Sorry!

Typepad is swallowing some of your comments as spam; I’m working to liberate them.  Our apologies, the problem should be cleared up soon and even right now most comments are getting through.  The bottom line is that there are far many more comments on Ron Paul (and the federal budget) than you might have thought.  I recommend that you read them all, especially the ones critical of me.

By the way I regard Obama as the most intellectual candidate; having been a law professor is part of that.  Of course that needn’t make him the best candidate; Woodrow Wilson was an intellectual but a disaster as President.  There is no doubt that Ron Paul is very widely read and is an admirable defender of individual liberty.  I’ve also met him and I believe his IQ is high.  But if you think that he is intellectual, ask yourself what standards of evidence and procedural rationality he applied when he wrote this.  Sorry people, but I have to call ’em as I see ’em.  As I said in my previous post, I’m still happy with the idea of protest votes for Paul.

And by the way, as long as I’m courting controversy, here’s a study on how much early environment shapes the brain and IQ.

Comments

Shouldn't most libertarians , in fact, be in favor of a North American Union (in the mold of the EU).

I know it would help the people of Michigan, Ohio, an upstate New York.

thehova: I think it is partly the question of forced integration vs. voluntary integration and partly the idea, that libertarians prefer no government, while these treaties basically create new inter-national governments (of certain aspects of our life).

Brussels' politics is the unholiest of politics, may we never descend so far.

Just wanted to post some links here that would be advisable to inspect:
Ron Paul on free trade: http://ronpaullibrary.org/topic.php?id=12
Ron Paul on national souvereighnity: http://ronpaullibrary.org/topic.php?id=4

thehova: The problem of these agreements is that they do not only facilitate free trade. They do many more things which are definitely objectionable. You can definitely be pro-free trade and against these agreements at the same time - because you are against the contents that have nothing to do with free trade.

You may ask yourself a question, why NAFTA document is thousands pages long instead of one small paragraph saying 'let's there be free trade.

It's the same with EU: actually, Estonia practically completely eliminated their tariffs in the 90's. Upon entering EU they enacted thousands and thousands of new tariffs and regulations. Calling this free-trade sounds rather orwellian in this context...

Andy, I agree with you that an organization like the EU should only concern itself with making trade easier.

And the EU showed some signs that it wanted to do more in the last decade. But the people have shot down such attempts. I can never see the EU growing into a larger entity (the United States of Europe). Europeans would never allow it.

Tyler, I feel you re: Paul; he gives me the creeps! He seems like a weird, conspiracy theorist--definitely not my choice for the spokesman of libertarianism! We need another Milton Friedman.

Also, re: Obama, I agree also, he seems intellectual, and he comes off as likable and a cool dude. Terrible reason to vote for someone though. Obama's rhetoric regarding economic policy has been pretty frightening.

It's all moot anyway, Paul isn't going to win the primaries, let alone the presidential election.

I have a difficult time accepting the man who drew a parallel between the "physical violence" that occurred at Virginia Tech and the "verbal violence" of Don Imus, as if there were some sort of equivalence between gunning down unarmed kids and using the phrase "nappy headed hos", as being in any way intellectual or even a serious person to any degree.

Then again, if you're saying that he's the most intellectual, relative to the other candidates--well, that's a different sort of argument I suppose. One that is rather more cynical of politicians in general than complimentary of Obama in particular.

Hey Tyler. I'm actually surprised that you're convinced that the massive amount of comments on your blog critical of Paul are anything more than spam-bots. This is a well-known phenomenon at this point.

As a thought experiment, imagine posting a blog critical of Clinton or Huckabee or Romney etc. Do you believe that you'd get the same number of comments? I highly doubt it.

T: After reading the comments, I would say, if anything, that TYPEPAD is not swallowing up ENOUGH of them as spam. Holy Crap!!

I think Michael Blowhard makes a good point.

From what I've read, the greatest/good presidents tended to not be intellectual.

I think Machiavelli wrote something on the subject. (I'm paraphrasing here) He argued that it's better for the prince to know how to lead instinctively rather than learn about leadership and apply principles (as an intellectual would).

Tyler, what do you think makes Obama either intellectual or at least more so than the other candidates? He is relatively quiet, reserved, and does not generally issue polemics. Some people take this sort of demeanor as an indication of wisdom or intellectualism. That's pretty shallow though.

He hasn't come up with particularly detailed plans. He doesn't seem to be a policy wonk. He skips votes on major issues. He is not a great orator. Nothing he has written sets him apart. He's just an affable guy who is young, handsome, and optimistic. How is he especially intellectual? What do you mean by saying he is intellectual and what standards do you use to evaluate how intellectual a particular individual is?

Hello Professor Cowen,

I'm a Canadian who reads your blog regularly, and in the spirit of full disclosure, a Ron Paul supporter. I'd just like to point out that here in Canada, we do not view the SPP as a conspiracy theory. The threats to sovereignty that Ron Paul accurately describes in the article are the subject of intense debate in our government ( http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=c6291848-5f41-4b72-831a-2e889cd6bb9 ), in our media and are actively protested (at the Montebello meeting this summer in Quebec: http://maritimes.indymedia.org/mail.php?id=17599 ). The provincial government of Alberta's official website has posted maps of integrated trade corridors including one labeled "NAFTA Superhighway" that coincidentally matches Ron Paul's quite closely ( http://www.infratrans.gov.ab.ca/2760.htm ) .

The SPP is not a conspiracy theory. It has serious implications for Canada's energy independence from the USA and poses significant threats to our political sovereignty. Ron Paul is the only American politician that is even discussing this issue, which has been the subject of raucous parliamentary committees here in Canada. The SPP is strongly opposed by the Council of Canadians, one of the oldest and most respected NGOs in Canada ( http://canadians.org/integratethis/backgrounders/guide/index.html ).

You would do well to research your points a little more, and provide a more substantive argument as to why Ron Paul is "anti-intellectual" and prone to conspiracy theories. This might require a little reading on politics outside of the mainstream American media. Might I suggest the mainstream Canadian media.

OK, sorry, I'll shut up now.

Robert Nozick took care to describe what he meant by "intellectual," particularly in the context in which he used it. It would help if all would do the same.

"Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?" which originally appeared in The Future of Private Enterprise, ed. Craig Aronoff et al. (Georgia State University Business Press, 1986) and is reprinted in Robert Nozick, Socratic Puzzles (Harvard University Press, 1997).

"Tyler, what do you think makes Obama either intellectual or at least more so than the other candidates?"

Graduating from Harvard Law and teaching at U Chicago Law does, to some degree, qualify one as being intellectual.

Does any other presidential candidate come across as more appealing to an intellectual out there? I don't think so.

Rather than crediting foster homes with *increasing* children's IQ, which sounds cosy and optimistic, it would probably be more biologically-accurate to say that the orphanages studied caused children significant and lasting brain damage.

I'd just like to point out that here in Canada, we do not view the SPP as a conspiracy theory.

T2, who in the world died and made you spokesperson for all of Canada?

The truth is, nearly all Canadians and nearly all Americans alike have never even heard of any such thing as the "SPP".

The SPP is strongly opposed by the Council of Canadians, one of the oldest and most respected NGOs in Canada

The self-named Council of Canadians is a partisan, stridently anti-free-trade (and arguably anti-American) lobbying group formed in 1985 to oppose the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement. Whether that's a good or bad thing depends on your individual point of view.

You would do well to research your points a little more [...] Might I suggest the mainstream Canadian media.

You can be condescending or you can be inaccurate. Pick one. You can't choose both.

Anyone who uses the Internet can read mainstream Canadian media if they care to, so misrepresenting your personal point of view isn't going to work. You might be right, you might be wrong, but you're not mainstream.


The provincial government of Alberta's official website has posted maps of integrated trade corridors including one labeled "NAFTA Superhighway" that coincidentally matches Ron Paul's quite closely ( http://www.infratrans.gov.ab.ca/2760.htm ) .

The highways portrayed on the Alberta website you link to are nothing more than the existing US Interstates 5, 15, 25, 29 and 35. Labeling Interstates 29 + 35 the "NAFTA Superhighway" is like calling the Internet the "Information Superhighway": a silly new name for existing infrastructure.

In the webpage Tyler links to, Ron Paul talks about using eminent domain to displace millions of people, demolishing homes and businesses to build a new highway wider than several football fields. The Alberta government website talks about... harmonizing trucking regulations.

Not to monopolize this space harping on one theme, but Canada has a smaller population than the state of California, distributed over a vastly wider area than California.

If it wasn't necessary to use eminent domain to demolish millions of homes to build a monster hyperhighway to California, why on Earth would some sinister conspiracy need to build one to Canada? What in the world do you imagine they're planning to ship up here? The entire state of Texas, lock stock and barrel, in one-acre chunks?

The Obama portrayed in his 1995 memoir is more of a literary artist than a wonkish public policy intellectual. His extreme sensitivity to his personal emotions reminded me of, say, Joan Didion or of a humorless Evelyn Waugh. He is certainly an interesting figure, although you wouldn't put him in charge of a Trident sub, that's for sure.

Also, some appeared to scoff at my comment that Obama graduated from Harvard Law and taught at U Chicago Law.

I honestly can't think of more impressive "intellectual" credentials of which a presidential candidate has had. Bill Clinton was brilliant. But he taught at U Arkansas Law, not U Chicago Law.

I'm an everyday reader of your blog and other George Mason blogs (Cafe Hayek, EconLog, etc.) Thank you all (including the commenters) for making economics so accessible and entertaining.

I agree the Ron Paul article you linked to was not an intellectual piece. Unfortunately, your phrasing suggests that it is anti-intellectual at best, irrational (kooky) at worst. Since the organizations and statements of fact are easily verifiable, doesn't the article qualify as an exercise in inductive reasoning with a clearly articulated goal of calling for greater congressional and media scrutiny? I can forgive Ron's 'unholy' rhetorical flourish if it means I can skip four years of Oprahma's intellectual audacity of hope.

P.S. Obama couldn't hold Harold Ford's jock! Too bad Harold didn't have an intellectual like Keyes running against him.

Charlie:

What do you mean by "spam-bot", exactly. I'm trying to figure out if I count. Does this mean I have achieved sentience? Have I passed the Turing test yet?

If you don't reply I'll just assume you are some kind of anti-ron-paul program that thoughtlessly posts on blogs.

True intellectuals are thosee who can think for themselves. They analyze data and come to their own conclusions. This is exactly the opposite of politicians who rely on ideology to find solutions to problems. Ideology is a poor substitute for critical thinking.

I am just voicing my support for Tyler's if anything too gentle critique of Ron Paul. I do respect Ron Paul for his integrity and sincerity. I do respect his principled stand on the Iraq war. I think his campaign is a doing more good than any other campaign. I also think he would be a terrible president.

I think the discussion needs some clarification of the term "intellectual." Based on what Tyler wrote, "what standards of evidence and procedural rationality he applied when he wrote this" it seems like he's using "intellectual" to mean someone with epistemically sound beliefs.

The leaps in Paul's claims about the ultimate goal of the SPP being common currency and such are definitely not epistemically sound. As for Obama, the study of law is very much rooted in the study of arguments and justifications (the basis for epistemically sound beliefs). It makes a lot of sense to point toward Obama's law degree and professorship as evidence of his being intellectual.

As someone who has done extensive research into the potential NAU, what Ron Paul is discussing is not fantasy, not conspiracy, and certainly not anti-intellectual. Mr. Cowen seems to reject that there are any forces at work that want an NAU (which is patently false), and therefore any discussion of it borders on lunacy. Ignoring facts is not the sign of a superior intellect.

I find it kind of ironic that the subheading of Marginal Revolution is "Small steps toward a much better world." That is exactly the way big changes that are generally opposed by the majority are put in place - incrementally. It's the way that rights are whittled away and the way the EU was formed - and it's what's happening now in the early stages of the move toward an NAU.

Keep in mind that the march to the EU started in the 1940s. Would it have been anti-intellectual to warn of an eventual common currency and loss of sovereignty for European countries? Whether one embraces or rejects the merits of an EU or NAU is beside the point. You are attacking Dr. Paul for offering his opinion on a process that is clearly under way.

After reading a few entries I'm struck by how poorly written this blog is. The author suggests that Ron Paul isn't an intellectual, but can't be bothered to define what it is to be one. He writes about Dr. Paul, "I've also met him and I believe his IQ is high." The Oxford American Dictionary defines an intellectual as, "a person possessing a highly developed intellect." What is a person of high IQ if not that? The author questions Dr. Paul's "standards of evidence and procedural rationality," but so do we all about someone with whom we disagree. Doubtless Rousseau was an intellectual, but I am not impressed with his standards of evidence or procedural rationality. Nor am I of Plato's. Nor of many other intellectuals.

This author's bloggings are sloppy and shallow. If he has a gripe with someone's belief he ought to counter it with a high standard of evidence and some procedural rationality. Opinions are like blogs: we all have one.

"T2, who in the world died and made you spokesperson for all of Canada?

The truth is, nearly all Canadians and nearly all Americans alike have never even heard of any such thing as the "SPP"."

hilarious. I guess you are the spokesperson for Canadians *and* Americans. Try watching the CBC, or reading the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, or any other major media outlet in Canada. The only people who haven't heard of the SPP are the SUN readership or the willfully ignorant solipsists.

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