Weekend Reflections anyone?

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Tony Harris
Tony Harris(@tony-harris)
15 years ago

The Austrian economists at work in the fields of Africa.

On the Post-Autistic Economics movement.

Tony Harris
Tony Harris(@tony-harris)
15 years ago

The Austrian economists at work in the fields of Africa. Not just the pretty face of theory but the dirty and blistered hands of men at work.

Tony Harris
Tony Harris(@tony-harris)
15 years ago

And for something rather different, the wankers of the Post-Autistic Economics movement. Semi-professional looking literature that is a misleading waste of space.

vee
vee
15 years ago

Troppo doesn’t seem to be having much success with this one. I’m not sure why though.

Ken Parish
Admin
Ken Parish(@ken-parish)
15 years ago

My theory is that it’s because, although Troppo has a respectable-size audience by ozblog standards, very few readers regard it as “home”. Humans are tribal creatures and most blog readers have fairly strong and distinct ideological perspectives. The range of such perspectives is more complex than just a simple left/right dichotomy, but distinct just the same. Hence blogs with clear, distinctive and predictable ideological identities are much more likely to attract and retain a sizeable loyal audience which regards that blog as “home” and is happy to hang around and participate in unstructured dialogue on a regular open thread.

Troppo, both by contrast and design, doesn’t have either a single authorial voice or a consistent ideological position. “Sceptical centrism” might be the closest appropriate label, but even that isn’t really accurate, and certainly doesn’t seem to induce a warm inner glow of homey ideological comfort in very many people. Moreover, although sceptical centrism is in one sense by its nature both challenging and intellectually edgy, from another perspective it involves moderation (although that isn’t true of the next couple of sentences of this comment) and carefully teasing out multiple sides of any argument, which many people seem to experience as tedious and boring equivocation. Jason’s recent funny but bitchy/snide “pony club” jibe about Troppo epitomises that sort of reaction, even though on any reasonable evaluation the diversity and challenging natue of Troppo posts is vastly greater than at Catallaxy, especially since Andrew Norton’s departure. Catallaxy is essentially a Liberal Party Branch where the Branch President is a “moderate” but all standing orders have been suspended to allow Bill Heffernan, Wilson Tuckey and Eric Abetz open slather. I acknowledge that this isn’t anywhere near as succinct or wickedly funny as Jason’s jibe, but it’s a lot more accurate.

I’ve intuitively suspected for a long time for the above sorts of reasons that an open thread at Troppo probably wouldn’t generate the sort of cozy chitchat between the like-minded that occurs on some other blogs (which is why I never bothered to start one). Nevertheless, I think the experiment is worth persisting with. A thriving if select sceptical centrist open thread discussion community might conceivably develop over time, even if it doesn’t involve the sort of moronic slagfests that some readers seem to crave to stave off chronic boredom.

Ian
Ian
15 years ago

G’day Ken

Wishy washy… ummm centrist…..flopping from left to right, often instictively rather than rationally….. yep, that’s me :-))

Cheers

Ian
Ian
15 years ago

Errm, arrrr haaaargh…..that would be “instinctively” btw

Ian
Ian
15 years ago

Hmmmm…. comment, comment…. wherefore art thou, original comment?

Richard Phillipps
Richard Phillipps
15 years ago

well, if the blog is skeptical centre or centered skeptic or whatever, why does not someone have a go at the recent loony campaign that is designed to present the security/war on terror debate as one between two groups the (by definition effete, demented, smalldick latte drinking) “civil rights advocates” on the one hand and the (by definition honest, manly, intelligent and possessed of extremely well proportioned genitals) “realists” or “patriots” on the other?

If there is a centre position, it is that terrorism is shit scarey, (although possibly not quite as scarey as, say, full fledged bird flu) and that something ought to be done about it. It moves from there to the position that “rights” or so-called “human rights” are a good thing, but that we trade some of them off every day for the greater good. And, of course, one of our rights is not to get blown away by some whacko adolescent who thinks some deity or other wants him to do so.

The position then moves to accepting that the argument is very much about means, and what means are appropriate.

So we could discuss, say, control orders, or even torture, in terms of what they deliver and what the cost is.

If we did that, we might end up with a position that said that by and large things like the rules of evidence (or adapted rules of evidence) are useful, because they act as a filter to ensure that only relatively useful material is considered.

We might move to a view that some rules need, for a time, relaxation, such as (for example) the double jeopardy rule.

But we would also say that because no one is perfect, we need to maintain a system that internalises the rule of law, the right to counsel, and the right to some sort of review (even an in camera review) of security decisions.

We would do this because, inasmuch as we preserve our rights, we are, by and large, happier.

We would also want to manage our metaphors. The “war on terror” one is particularly stupid.

As Thomas Ricks illustrates in his good, if turgid, “FIASCO The American Military Adventure in Iraq”

vee
vee
15 years ago

Ken, I think you’ve accurately explained (and no offence to blogs I’m about to mention) a growing distaste of LP as it graduates further away from its initial starting point and the same of Catallaxy that hasn’t exactly moved away from its purpose but talks about things beyond my capability or less interested in the topics it raises. It often goes beyond the practical into the philosophical.

These two are at the opposite ends of the spectrum but I don’t fit in any distinct niche with either of them.

Does this mean I should call Troppo home?