Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Beautiful castigation of the "economists for hire" at Cato and Heritage on J. Bradford DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal.

Now why does Moore follow this strategy of grasping for the weak and false but good-sounding bite when there are strong, powerful, and valid arguments on his side? The reason is that he is embedded in an ecology in which the major players are people who can't evaluate the substantive strength of intellectual and policy arguments, aren't especially interested in learning the substance of public policy in any depth, yet have acquired substantial journalistic influence without every learning that their own biases and kneejerk reactions are not automatically valid. In such an ecology, what use are a commitment to education first and partisanship second? What use are scruples? What use is an unwillingness to make the worse appear the better cause? You lose them if you swim in the seas of Cato and Heritage, just as animals that live underground lose their eyesight...

In other words, "people only want to hear what they already agree with, and there's always somebody willing to tell it to them". Doesn't mean The Truth Isn't Out There, but too many of us don't want to hear it. (Reminds me of that Scientific American article; what I didn't mention is all the ideologues that were attempting to back Bjorn on the letters page).

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