your current President) is Fake News.

29 Troll me March 25, 2017 at 3:24 pm

India mostly does not accept foreign aid, most especially if there is any hint of conditionality.

Because they want to make their own decisions.

British aid to India is related to the fact that people give a shit about people, and (except definitely sometimes) should not be considered as related to the question of what ballistics and space exploration technologies India invests in.

Anyways, based on the cost of recent missions, someone must be practically handing them the designs.

30 Adam March 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm

About the Facebook session question about Effective Altruism, I think your answer conflates rationality with egoism. You can be rationally altruistic. I think your argument can be rescued by saying that if people are currently giving money for signaling or to impress their friends, it is better to let them keep doing that than to convince them it’s ineffective.

31 Tyler Fan March 22, 2017 at 10:52 pm

In a couple of his recent videos, Tyler’s been wearing some shirts that seem nicer than any off-the-rack shirts I’ve ever seen. Where does he get his shirts?

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