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I think Maximum Liberty gets it right in his comment:

"Trial lawyers do a combination of (a) and (c). They assume that the jury is a combination of people who do and don't agree with them. They try to open the minds of those who don't agree and close the minds of those who do.

Commercial deal negotiators do a combination of (a) and (b). They try to open the mind of those on the other side when negotiating with them, then try to open the minds on their own side to give themselves negotiating room. But they signal to the other side that they are facing someone doing (c) back in the home office."

Arnold has created a false trichotomy. First, he ignores combinations of the three choices which Max calls out as the norm of human behavior. I also do not believe that his three choices are collectively exhaustive. His use of opening and closing minds is ill-defined, creating a false dichotomy within the false trichotomy. Another false dichotomy is that people are either with you or against you.

He appears to suggest or imply that there is some threshold that people must be maintained or nudged over to achieve the speaker's objective. It could be better described as the management of people's expectations. Rather than a multiple choice question, I see this more like balancing a platform on top of a half-dome.

"His use of opening and closing minds is ill-defined, creating a false dichotomy within the false trichotomy."

This sounds right. Usually, it's more like a) people on your side, b) people on the 'other' side and c) people that can be persuaded but right now don't particularly care either way, and the biggest group d) people that don't and won't ever care

Thanks for this helpful post, I am really felling very great to read about that post. keep it up.

re #3 -- there are just too many damn blogs out there

Wait, *what* American health care libertarianism?

OHHHH, you mean the massive movement to phase out Medicare and Medicaid entirely! Totally forgot about those.


#5 I was amused to read we had Presidents who loved variously "Squirrel stew" and "Boar’s head"

1. Professor Kling just did c. His post was not designed to give credit to Brooks or Tyler. It was designed to elicit the reaction "Paul Krugman does c." This reaction is just what Professor Kling intended, and is so doing he wrote a c-type commentary.

(Brooks actually did lots of c's when he supported the Iraq war, but that is another story.)

Again, noone mentioned Paul Krugman.

That Carly Simon song was about Paul Krugman too.

See the first comment under Kling's post.

See your comment.

I know, and of course. I am talking about "why does PK automatically come to everyone's mind when anyone writes a post like that without even mentioning PK."

It automatically came to your mind, my mind, and the first commenter's mind over there. Why is that? Is it because Tyler and Arnold are masters of mind control? Or is it that when someone writes anything about unfair rhetoric PK now occupies that mindspace.

Here is my evidence - Tyler was writing about rhetorical magnanimity long before PK became the poster-child for the opposite. I rarely complain about PK except for his tendency, and when he stops doing that I'll leave him completely alone.

And also, while cynical I think you'll find I am being completely fair.

I don't think it is a personality trait. I think it is a deliberate strategy. And it works! The problem is exactly what Arnold says, it really does work, that's why Tyler Cowen and David Brooks(sic) are the only ones he can think of that do it. I think PK could stop any time he wanted, he doesn't want to because it works.

It's just funny when Arnold impunes everyone but two people you (and everyone else) automatically assumes he is accusing 1 person.

"that’s why Tyler Cowen and David Brooks(sic) are the only ones he can think of that do it. "

should be "that don't do it."

The fact that George W. Bush likes white bread should have been a clear warning of his lack of intellect. (I actually like the guy; it is his decision-making that I have a big problem with.)

If you are what you eat, then James Madison was a pickled egg

Nothing wrong with white bread, unless you think white bread means Wonder Bread...

Historically, white bread is an important innovation. Unethical bread producers used fillers, usually unhealthy ones like sawdust, that are not readily apparent in darker breads.

An interesting factoid about presidential menus is that presidents only get free food at official dinners and similar events. They have to pay for the everyday meals they and their families eat in the White House, and for that matter have to pay highly inflated prices.

Re: Gavyn Davies on the Euro Agreement:
It fails to deal with the fundamental problem of creating enough averge euro-zone inflation to allow debtor countries to adjust their wages and prices relative to those in lending countries by enought to run the surplusses needed to repay the debts -- if that is in fact what the lending countries want. (Germany has not taken measures to reduce its surplus vis a vis the rest of the euro zone, so who knows if they really do want to be repaid.) That amount of inflation will require a lot more money creation by ECB. The agreement does reduce the debts and so reduces the size of the related wage/price adjustment and so the amount of required inflation.

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