Sunday, May 29, 2016

Does One Improve Intellectual Diversity by Hiring or Reading "Conservative" Idiots?

I am with DeLong on this. He dismisses as bilge water (I always prefer nautical metaphors)  Nicholas Kristof's assertion that ideological balance in academe is a good hypocritically rejected by liberals.  Let's start with Burke.  I see no merit in defending monarchy against French republicanism.  Then to Locke - a liberal.  I obtain ownership by investing my labor.  The core of much of modern libertarianism (e.g. Rothbard).  Richard Epstein celebrates the idea that first possession justifies property.  That's how we seized the continent from the aboriginal inhabitants.  That's also a key Zionist myth.  But Epstein concedes that at some point it is too complicated to take property back from one who has seized it by force.  That's just an argument for long memory and re-conquest .   That's how we get to keep our entire territory without paying compensation.  - gwc
Does One Improve Intellectual Diversity by Hiring or Reading "Conservative" Idiots? by Brad Delong
As the very sharp Jacob Levy wrote back in 2008:
There's no modern work to teach alongside Theory of Justiceand Anarchy, State, and Utopia that really gets at what's interesting about Burkean or social conservatism.... Any book plucked from the past that was concerned with yelling "stop!" tends to date badly to any modern reader who does not think he's already living in hell-in-a-handbasket... talks about how everything will go to hell if the [Jim Crow] South isn't allowed to remain the South.... Oakeshott['s]... "Rationalism in Politics" end[s] up feeling faintly ridiculous by the time he's talking about women's suffrage.... I might say Schumpeter,Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, and Kristol, Two Cheers for Capitalism, but the former isn't really distinctively conservative enough and I'm not sure the latter is a classic.
In my view, you go with Polanyi's The Great Transformation--which gets the rational kernel inside the mystical conservative shell--or you go home.
And this is apropos today because Nick Kristof is writing more bilgewater for the New York Times:

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