I put WW into my browser tabs as he’s a pretty sophisticated commenter on a range of philosophical issues. I liked the way he gnawed on that bone of Layard on Happiness till he’d got something he wanted to say said. It was interesting, stimulating and rigorous stuff even if I didn’t agree with some of it.
I’ve gradually been losing faith in him as I’ve read more. In any event he wrote a silly attack on various articles by liberals on Hurricane Katrina. While some of the people he attacked might deserve it, the form of his attack is a particularly common way to waste your own and your readers’ time. You pick some expression, and explain why the person didn’t use it properly – and why that’s because they’re such an ideologically blinkered dill.
He makes some points criticising Maureen O’Dowd and then uses the same technique on Paul Krugman. Trouble is Krugman is not making the same mistakes as O’Dowd. He’s using the language in a particular way and if you don’t want to read it in context, don’t bother.
I liked the one comment the post attracted from Bill Korner.
Libertarians and their opponents need to enter into a non-proliferation treaty of sorts.
Lets call it the IGLT —
Ideological Generalization Limitation Treaty.
Right wingers will agree to stop talking about “free markets”, “limited government”, and “individual freedom” IN THE CONTEXT OF SERIOUS POLICY DISCUSSIONS. In return, liberal columnists will stop trying to score points by irrelvantly degrading these to-vague-for-use concepts.
Then in the face of the Katrina tragedy we can focus on real questions such as Hillary Clinton’s:
“Would FEMA have performed better if it were an independent agency as it was before it was subsumed in the Department of Homeland Security?”
Hell, we can even consider absurd libertarian rhetorical bromides such as:
“Would there have been poor people without cars in New Orleans if it weren’t for welfare?”
Let’s just leave sickly vague rhetoric about the “free market” to philosophico-economic analysis.
My sentiments entirely Bill.