Saturday assorted links


'Scott Sumner argues people do not hate inflation.'

And since he refers to Japan, it will be really noteworthy when Germans elect someone to office on a platform of higher inflation.

#6 Is that what America has become? A country where "the university considered the emotional and pragmatic responsibilities of marriage a grave threat to academic discipline".

That was seventy-five years ago.

Is that what America had become? A country where “the university considered the emotional and pragmatic responsibilities of marriage a grave threat to academic discipline”?

1. is outstanding.

2. is very good

3a. is great. Kevin Erdmann brings up William Jennings Bryan, a populist who understood inflation.

@BD - why was #1 outstanding? Why was #2 very good? Who are you, the curator of the internet? We read this blog because TC tells us what is outstanding and what is dreg, not you, sorry. #3a - was typical Sumner strawman. Somehow about "never reason from a price change" and "Did voters prefer the economy of 2006 or 2009?". The first goes to shifting AS or AD curves (apparently the first is good, the second is bad), the second is some sort of 'obvious' point using a question that's not obvious. Isn't it obvious why Sumner does this? As for William Jennings Bryan, he was the "Trump" of his time in that he was a consummate orator who did not really believe in anything he was talking about. The fight over inflation back then was a fight over city slicker vs aggrieved farmer, using the gold/silver standard as a proxy for this, not about the quantity theory of money (remember, money is largely neutral).

Great, now Ray Lopez's idiocy comes in the long unbroken unreadable prose style of rayward. The Rays are converging.

mskngs, surely you know that abuse is not a logical argument

Of course, I wasn't making a logical argument. I was having fun, same as Ray.

#2 was some great signaling. I really want to invite that amazing person to my cocktail parties. I'm sure he'll say the right things all of the time!

Again with the cocktail parties LOL. Like Tyler just swans around DC sipping highballs in his tails and spats.

5. Straw man.

As a liberal, I use allegory all the time.

Imagine a robot that can build anything, including robots. Anyone buying such a robot starts out replacing workers by tasking the one robot purchased to build another robot after another robot, and then tasks each new robot to replace workers. The first mover, or most aggressive at using the cash from not paying workers to buy out others who own robots, eventually leading to only a few people own robots that have replaced all workers, pricing everything a penny under the price of any human produced good or service.

The end point is no more workers are ever paid to work. Robots produce everything.

Gdp falls to zero. Either everything robots produce and do is free.

Or government owns all the robots and gives each person cash to buy goods and services from robots priced based on government shaping consumption desire. In this case, gdp can grow 100% per year by simply doubling the cash given equally to each person each year, and continuously raising prices to punish not spending the cash quickly.

Replace robots with lower wage workers, slaves, etc.

Economies are zero sum.

Replacing middle class workers with low wage workers, slaves, robots, etc, and gdp must fall, unless government gives lots of people cash to prop up or increase gdp.


It’s an empirical fact that economies aren’t zero-sum.

I’m having a hard time determining what this comment is. Satire/parody? Sarcasm? Sincere sarcasm?

It's just the mulp being the mulp

So, aggregate wages can be far greater than gdp in the long run?

Or, total consumer spending, thus gdp, can be far greater than aggregate income from all sources in the long run?

"Economies are zero sum."

Wow, hope you are still in school, because this is patently absurd to anyone with an IQ over 80.

Prove gdp can exceed total consumer income in the long run.

Prove total consumer income can exceed gdp in the long run.

If you can, you have proved the economic equivalent of perpetual motion, the perpetual free lunch.

The key to your conundrum is that while GDP = income more or less, it's not just CONSUMER income. There are plenty more things counted in GDP than final sales to consumers.

If economies are zero sum, I'd better put down my imaginary phone, return to my stick hut, and go back to my subsistence living. Winter is coming!

2. More signaling from Tyler.

I just want to pat Kevin Williamson on the head and tell him look here little guy no matter how much you rage against poor people your degree from UT isnt turning into an Ivy League diploma. You will never be Ross Douthat just be yourself.

Someone with three step fathers doesn't really have the emotional distance from the issue to really add anything perceptive. Williamson was basically broken psychologically by his up bringing.

The American left, ladies and gentlemen!!

I'm actually a moderate with conservative leanings. I just find Willamson's mein of superiority unbearable considering his background.

Yeah, Mr. Haysom is right. Williamson is a worm.

Funny, two paragraphs but not a single sentence of substantive criticism of his ideas.

Funny there weren't any ideas to critique. Someone melting down in print about how much they hate their mom doesn't deserve much rigor.

Yeah, again Sam has it pinned down here.


Your replies have been solid gold on this thread.

Ad-hominem attacks aren't ideas, which was really all the article was. I guess if his main thesis is that his family are White trash, yes, that's an idea I can get behind.

Williamson is a brilliant writer and his perspective always teaches me something. But since the election he - and the National Review in general - have adopted a tone of distaste for the rebellion in the GOP that is sometimes correct, but more often irrelevant to the larger problem.

Trump is vulgar, undisciplined and narcisstic. His personality is often grotesque. But - and this is a monumental but - his election uncovered a shocking subversion of government by the Democrats. From the IRS to the NSA unmasking, corrupted FBI, ginned-up collusion and now appalling revelations about the uranium pay to play, the American government was and is being riddled below the water line.

Enough American people had the good sense to dislike the Clintons and put a stop to it.

To criticize these same Americans for lacking certain sensibilities is like complaining someone refused to remove their shoes in a house that’s on fire.



Or, "vulgar, undisciplined and narcisstic" Trump has tricked you into distrusting honorable men.

It is the Big Lie in action, pulled off in plain sight by a record breaking liar.

It turns out that these "honorable men" have been doing things like lying to Congress and the American public. They refused to do their job by exonerating the incredibly guilty Hillary Clinton before even investigating her.

Honorable? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

They refused to do their job by exonerating the incredibly guilty Hillary Clinton before even investigating her.


Everyone, including honorable men, must make a call now and then about what crosses a line.

It is entirely possible that "improper but not illegal" was the right call.

Clinton's use of a private email *server* to conduct government business, including transferring classified material that was cut-and-paste out of a classified system that was *designed* to prevent information from being transferred out of it... goes WAY, WAY, beyond "improper".
Moreover, her claimed motivations for going to such amazing lengths to keep her work related emails from being archived in the public records system (it was convenient - REALLY??? It's convenient to set up a private server to do an end run around the State Department's security, just cause you're addicted to your blackberry?) raises suspicions that demand a thorough investigation. If it bothers you that people don't trust the establishment, your job is to PROVE that all those people are honorable by seriously addressing people's legitimate concerns. Not just dismissing it all as a "fake scandel".

There are endless rolls of amateurs who assert they know more about law and culpability than the FBI, but why should I believe them?

Occam's razor runs the other way.

You're entitled to believe whatever you want. Just don't expect people who don't trust Democrats to take a Democratic party controlled FBI's word for it that what she did was merely "improper".

Once upon a time, there were rules which barred certain activities purely to prevent the *appearance* of impropriety. You don't just want your administration to not be corrupt - you want to make sure there's no way it can even APPEAR to be corrupt.

Re: But – and this is a monumental but – his election uncovered a shocking subversion of government by the Democrats.

Someone is a Breitbart (or maybe Infowars) junkie.

Imagine, just imagine if that screed had been published about some other race. There would be calls for his head. If he was invited to speak at a university there would be a literal riot. The left would murder him, record it, play the murder on YouTube, and profit from the entire affair.

More amazing, there are millions of people who would cheer at this drivel. Millions.

This is the end result of the corruption of our universities.

2 is a marvelous integration of current trends. Where have we seen the things listed below? Right here at MR, by the same folks who will insist on this page that Tyler is catering to a liberal intelligentsia (because as Williamson notes, for them there is no light between intellectual and liberal)

There is some ordinary partisanship in that, inasmuch as the Democrats tend to dominate the big cities and the coastal metropolitan aggregations, but it isn’t just that. Conservatives are cheering for the failure of California and slightly nonplussed that New York City still refuses to regress into being an unlivable hellhole in spite of the best efforts of its batty Sandinista mayor. Not long ago, to be a conservative on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was the most ordinary thing in the world. Now that address would be a source of suspicion. God help you if you should ever attend a cocktail party in Georgetown, the favorite dumb trope of conservative talk-radio hosts.

" Conservatives are cheering for the failure of California"

Well, yeah. Just like they were happy about the failure of the Soviet Union. Much of the fly-over country resents the fact that the meddlesome California legislature has the power, through the size of the population it represents and its political makeup, to make the undemocratic rules for the rest of the country.

If you want to ground that in more than right wing paranoia, explain why you classify an economy far right of Denmark as something like a gulag filled dystopia instead.

California has more regulation than Denmark and possibly higher taxes.

Nope. Try a little legwork next time.

But then one reason you might post comments like that to MR is to signal your inclusion in the very group Williamson describes.

>” Conservatives are cheering for the failure of California”

And Liberals are cheering for the failure of the USA.

Your point?

Actually liberals have the "America is already great" position these days. Some might call that a role reversal, but MAGA left that position open.

Right. CNN, WaPo and NYT are always blasting out opinions about how great America already is!

Jim, sure there's a fringe element like Black Bloc that want it to fail, but most liberals just want it to get better for them - just like your side does.

Chuck, the idea the the United States would be better off if California failed is laughably idiotic.

"Conservatives are cheering for the failure of California and slightly nonplussed that New York City still refuses to regress into being an unlivable hellhole in spite of the best efforts of its batty Sandinista mayor."

Why wouldn't one root for the failure of policies one opposes? I don't think liberals were rooting for Scott Walker's union reforms to work. Williamson himself wrote a book entitled "The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome," back when his persona was as a libertarian, so he can't point the finger at others for their schadenfreude.

Do you identify as a libertarian? Because I would say that Williamson's persona is almost a perfect example of the libertarian id. Williamson's lack of polish and mild asbergers means he doesn't understand the parts of libertarianism that are supposed to go unsaid (only rich people matter, poor people suck, rural people are all hicks).

I would say I'm a moderate reactionary. Williamson's writings rarely extend to more than ad-hominem strawmans, so I'm not sure what to call him. Comparing him to people with aspergers would be unfair to the spergs.

"only rich people matter, poor people suck, rural people are all hicks"

Said proudly by people who are clueless about libertarianism.

I think the contradiction comes when people either defend failure or when they decry success.

California GDP is $2.448 trillion (2015)

Unemployment rate is 4.8% (Apr 2017)

Hating success is not like criticizing mismanagement.

And what one considers to be success or failure comes largely down to partisan considerations, as the difference between "criticism" and "hate." See:

UK GDP is 2.619 trillion.

Unemployment rate is 4.5%

Yet the leftists are eager to celebrate the supposed failure, sorry, "criticize the policies" of the UK after Brexit.

I love that example!!!

If California voted to abandon free trade with the rest of the USA, to take a hit in GDP for increased state identity, independence, would you approve?

Or have you put yourself on the wrong side of growth, favoring a less productive identity!

Of course I would approve Mexifornia seceding.

"Or have you put yourself on the wrong side of growth, favoring a less productive identity!"

Assertions that can be made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, thus, I dismiss your anti-Brexit argument.

Tyler now and then repeats a "GDP is happiness" argument. I am not that extreme, declining returns etc, but I think we have to admit less GDP is more likely less happiness than more.

And so the data, the economics, the correlation to national happiness says no to Brexit.

Frankly the anti-intellectual populism doesn't seem to seek wealth or happiness very much. One theme of the Williamson essay. Some people seem to enjoy being miserable.

"And so the data, the economics, the correlation to national happiness says no to Brexit."

Again, you've provided no evidence for that assertion. Put up or shut up.

Come on man, all writings at MR about Brexit have talked about a GDP hit.

You can quibble about details but I don't think anyone has made a case that Brexit will increase British GDP. It is all about whether the hit will be big or small.

From your link:

"Scott Sumner has a very good post on that question, noting that UK gdp growth has been robust "

Yes, it later talks about a possible GDP hit. Predictions are hard, especially about the future. Standard economic theory indicates if there is to be a very bad event in two years, the effect should be felt now, which was indeed what Tyler and his fellow anti-Brexiteers predicted. Thus the head-scratching in that post.


You play that game where you come out hard, and just agree with me by the end.

For what it's worth, the primary mechanism I see for GDP loss is business uncertainty. Many activities now easy under the EU are open questions after. How do you sell Stilton in Italy? Will London banks be able to act under EU regs? Will they need a new continental front office? Even if these things shake out as no change, it will take time and business will slow.

"You play that game where you come out hard, and just agree with me by the end."

Not sure if you're disingenuous or stupid, my point was that Brexit won't be a terrible event when it occurs in 2 years. If you think it will be, explain why the market isn't affected now. Bottom line: you have no evidence for your assertions, just the idle speculations of people whose speculations about the issue have proven wrong before. Sad!

Kevin, Brexit isn't an operating reality yet.

Be aware of your game. You don't boldly stake out that a real Brexit will not hit GDP.

You just make the very weak claim that under some theories of the markets we(*) might, only might, be wrong about the future.

* - Most economists still pessimistic about effects of Brexit

"You just make the very weak claim that under some theories of the markets"

It's called the standard theory of the market, dumbass. Information about the future is accounted for in market prices. If you think you can beat the market, I dare you to bet against it. Get paid, son.

"we(*) might, only might, be wrong about the future."

Yeah, you might, only might, be wrong about the future. I am no time traveler, unlike yourself, with your 100% certainty and proven ability to beat the market.


I love how you guys skip the last few Nobels (Kahneman 2002, Shiller 2013, Thaler 2017) and then try to make it my problem.

(If you listen to recent Fama interviews he doesn't even have the hard EMH you describe in 2017. "The price is right" is dead.)

The U.K. is doing fine, but that does not mean it always will. A punitive trade-war stance against the U.K. taken by the EU could hurt plenty. As far as I am concerned, the U.K. is welcome to join NAFTA but try getting that past Trump.

@Kevin E.

The explanation is pretty simple. Most business and finance people don't believe Brexit will come to pass. That is at least the anecdotal evidence I have collected doing business in Europe. They think the politicians are posturing but at the end of the day Brexit will either not happen, or be watered down enough to be fairly meaningless. Most global finance professionals can't really wrap their heads around nationalism. The idea that millions of English people would willingly accept financial sacrifice just to keep immigrants out and preserve a cultural and ethnic identity is so alien to them that they refuse to believe it.

California benefits from remarkable economic inertia and network effects. The entertainment and tech industries emerged when the state was a free market paradise, and continue to thrive because they’re mostly immune to local governance (how much Apple profit is kept overseas).

Outside these wealth generators, California is a mess. Forbes recently listed it 43rd among states for business costs and 45th for regulatory hurdles. It ranks near bottom in education despite spending among the most.

It ranks 45th for income inequality as the middle class leaves, poor illegals arrive and the tech and entertainment titans get richer.

Despite a growing mountain of $1.3 trillion in state and local debt, California spends among the least on infrastructure.

California succeeds where its government has little control, and fails where it does have control.

I remember the first time Jerry Brown was Governor. Hard to say this is a sudden left swing.

GDP growth rank 20. Not the best, better than average. Hardly a failure to decry.

16th in health,,20971898,00.html#16-california-0

4th in life expectancy

4th in happiness

And unless something changed last year, it's lost Americans on net for 17 straight years

I considered it, cashing in to live in a resort town. My buddy who left California for Park City has it pretty good.

No idea how you separate that from people moving to Houston for jobs.

"GDP growth rank 20. Not the best, better than average. Hardly a failure to decry."

Only if you're talking about total rather than per capita growth, at per capita it's 35th.

You could say of any state: Apart from its chief wealth-generating industries it's a mess."

And Cali has the highest poverty rate in US-after cost of living adjustment

More should be done for the poor central valleys, but the poor live there because they don't actually have a high living expense.

A statewide average is kind of a crap measure for such a large and varied state.

"Why wouldn’t one root for the failure of policies one opposes?"

Because that makes one an ideologue. If a policy one opposes turns out to be successful, the rational person revises their opinion of said policy.
If we accept that it's normal for conservatives to want the failure of the policies that govern 10% of the population of the country, then we have to seriously consider whether American national identity has completely failed.

NRO, unlike the libertardians or the Weekly Standard crew, refuse to actually acknowledge disagreement with the populist right on immigration or any other issue, Jonah Goldberg's even described it as an "immigration restrictionist" publication, as laughable as that is. Thus, their recent shtick is to simply ignore the immigration issue, pretending the Conservative civil war is based on resentment at them because they are "elite." Which is ridiculous, they are the farthest thing from the "elite" and they know it too.

Or to pretend that they are such delicate wallflowers of sensibility that trump's manners offend them. Meanwhile their founder went around acting like an ahole and alienating everyone he worked for more than five years with. I mean Buckley was the quinessential contrived bad boy. He wrote a book supporting McCarthy and vigorously supported Jim Crow for goodness sake.

Oh please. Buckley was an actual conservative and a thinker. Trump is just a charlatan and a huckster has been since the 1980s. How anyone older than 40 can take Trump seriously as the leader of a conservative political party boggles the mind. It is not Trump's politics that are the problem, it is that he is a transparent fraud in the great American tradition of Barnum, Ponzi and Madoff.

2. Why, in an otherwise heartfelt essay, does Williamson find it necessary to take pot shots at (of all people) Bruce Springstein, John Mellencamp, and Elizabeth Bruenig? Okay, I get Springstein and Mellencamp, white liberals who claim to speak for the white working class. But why Elizabeth Bruenig? Who is Elizabeth Bruenig, you ask? She is an editor at the WP who writes on Christian ethics. I find it difficult for anyone to dislike Ms. Bruenig. Indeed, I suspect Williamson doesn't like her better known husband, Matt Bruenig, who might be described as a provocative liberal. Since I've described Williamson's essay as heartfelt, how about this heartfelt piece by Ms. Bruenig:

That's a good story, thank you. Nice quote: "I don’t have any more faith, I told him. ... But you’re here, he said."

Why don't high school students read fiction based on the conception of the country? And nonfiction based on the inception of the country?

I found the piece much too slow to finish. It seemed to say that Trump is an oaf elected by oafs. But surely he is an oaf elected, in part, by people who preferred that oaf to the treacherous racketeer Mrs Clinton. As I would have done had I been American. "Hold your nose and vote for Trump" was my recommendation. Usually you just have to select the lesser evil.

Agree he's a cuck but where's your source for that story?

#1 - Robin Hanson on Posner and Weyl, property and monopoly. - this Hanson piece was poorly worded, it could have benefited from examples. From what I understood, if a little old lady thinks her property is "priceless" and puts a value of $1 trillion to sell it, she would pay property taxes on $1 trillion? If a professional real estate flipper put the price of the house he just bought and renovated at a 33% premium to his cost, and a buyer buys it for the premium, the flipper is happy since he moves on to his next project at the cost of having a traditional neighborhood. Horrible for neighborhood continuity. Plus, what if somebody recants their estimate? Do they get a rebate? Conversely, what if somebody constantly puts $1 for the value of their home, and then recants at the closing of any proposed sale, do they simply pay a penalty? And what is that penalty? The assessed value of the house by a professional real estate assessor? If so, that's essentially no different from how property tax is assessed today.

Bonus trivia: how is the crowd-sourced prediction market that Hanson is affiliated with working? I'd like to see it perfected so gambling on chess can occur, in an anonymous and semi-legal manner, promoting the same.

The little old lady is just wrong to think her property priceless, and she'd quickly learn otherwise in such a system.

We'll show her!

Thanks Dr. Hanson for that input. And if you know little old ladies, you can imagine how politically implausible Posner and Weyl's scheme is; much more 'humane' just to get a city to condemn a holdout little old lady's property using Kelo v City of New London and hand it over to a well-connected developer (it happened to us in the Arlington metro corridor a few years ago). You do get an above market price since most cities want to avoid litigation over what is fair market value. Little old ladies do not like to move unless forced to, even if there are clearly better places for them; they are almost mentally ill in that regard; as Robert Moses knew.

PS- Status of that prediction market to the extent you can publicly discuss it would be appreciated. Legalize chess gambling now!

Not clear to me why little old ladies would exert more political power against eminent domain than against stability rents.

I think the opposite might be true, indeed little old ladies would rail more against stability rents.

What impresses me here in Fairfax, Vienna and Mclean is that little old ladies who literally have no stake in a development battle will rally their neighbors, get into a car, drive miles just to oppose a very logical development project at a town council meeting that's artfully done and would help decrease congestion (e.g., due to building underground parking). Amazing, I've seen it in person. They hate development, even artfully done.

Bonus trivia: both Mclean and Vienna have ridiculous zoning laws that don't allow for density. So many commercial buildings in both those areas have absurd parking requirements and setbacks for nearly vacant commercial buildings. Wasted space.

Not clear to me why little old ladies would exert less political power against eminent domain than against stability rents.

My take on overcoming poverty is that if it were easy, everybody would be doing it. There just might be some barriers that are not lowered by scolding the poor.

An example would be nice.

That depends quite a bit on what you mean by 'easy'. It's easy for me to improve my cardiovascular conditioning: I could start exercising every day. I haven't done so, because I don't want to do so enough to actually do so. The vast majority of people could do so but many to most opt not to do so. I don't think that there's much doubt that this is true. Yet doing so remains in one case 'easy', because there aren't overwhelming barriers for people not struggling with disabilities etc. So, the notion that 'if x is easy, more people would do it' does not ring true. Things that are 'easy' can still require quite a lot of work, and not everyone is up on doing that work.

SK, don't conflte simple with easy.

3. People like rising wages but are taught that rising wages are inflation. Square that circle. Of course, inflation and bubbles are difficult to distinguish - ask Larry Summers (remind him of his Okun Lecture). Inflation is defined as a "general increase" in prices, whereas a "bubble" is defined as an increase in the price of a particular asset (such as tulips or real estate or stocks). While one might expect bubbles absent an increase in wages, one cannot expect a "general increase" in prices absent an increase in wages (in excess of an increase in productivity). Of course, bubbles are associated with irrational behavior of owners of capital, as they drive up prices on the irrational belief there will always be a bigger fool to pay ever higher prices for assets. Wages aren't like that: nobody drives up wages on the irrational belief that there will always be a bigger fool to pay ever higher wages. Come to think of it, owners of capital are both the payer of wages and the owners of assets; and while they like rising asset prices, they abhor rising wages. There's the conflict.

#4 - 1994 Edward Luttwak on the return of fascism - was amazingly good. Who agrees? It's like Luttwak had a crystal ball in 1994 and could see 2017 from back then, after the Iron Curtain had fallen and everybody was rosy about free-market capitalism and employment. I think Luttwak is spot on. Fascism, but without the racism (akin to Mussolini's early fascism, as Luttwak says) is on the rise again.

What are you the curator of the Internet?

Facsism without the racism is basically teddy roosevelts bull moose platform of course it's going to make a comeback.

I lived in Lubbock as a teenager and I agree with you. Williamson isn't down with the people, but with himself and his status in the public intelligentsia.

2. Summary: Donald Trump= Doubleplusbad. The audacity of thought explains that this is the "piece everyone is reading ".

7. Since 1981 consumption share of GDP has increased from 60 to 68 percent, wage share of GDP has fallen almost as much dispite increse in the labor partispation rate, while the revenue from corporate taxes has fallen by half.

Just another link. A contrarian view on Trump. Don't know if I agree, but it's better than many others. And at least this guy knows his classics:

Admittedly he wasn't wearing a too big belt buckle but a too small an off color suit but I just wonder as a trump voter that went to better schools and has never attacked a woman.

"… And it's up against the wall, redneck mother
Mother who has raised her son so well ..."

It's hard to listen to someone tell you they hated their mom, but robotically honoring Mother belongs to other cultures than his, so there's no need for him to invent sweetness or poignance where there was only toxicity.

Piece was too long but he's right about fetishizing the wrong people. If you can't bring yourself to use the words "white trash," either you're a poser or you've never lived in the South. And I'm not talking about those cute people in "Logan Lucky."

No one cared anout the term white trash until it became racist to use the term thugs or call Lebrons assorted hanger ons a posse. Either punching down is ok for all races or it's not ok for any races. Sorry that the leftist hegemony cracked but it did. It's deader than Jim Crow at this point.

"When Kevin Williamson attacked that woman at an off broadway show "


Google isn't your friend but in this case it could be useful.

Found it:

The whole thing is pretty funny.

Would you have behaved that way? I'm with MW that's some crazy behavior. If you pulled that stunt in west Texas you would get laid out by a spectator.

2. Describes the rump to a T.

A relatively believable reaction to #2: The decline of traditional conservatism, though, might not be due simply to people waking up to reality. Instead, such conservatism has lost its economic base.

Who is everyone, Tyler?

It's basically the equivalent of those videos which pundits, comedians, or reporters go find someone off the street who is the stupidest supporter of ideology X, argue with them, and then declare the ideology discredited. The only difference is, in this case, Williamson's parents take the place of the dumb person on the street(if we take his word for it):

Consider the case of how I became homeless. I wasn’t homeless in the sense of sleeping in the park — most of the people we’re talking about when we’re talking about homelessness aren’t.... I ended up being shuffled around between various neighbors — strangers to me — for mainly non-economic reasons. My parents had two houses between them, but at that time had just gone through a very ugly divorce. My mother was living with a mentally disturbed alcoholic who’d had a hard time in Vietnam (and well before that, I am certain; his grandfather had once shot him in the ass with a load of rock-salt for making unauthorized use of a watermelon from the family farm) and it was decided that it would be unsafe to leave children alone in his care, which it certainly would have been.... Our mortgage then was $285 a month, which was a little less than my father paid in child support, so housing was, in effect, paid for. And thus I found myself in the strange position of being temporarily without a home while rotating between neighbors within sight, about 60 feet away, of the paid-up house to which I could not safely return. I was in kindergarten at the time.... Of course, they were anti-elitists before it was fashionable, FDR Democrats who grew into Buchananism and Perotism before those became Trumpism.

2. Of course, since its founding America has been at war with itself. No, not war against conservatives or liberals, but those opposed to the American ideals of democracy and equality and, above all else, the American community. From the anarchists who threatened the early republic, to the persecutors of native Americans who shamed America, to the defenders of slavery who split the union, to the robber barons who exploited labor for personal riches, to fascists who equated hate with patriotism, to charlatans who prey on the ignorant and the angry. Donald Trump is just the most recent of a long line of traitors of the American ideals. This isn't about conservative or liberal, this is about traitors of the American ideals. It's a war, a war of America against itself.

Over at HuffPo they have the headline "Trump Fans Think Harvey's Dirty But Prez is Clean". Made me think of an alternative headline "Hillary Fans Think Harvey's Dirty But Former Prez is Clean".

Number Six should be called Richard and Arline, not Feynman and Arline: they were both Feynmans, Tyler: don't side with Richard's nasty mom.
Interesting story. Not quite sad, and not completely beautiful: and makes one think much less in some ways, and much more in other more important ways, of poor Feynman (who was born to be a poet and had to settle for being a media-savvy commentator on expensive physics experiments). Reminds me of one of those old Evanescencse songs. (Wake up inside). (born to be a poet is a compliment). He seemed to me like the sort of guy who really loved his first wife but I grew up with lots of those NorthEast guys who thought (usually incorrectly) they were tough because they were born in a tough modern city; I can see how the article would surprise lots of people. Taleb had an interesting criticism a few weeks ago of the statistical "breakthrough" regarding the 1000 plus genetic basis for intelligence: he noted that there were so many side roads after the first few combinations (after the first few vector bundles in more than two dimensional directions - sorry if I am not as good as simplifying linear algebra as my old pal from Vassar who wrote Linear Algebra Done Right) (and for the record the "Hsu boundary" seems fairly convincing on that particular subject) : that was no surprise to me: and I am even less surprised that Feynman apologized for not being able to specify the place where his beloved wife would be when he was wondering why he had not bothered to kiss her on their wedding day, knowing how soon she would be gone: we only apologize, if we are honest, for not doing what we should be able to do.

I put in paragraph breaks but they disappeared - well, if that comment were longer, I would have added this: Taleb's criticism is countered by an appeal to Hsu's boundary ( for those who care about that controversy) and Feynman, a very smart guy, apparently not only believed in Heaven but believed it was in a specific place (and apologized to his deceased wife for not being able to articulate the coordinates). "The fool says in his heart there is no God" - well, on that criterion, Einstein, vN, and Feynman, and the Professor from Gilligan's Island are on one side (the non-foolish side), and our beloved contemporary atheist science bloggers (the sperg bow-tie guy, and, I think, that English journalist who writes about genes and who starred in Hogan's Heroes) .... sorry, that was Richard Dawson, not the guy I'm thinking of.

For :" he seemed to me like the sort of guy who really loved his first wife" substitute "he always seemed to me like the sort of guy who really loved his first wife." Same thing from his point of view but the corrected version makes the comment at 8:29 pm make more sense.

I put in paragraph breaks but they disappeared

Gotta double up on the enter hits

Thanks! Its sort of like there is this internet Morse Code out there but you have to ask about it or wait for someone to be kind enough to tell you (which was a secondary plot line in the second season of not only Hogan's Heroes and Gilligan's Island but also, if I remember right, F-Troop.) You can't look it up - unless you have access to really cutting edge AI assistance (and even then the Youtube audio gets misleading with words that have an occurrence of less than 1 in 50K unique appearances - like "Morse", which probably comes in at 75-125 K in commonality sequence) so you would need to buy your AI the DVDs, and maybe even watch along and type in the most ambiguous of the words. Which would be all too tedious. So, for all practical purposes, you can't look it up. And I said "if I remember right" so you can't take my word for it either. I guess if you had a friend with eidetic memory ... but what if you mixed up Abba and Agent 99, and didn't ask the question right? SOS, though I try, words fail!

speaking of eidetic memory - Hendrix never forgot, having heard, even once, a useful and musical guitar lick, played by himself or anyone else, which was one reason he was a musical genius: vN could access immediately every interesting combo of numbers he had previously thought about, even if for only a few seconds: and, if there was a word for something in Anglo-Saxon, Tolkien knew it, and if there wasn't he could guess what it would have been as quickly as if there were. There a couple of stand-up comedians in their 50s who remember every punch line from every joke they have heard since they were little kids watching poor Don Rickles and his awful shtick on the Tonight Show in the early 70s, but I won't name them, out of the kindness of my heart, inasmuch as "nobody wants to be a stand up comedian" as Jerry Seinfeld says. BTW, and off topic, Adam Sandler is gonna be nominated for an Oscar next year. Also off topic, or not, Michelangelo remembered every line he drew but being a go-getter and someone with a positive attitude, never repeated a line, always thinking he could do better. Chaos had no chance against him. If God gives you autistic-level gifts of remembrance (God gave me no such gifts, so I say this with a clear heart) and if you can combine that with true appreciation for what is true (the fool says in his heart there is no God - start by not saying that) well, then, please do what you are able to do!

"Incoherent ramblings. Bot. Take your pick" . Hey I said that! If God gives you autistic-level gifts of remembrance and if you combine that with true appreciation for what is true well then, please do what you are able to do! Thanks for reading.

Light will keep your heart beating in the Future.

Let's hope so , and for everyone else too - for ... Rabbin (Hebrew) , pollon (Greek) , pro multis (ancient Roman) (translatable as for ... a great many, for a great many, for a great many), with variations not pertinent here.

Actually Feynman was an atheist or a strong agnostic who did not believe in Heaven. He made that clear in various commentary and in the material about Richard and Arline in the Leighton books.

According to the link at 6, in October 1946, Feynman believed in heaven, and specifically apologized to the person he cared most about for not knowing her address in heaven. (Wiki - That statement is consistent with your statement, by the way - while I remember October 1946 better than most, maybe you do too).

Williamson wrote an article during the Republican primaries, essentially telling the white underclass to move to find work. The timing was impeccable; right when Cruz started challenging Trump it set in stark contrast the Trump coalition vs. the Republicans. The same theme was picked up by Clinton calling Trump voters as the Deplorables.

Either it was a master stroke of underhanded suggestion to get your opponent to do something stupid, or evidence of the divide in the country.

I will bet that this article is taken up in the election next year by the Democrats. White minstrel. Watch for it, again demonstrating either a 3d chess mastery or the exact opposite by Williamson.

How much influence can this guy have? Williamson makes Jonah Goldberg and David French look like intellectual grandmasters in comparison.

I doubt if it was intentional. His rants about the white trash he grew up with are regular. The timing of the first article was noteworthy because it seemed to reflect the country club republican attitudes, and that Trump was getting the bulk of his support from those who were annoyed by these attitudes. The Democrats historically have always told the story that they represented these people, but both Obama indirectly and Clinton directly convinced them that it wasn't the case.

Maybe so, but if my great-grandfather could make his way from Ukraine to London by horse and train and then get on a boat to New York to find work, the unemployed can get out of Garbutt instead of raising yet another generation of children to live on a handout. Bravo for Kevin.

Here are the state-to-state employment to population ratios

North Dakota ........................| 69.2
Nebraska ............................| 67.3
Iowa ................................| 67
South Dakota ........................| 67
Minnesota ...........................| 66.8
New Hampshire .......................| 66.7
Utah ................................| 66.4
District of Columbia ................| 65.9
Wisconsin ...........................| 65.4
Vermont .............................| 64.8
Colorado ............................| 64.7
Kansas ..............................| 64.3
Maryland ............................| 64.2
Wyoming .............................| 63.5
Connecticut .........................| 62.6
Massachusetts .......................| 62.5
Missouri ............................| 62.4
Virginia ............................| 62.2
Indiana .............................| 61.8
Alaska ..............................| 61.7
Idaho ...............................| 61.5
Illinois ............................| 61.4
Montana .............................| 61.2
Rhode Island ........................| 61
Texas ...............................| 60.7
California ..........................| 58.9
North Carolina ......................| 58.7
Michigan ............................| 58.2
Oklahoma ............................| 58.2
New York ............................| 57.7
Tennessee ...........................| 57.2
Arizona .............................| 57.1
Florida .............................| 56.3
South Carolina ......................| 56.3
Arkansas ............................| 55.8
Louisiana ...........................| 55.5
Kentucky ............................| 54.7
New Mexico ..........................| 53.7
Alabama .............................| 53.4
Mississippi .........................| 52.8
West Virginia .......................| 50

Seven of the top 12 entries on this list were carried by Donald Trump.

#4 is not so great. It explains, in a way that was banal even in 1994, the problems affecting the middle class of developed countries, observes that moderate left and right offer no solution, and then just finishes by saying that Fascism is coming, without even defining exactly what he means by this. An almost unfalsifiable position.

And by the way, the sentence "such a party could even be as free of racism as Mussolini’s original was until the alliance with Hitler" shows how ignorant its author is of actual, historical, fascism. Of course Mussolini and his fascist party was extremely racist before anyone had heard of Hitler outside of Bavaria. What it was not at first was antisemite, but that's a different thing. The fascist party was racist in a classical way, whites against blacks. The Nazi had their own idiosyncratic definition of races, inspired by linguistic groups, so their racism was less standard.

position --> prediction (last word of the first paragraph).

I kind of doubt that Mussolini's party was particularly racist at all before aligning with Hitler. They did have their own special organization for Libyans and they made a serious appeal to various Arab groups around the Middle East. Sadat - hardly an Aryan himself - was attracted.

The Nazi had their own idiosyncratic definition of races, inspired by linguistic groups, so their racism was less standard.

Remind me again which linguistic group Yiddish belonged to?


From the wikipedia page on Mussolini: "[....] right from the start the spazio vitale concept had a strong racist undercurrent. Mussolini asserted there was a "natural law" for stronger peoples to subject and dominate "inferior" peoples such as the "barbaric" Slavic peoples of Yugoslavia. He stated in a September 1920 speech:
"When dealing with such a race as Slavic — inferior and barbarian — we must not pursue the carrot, but the stick policy ... We should not be afraid of new victims ... The Italian border should run across the Brenner Pass, Monte Nevoso and the Dinaric Alps ... I would say we can easily sacrifice 500,000 barbaric Slavs for 50,000 Italians ..." — Benito Mussolini, speech held in Pula, 20 September 1920".

And the racist propaganda was even clearer and stronger when Fascist Italia was carving up for itself a colonial empire in Africa.

2) Of course, Yiddish is a germanic language or dialect. Nevertheless, Nazi's idea of races was strongly influenced by the linguistic groups. The very name they gave to the "superior race", "Aryans", was the name then believed to be the name ancient Indo-Europeans gave themselves (now a discredited theory, by the way). It was applied mostly to Germans, with the explicit idea that Germans were the only pure Indo-Europeans, the other groups speaking Indo-European languages being more or less mixed with inferior races. And the various "races" they recognized in Europe were actually linguistic groups: the Latin race, the Slave race, the Celtics, etc...

As for Jews, of course the Nazi knew, since this was part of the collective memory and history of Jews and Europe, that Jews were not autochtonous in Europe, but came form Palestine where they were speaking Hebrew or Aramean. They for this reason said that Jew were from the "semitic" race, and "semitic" is once again a linguistic term designing a linguistic group.

Mussolini was no sweetheart but he had no particular dislike for Jews, and many Italian Jews initially supported him.

#2: There's some mildly interesting autobiography inside a bunch of garbage political commentary.

When will you people realize that Trump's supporters are aware he behaves badly, but we still support him because, unlike virtually all the other elites, he doesn't hate the American citizenry? In fact his pride in and affection for the America he came of age in is palpable. We feel the same way.

Which American citizenry are you referring to?

Once again, there is more to "America" than white rural good ol' boys.

I want to agree with you. But then I read slate, Vox, salon, dailykos, new Republic, Atlantic, motherjones.

I read Ta-Nehisi Coates. I read Jezebel. I read Ezra Klein who says women are equal and then says men should be terrified to be with women. Men should have a shudder of fear of lifetime imprisonment every time they touch their wives. Roll over in your sleep and you’re Bill Cosby. I read the BLM principles and goals.

And you’re bullshitting. And apparently enough people realized that it’s bs in the election. It’s not about wanting better for America. America is the villain in this narrative. Everything we are is the epitome of oppression and injustice. There is nothing salvageable in our culture according to this tribe. We are literally Satan on earth. Trying to build a democracy overseas is literally hitler. Also toxic masculinity is any male breathing who doesn’t prostrate himself at the alter of Hillary.

I mean Jesus Christ they ate their own in sanders supporters. “Bernie Bro misogynists.”

I respect you, but I think you are willfully ignoring the facts that are inconvenient to your narrative.

I think patriots will die out, so you shouldn’t worry. The people who believe in the ideals of this country and have WW2 veterans for relatives will be gone. And all that will remain is chaos and rent seeking and insanity.

What you've written has a sincerity that is impossible to find at all those outlets you mentioned.

Politicians, of all people, should understand the power of a brand like America. Keep running away from it, as the Democrats have steadily done, and I am not sure even their demographic triumph is assured.

The problem really is that you accept and embrace the left's association between the ideals that America stands for, and the white rural good 'ol boy (conservative, Christian, intolerant, closed minded bigoted) culture that the left, along with a lot of other urban elites, has a distaste for. The alt-right essentially reinforces the very dynamic that claims America is the villian by (a) being villians, and (b) claiming that ONLY they represent America.

If you want to refute the narrative that "America" is the villian, the way to go about it is to stop trying to claim that "America" belongs uniquely to white rural Christian conservatives, and start articulating the idea that "America" encompasses all sorts of people, with all sorts of diverse backgrounds.

Could it be possible that Trump "doesn't hate the American citizenry" (or at least, some conception of that as such) AND also be possible that he's lying to said citizenry that their problems are fundamentally caused by out-groups, and by extension undermining traditional conservative values of self-responsibility while simultaneously failing to provide any tenable solutions?

#6 Armchair historians have said that the tragedy of marriage to Arline is part of what made Feynman such a callous and indiscriminate ladies man in later years. Comparisons of real relationships to a romantic and tragic ideal probably didn't help a brilliant young man.

#2 attacks a straw man, because it does not address a common criticism of the elite: that these decision makers make decisions that favor themselves, and these providers of information provide information slanted for their own benefit. The cultured lawyerly intellectual whose facts are unassailable is not attacked out of envy for their skills, but because of experience of situations when the facts they provided turned out to provide a very misleading view of the true picture of events, and the decisions they took turned out to be disastrous for all but themselves.

Agreed. You can be against this elite, without being against the idea of an elite.

When will you people realize that Trump’s supporters are aware he behaves badly, but we still support him because, unlike virtually all the other elites, he doesn’t hate the American citizenry? In fact his pride in and affection for the America he came of age in is palpable. We feel the same way.

Scott Sumner argues people do not hate inflation.

It's doubtful Sumner ever has normal interactions with ordinary people from which he learns anything or conceives that he could learn something.

The Kevin Williamson piece everyone is reading.

Why? It's length-to-value ratio is excessive. Williamson is paid a handsome six-figure salary by a reportedly philanthropic concern to produce newspaper columns where he lards the reader with snot and displays himself as an incompetent pop sociologist. David Brooks is much better at this; better attitude, fewer howlers.


I feel like there's a major schism between an economist dreaming up more efficient mechanisms to organise a society, and a behaviourally biased normal human being (for lack of a better word). This reminds me of all of those Kahneman and Tversky experiments demonstrating how people will heavily favour a sure thing over and above an NPV positive bet because they hate uncertainty. I feel like if I explain this to someone, their first reaction will be "Ha, that's funny, how do I opt out of this stupid thing". And the informational requirements are also onerous. I can't imagine many old ladies spending their time mucking around with posted prices all day every day. And surely the arbitrageurs would be the most hated sub class of scum that ever existed.

All that said, people hate surge pricing too, but it's efficient. And on net people prefer to have Ubers surge pricing them instead of no Ubers at all. If you could find a way to package the whole experience, you might find that people are willing to stomach the threat of losing their house (even with a fat compensation cheque), if they felt that the package in total was worthwhile. (Though they may lobby over time to unwind it.) I also think that in practice you'd need to de facto set prices at a level which was a heavy premium over people's actual willingness to accept (say 50-100%), so that when/if that purchase right was exercised, the compensation was so great so as to make you much less upset.

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