special interest group

Republicans are a ‘special interest’ group for wealthy donors.

Republicans have no interest in economics, science, climate, and the concept of government.

All failure leads to Republican policies, and all Republican policies lead to failure.

Uranus in the 11th house - Asteroid Angel

Fresh frequencies crackle like bolts from heaven and directly deliver intuitive ingenuity to Uranus in the 11th. Uranus is dignified in the home of Aquarius and makes friendships an important focus of life. There is a great love of people, laughter, and unity, and making connections. Throughout these unifying encounters the individual retains individuality and uniqueness of expression. The outlook is global, humanitarian and highly socially conscious. Concern arises out of injustice, greed, cruelty, and crimes against humanity. Friendship circles are typically wide ranging and incorporate all sorts of diverse people. When she is amongst the love of people, the Uranus transmission is tuned in loudly. It makes all sorts of visions from outer space and ideas whipped together with the cream of the milky way burst like a star into her vision. These ideas are filtered from a higher source and directed toward widespread social repair and producing the utopia vision. 

Group and unifying experiences inspire Uranus in the 11th. It’s typical for the individual to believe in good will, morality, and philanthropy. She can be acutely perceptive of spiritual connectivity and what is righteous for the soul of humanity. Distinguished astrologer Evangeline Adams was born with Uranus in 11th. She is known for successfully vindicating astrology in court, and in so blurred the worlds of sanctioned law with metaphysics. These are the rattles of Uranus shaking the determined institution. Evangeline Adams was also arrested numerous times for fortune telling and practicing astrology. This was a notable protest against the consensual regulations of the early 1900′s. The individual may feel like it’s her special duty it is to detonate and accelerate change. She can be brutally forthcoming about presenting facts so she can trigger a reaction and the attention the issue needs. There is a great appreciation for collective and friendship experiences like music festivals, social organisations, and special interest groups. The person may attract friends with obscure and eccentric interests who respect her inspiring self liberation. But Uranus is volatile and unexpected. Friendships may end abruptly, start suddenly, or begin online. She may become quickly bored of friends or decide to vanish without notice. She may be instantly attracted to group events but withdraw at the last minute. The individual is ultimately freedom loving. 

Uranus in the 11th house likes to inspire the muse. The individual encourages self expression without hesitation. She wants to speak what’s on her mind, share what’s inside her heart, and raise the issues she finds important. Dreams are lined in fairy lights across the sky with Uranus in the 11th. She dreams of the future, she dreams of elevating people, she dreams of the world when her visions come true. The individual may have a libertarian ideology and command her personal freedom. It’s typical for Uranus in the 11th to question the system and express high suspicions about government, media, and global events. Lightning intuition contacts intelligence and imagination to create an original thinker and and dreamer. She pops electric bubbles filled with cosmic prophecies and spreads her message to as many people she can reach. And like electricity, like a switch, she disappears. 

Yum! by ~Mai(Anna-Maija Mettälä)

The 1960s failed, I believe, partly because of unclear thinking about institutions, which it portrayed in dark, conspiratorial, Kafkaesque terms. The positive role of institutions in economically complex societies was neglected. The vast capitalist distribution network is so efficient in America that it is invisible to our affluent, middle-class humanists. Capitalism’s contribution to the emergence of modern individualism, and therefore feminism, has been blindly suppressed. This snide ahistoricism is the norm these days in women’s studies programs and chichi, Foucault-afflicted literature departments. Leftists have damaged their own cause, with whose basic principles I as a 1960s libertarian generally agree, by their indifference to fact, their carelessness and sloth, their unforgivable lack of professionalism as scholars. The Sixties world-view, which integrated both nature and culture, has degenerated into clamorous, competitive special-interest groups.

The universities led the way by creating a ghetto of black studies, which begat women’s studies, which in turn begat gay studies. Not one of these makeshift, would-be disciplines has shown itself capable of re-creating the broad humane picture of Sixties thought. Each has simply made up its own rules and fostered its own selfish clientele, who have created a closed system in which scholarship is inseparable from politics. It is, indeed, questionable whether or not the best interests of blacks, women, and gays have been served by these political fiefdoms. The evidence about women’s studies suggests the opposite: that these programs have hatched the new thought police of political correctness. No conservative presently in or out of government has the power of intimidation wielded by these ruthless forces. The silencing of minority opinion has been systematic in faculty recruitment and promotion. The winners of that rat race seem genuinely baffled by such charges, since, of course, their conventional, fashionable opinions have never been stifled.
—  Camille Paglia, “The Nursery School Campus: The Corrupting of the Humanities in the U.S.” , Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism (2017), pp. 80-81
“It’s Bernie’s fault that Hillary lost!”

No. It’s not. 

For days now I’ve tried to come up with words to express how I truly feel about the results of the election. I had a feeling Democrats would blame him for doing the Democratic thing like running a primary against Hillary Clinton. How dare he?! Well, Bernie predicted last year that the Democrats would lose all branches of government if they didn’t listen to him and chose him. He was right. 

The thing older Democrats don’t understand is that they’re blinded by the D label. The Democratic Party now represents the establishment and special interests groups. They abandoned those rust belt states that usually go blue during the election. The pundits and other Democrats kept trying to reassure us that Hillary would win in a landslide. 

Wrong. 

Telling people how easily she could win made people stay home because they assumed other people’s votes mattered  more than their own. 

And let me break it down for you, this is the DNC’s fault for pushing an unlikable, uninspiring centrist for the umpteenth time. They learned nothing after the 1970s. They learned nothing after 2000. Sure, Barack Obama was the first black president, but he ran a platform on progressive change which inspired people to go to the polls and vote like hell. Hillary Clinton didn’t. Sadly, Obama moved back to the center which is why Bernie Sanders did so well. He had a consistent record that matched his progressive values. Not to mention that he was beating Trump in every poll and many had him getting over 300 electoral votes against Trump in the general, but fuck him, right? This is Bernie’s fault that Hillary lost!

The DNC needs to learn their lesson. All these Wikileaks showed us how corrupt they really are and how they will do anything for their own personal gain. Like electing Hillary Clinton. It’s all about image for them. They even propped Trump up. They wanted him to be the nominee against Hillary Clinton. Why do you think the MSM covered Trump 24/7? The first thing Michel Moore has listed in his new five step plan was that the Democratic Party needs to get cleaned up. An extreme makeover. Let Keith Ellison be head of the DNC. Add other progressives like Nina Turner and bring back Tulsi Gabbard. Van Jones would make a good addition as well. The status quo won’t fix a damn thing. 

So, Democrats… stop blaming Hillary’s loss solely on sexism or third party voters, or Bernie Sanders when this was all your fault. Hope you’re ready for the next economic crash and for the planet to burn up and kill us all because I know many of us “entitled” millennials aren’t. 

anonymous asked:

Okay so I feel like Harry is pretty blatantly telling the world that he's gay.. i mean, not that we didn't already know but 2 pride flags? The one in SF could be argued because of it being known as a gay city. But now in LA too!? I don't think there's much room for interpretation. When I saw Paul McCartney in concert last year he waved a pride flag at the end of his show, but he did it with the American, British, and Californian flag so it was much less isolated than what Harry is doing. (1/2)

I think if this keeps up it’s gonna get harder for people to deny it (although not like it was easy before). Sea I really, really think that the e** is n***. I think their teams are finally starting to pave the way for H+L to come out. With Louis dropping these not-so-subtle song snippets too… am i crazy? Cause I truly believe that it’s starting, but I want to know your/other Larries opinions on it? (2/2)///
____________

I am loving every minute I watch Harry on tour— his witty, intimate conversations with the audience, his effortless charm, his genuine humility and gratitude, his refutation of media’s lies. He IS grateful for his success. He DOES LOVE One Direction. He LOVES LGBQTA representation. His desire to make solo music doesn’t negate his love of his bandmates.

It’s easy to talk the talk, but Harry’s actions set the tone for what he wants to see. Just before San Francisco, Twitter was ugly with threats of violence against Rainbow Directioners and Larries. Harry counters this not by words, but by picking up a pride flag early in the show and having it on his mic stand the entire show. He counters this ugly hatred by singing Just a Little Bit of Your Heart, a love song that he wrote, without changing gendered pronouns. He counters it by featuring merch that tells people to treat each other with kindness.

In 2014, I read this article, titled “Why I Hope One Direction’s Harry Styles Is Really Straight,” by a gay male writer named Jeremy Helligar.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6175956

The article argues that while many in the rock & pop world have flirted with ambiguities in sexual preference, the frontmen of boybands have always had a Straight Straight Straight image. Boybanders who want to make it in the music world do not do anything to suggest they might be gay, or imply they’re okay with that image.

Harry outright says, “I prefer not to discuss my sexuality.” His vocal support of LGBQT issues make his concerts safe spaces for every fan. He makes it clear that he doesn’t consider gay rights an issue of a special interest group, but one of basic human rights.

Whether Harry seems gay to the public at large or not, his actions say that this perception is okay with him. It’s not an insult. Given the potential backlash (the risk of losing het Harry fans, alienating conservative fans worldwide), his stance is courageous. He’s saying every person deserves to have their sexuality honored and protected— not just celebrities.

Remember the concert after the Attitude article came out, where “print-Liam” said he didn’t like rainbow flags at 1D concerts? Harry famously picked out a rainbow flag at the (13 September 2015) Boston concert and ran down the long stage with it. His statement was clear.

I recall a gif of a young Harry at the VMAs maybe? In 2012? He was upset, walking away from a pap who had called him a derogatory term for a gay man. Louis was steering him away and telling him to forget about it. It’s heartbreaking and difficult to watch.

Being the target of homophobic attacks is the reality of many people every day, and Harry knows it. With his actions, he makes it clear which side he is firmly standing on. Of course he can give multiple signals at once— as a Larrie, I believe he’s also loudly and proudly proclaiming his love.

As a songwriter, Harry knows how to take personal experience and make it universal. Equality is a personal, intensely emotional issue for him. He has taken the personal and used his celebrity to make it a universal cause. He might not want to/ or is able to come out right now, but he’s doing all he can to reassure others that he knows, he shares, he cares.

Deductionist Master Class FRAMING - PART 3: Understanding Yourself

Sherlock Holmes once said “Never theorise before you have data. Invariably, you end up twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.” So you might say that you should go into observation with a blank mind. This would be ideal, except that it’s inefficient and slow. So how do you begin to observe without ruining the data? It’s far more messy than you may have thought. Prepare yourself for biases and motivation; aka, you.

To observe is to take in data. TAKE IN. That refers to a process. Data can be manipulated and changed as you’re storing, after you’ve stored, and before you’ve stored it in your memory. The goal of making deductions is that you conclude based on only facts. So having incorrect facts is fatal to intellect. The question becomes:  how do you observe without altering information? This requires taking a rigorous look at your logical fallacies and biases because those change what you see, hear, smell, taste, feel, sense internally, and remember.

LOGICAL FALLACIES

There are A LOT of logical fallacies. You’ll need to understand all of them and their situational contexts to fight them off.

Appeals to the Mind

  • Appeal to Anonymous Authority: Using evidence from an unnamed expert, study, or generalised group to claim something is true
  • Appeal to Authority: Claiming something is true because an unqualified expert says it is
  • Appeal to Common Practice: Claiming something is true or good because it’s commonplace
  • Appeal to Ignorance: Claiming something is true because it has not been proven false (or vice versa)
  • Appeal to Incredulity: Claiming something is false because it seems unbelievable or implausible
  • Appeal to Money: Supposing that wealth or expensiveness affects the truth of a claim
  • Appeal to Novelty: Supposing something is better because it is new or newer
  • Appeal to Popular Belief: Claiming something is true because a majority of people believe it
  • Appeal to Probability: Assuming because something could happen, it will inevitably happen
  • Appeal to Tradition: Claiming something is true because it has occurred or been true in the past

Appeals to Emotions

  • Appeal to Consequences of a Belief: Arguing a belief is false because it implies something you’d rather not believe
  • Appeal to Fear: Arguing by invoking fear or prejudice towards the opposing side
  • Appeal to Flattery: Using a compliment to hide an unfounded claim
  • Appeal to Nature: Drawing a comparision to the natural world as a standard
  • Appeal to Pity: Arguing by invoking sympathy or empathy
  • Appeal to Ridicule: Presenting the opponent’s argument in a way that makes it appear absurd
  • Appeal to Spite: Dismissing a claim by way of personal bias against the claimant
  • Appeal to Wishful Thinking: Claiming something is true because it is desirable

Faulty Deductions

  • Anecdotal Evidence: Claiming something is true on the basis of isolated incidents
  • Composition: Assuming that characteristics or beliefs of members of a group apply to the entire group
  • Division: Assuming that characteristics or beliefs of a group automatically apply to an individual member
  • Design Fallacy: Claiming something is true because it is well-designed or aesthetically pleasing
  • Gambler’s Fallacy: Predicting future outcomes on the basis of unrelated or independent past events
  • Hasty Generalisation: Drawing a general conclusion from an inappropriately small sample
  • Jumping to Conclusions: Drawing a quick conclusion without considering relevant and readily-available evidence
  • Middle Ground: Assuming that because two opposing arguments have merit, the answer must lie between them
  • Perfectionist Fallacy: Rejecting an imperfect yet adequate solution on the basis of its imperfection
  • Relativist Fallacy: Rejecting a claim or argument because of a belief that truth is relative to a person or group
  • Sweeping Generalisation: Applying a general rule too broadly
  • Undistributed Middle: Equating two things because they are similar or share characteristics

Manipulating Content

  • Ad Hoc Rescue: Repeatedly revising an argument to explain away problems
  • Begging the Question: Making a claim that ignores a larger issue
  • Biased Generalising: Generalising from an unrepresentative sample
  • Confirmation Bias: Placing heavier weight on evidence that supports a favourable conclusion while ignoring, dismissing, or marginalising evidence opposing it
  • False Dilemma: Presenting a choice between two options while ignoring or hiding alternatives
  • Lie: A falsehood repeated knowingly as a fact
  • Misleading Vividness: Describing an occurrence in vivid detail, even if it is a rare occurrence, to increase its perceived importance
  • Red Herring: Introducing irrelevant material to the argument to distract or lead towards a different conclusion
  • Slippery Slope: Assuming a small change will lead to a series of related (negative) changes or events
  • Suppressed Evidence: Intentionally failing to acknowledge significant, relevant evidence
  • Unfalsifiability: Offering a claim that cannot be opposed because it cannot be tested

Garbled Cause & Effect

  • Affirming the Consequent: Assuming there’s only one explanation for something
  • Denying the Antecedent: Assuming that because there is a cause for something, the lack of the cause will result in the lack of the effect
  • Circular Logic: A conclusion derived from a premise based on the conclusion
  • Ignoring a Common Cause: Claiming two things that are correlated must be causal, while ignoring a third event that may have caused both
  • Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: Claiming two events that occur together must have a cause-and-effect relationship
  • Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: Claiming that because one event followed another, it was also caused by it

On the Attack

  • Ad Hominem: Claiming an argument is invalid by attacking the person making the argument and not the argument itself
  • Burden of Proof: Claiming an argument is true unless it is refuted
  • Circumstance Ad Hominem: Claiming an argument is invalid because of the advocate’s interests in their claim
  • Genetic Fallacy: Attacking the cause or original of a claim rather than the claim itself
  • Guilt by Association: Discrediting an idea or claim by associating it with an undesirable person or group
  • Straw Man: Creating a distorted or simplified charicature of your opponent’s argument, and the arguing against that misrepresentation

 

BIASES

Biases are slightly different from logical fallacies. Where fallacies corrupt specific parts of an argument or idea, biases taint the whole thing.

Cognitive Biases - repeating or basic misstep in thinking

  • Anchoring: psychological heuristic that describes the propensity to rely on the first piece of information encountered when making decisions
  • Apophenia: human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data
  • Attribution bias: when individuals assess or attempt to discover explanations behind their own and others’ behaviours
  • Confirmation bias: tendency to search for, interpret, flavor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses while giving disproportionately less attention to information that contradicts it
  • Framing: involves the social construction of social phenomena by mass media sources, political or social movements, political leaders, and so on. It is an influence over how people organise, perceive, and communicate about reality;  Cultural bias is the related phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one’s own culture
  • Halo Effect: an observer’s overall impression of a person, organisation, brand, or product influences their feelings about specifics of that entity’s character or properties
  • Horn Effect: if the observer dislikes one aspect of something, they will have a negative predisposition toward everything about it
  • Self-serving bias: tendency for cognitive or perceptual processes to be distorted by the individual’s need to maintain and enhance self-esteem
  • Status Quo bias: an emotional bias; a preference for the current state of affairs; the current baseline (or status quo) is taken as a reference point, and any change from that baseline is perceived as a loss

Conflicts of Interest -  person or association has intersecting interests which could potentially corrupt

  • Bribery: the giving of money, goods or other forms of recompense to in order to influence the recipient’s behaviour
  • Favouritism: sometimes known as in-group favouritism, or in-group bias, refers to a pattern of favouring members of one’s in-group over out-group members
  • Funding bias: refers to the tendency of a scientific study to support the interests of the study’s financial sponsor
  • Insider trading: trading of a public company’s stock or other securities (such as bonds or stock options) by individuals with access to non-public information about the company
  • Lobbying: the attempt to influence choices made by administrators, frequently lawmakers or individuals from administrative agencies
  • Match-fixing: occurs when a match is played to a completely or partially predetermined result, violating the rules of the game and often the law
  • Self Regulation: process whereby an organisation monitors its own adherence to legal, ethical, or safety standards, rather than have an outside, independent agency such as a third party entity monitor and enforce those standards
  • Regulatory Capture: form of political corruption that can occur when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating
  • Shilling: deliberately giving spectators the feeling that one is an energetic autonomous client of a vendor for whom one is working; an example of shilling is paid reviews that give the impression of being autonomous opinions

Statistical Biases -  Statistical bias is a property of a statistical technique or of its results whereby the expected value of the results differs from the true underlying quantitative parameter being estimated.

Contextual Biases -  well-intentioned experts are vulnerable to making erroneous decisions by extraneous influences

  • Academic bias: the bias or perceived bias of scholars allowing their beliefs to shape their research and the scientific community
  • Educational bias: refers to real or perceived bias in the educational system; the content of school textbooks is often the issue of debate, as their target audience is young people, and the term “whitewashing” is used to refer to selective removal of critical or damaging evidence or comment
  • Experimenter bias: occurs when experimenter expectancies regarding study results bias the research outcome
  • Full Text On Net (FUTON) bias: scholars can more easily discover and access articles that have their full text on the internet, which increases authors’ likelihood of reading, quoting, and citing these articles, this may increase the impact factor of open access journals relative to journals without open access
  • Inductive bias (also known as learning bias):  a learning algorithm is given a set of assumptions that the learner uses to predict outputs given inputs that it has not encountered
  • Media bias: the bias or perceived bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of events, the stories that are reported, and how they are covered
  • Publication bias:  academic research is likely to be published because of a tendency of researchers, and journal editors, to prefer some outcomes rather than others
  • Reporting bias: selective revealing or suppression of information of undesirable behaviour by subjects
  • Social Desirability bias: bias within social science research where survey respondents can tend to answer questions in a manner that will be viewed positively by others

Prejudices -  forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case

  • Classism:  discrimination on the basis of social class; it includes attitudes that benefit the upper class at the expense of the lower class, or vice versa
  • Lookism:  stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination on the basis of physical attractiveness, or more generally to people whose appearance matches cultural preferences
  • Racism:  ideologies based on a desire to dominate or a belief in the inferiority of another race; it may also hold that members of different races should be treated differently
  • Sexism:  discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender; sexism can affect any gender, but it is particularly documented as affecting women and girls


CONCLUSION

As you can see, there are so many ways to tamper with data. It takes years of rigorous, mindfully motivated, attentive practice to decrease the effects of even a handful of these. That’s everything you have to learn to control. Next week we’ll get into the stuff that you can’t control that affects information, your environment.

-M.C.

anonymous asked:

So I am a junior in high school and currently am looking at college stuff right now. And I had a couple of general questions. For one, when should I start applying for scholarships and where should I look for them? Also, how do I apply for financial aid? I've heard about this one where I can get some application fees waived? But where could I find that at? Thank you in advanced! Your advice has helped so much.

Hello!

For most colleges and universities in the US, scholarships are funds given to you by the school, a company, a special interest group, or any place really, that you don’t have to pay back. Sometimes this will be enough to cover just tuition, sometimes it’ll be enough to cover tuition and living expenses. Scholarships are usually offered on merit or need based systems. Merit based means that they grant them based on your academic/extracurricular performance. They don’t care how much your parents make. Need based means that they award them to you based on how much they think you can pay based on what your parents make. Most colleges offer both!

A grant is just a general term for money that is given by the government or federal service, as far as I’m aware. An example would be the FAFSA, or money given by the government to students. Often, this includes money you don’t have to pay back (i.e. the grant itself), work study, and loans that you do have to pay back. I believe it is the FAFSA that allows you to waive some of the application fees. I’m not sure if you can also waive fees for sending your SAT scores to various schools.

A loan is money that you can take out from the bank or the government that you have to pay back. This can be either through FAFSA, as mentioned, or from a bank. You will have to pay interest on these funds starting from when you graduate. I wouldn’t say that loans are bad. Millions of students rely on them to pay for college. But, the fact that you have to pay it back means that you are accumulating debt, and debt can grow over time as interest accumulates.

Definitely apply for both! Scholarships first, then loans if you need. See if there’s anyone at your school, like a college advisor, who can help!

Also check out this recent ask about scholarships! Do you want to apply for big scholarships that would take care of your entire 4 years? These are going to be very competitive. One of the biggest ones is the Gates Scholarship. You can also look for smaller, local scholarships related to various aspects of your life, such as your hometown, your extracurriculars, your religion, your ethnicity, etc. These will have much smaller payoffs, usually in the <$1000 range. So, weigh your time and your effort to decide how many you want to apply for.

Does your school have a counselor or advisor that helps you with your schedule and such? This person is a great person to ask about scholarships, applying for college, and anything else college-related!

Hope this helps!– Mimi

Why Rothbard Will Never Win the Nobel Prize!

Mark Skousen insists that Murray Rothbard ought to win the Nobel Prize in economics. I think so too, but for his professional contribution which categorically bars an economist from ever winning the Nobel Prize in economics: clarity. Murray Rothbard has an addiction: clear, forthright writing. He says what he thinks, and he explains why he thinks it, in easily followed logic. He does not use equations, statistics, and the other paraphernalia of the economics priesthood. He simply takes his readers step by step through economic reasoning, selecting the relevant facts—relevant in terms of the economic logic he sets forth—and drawing conclusions. He gives readers his operating presuppositions; he then marshals the evidence and reaches conclusions. It is an old-fashioned procedure, and decidedly out of favor these days. If you doubt me, pick up a copy of American Economic Review (let alone Econometrica), turn to any page randomly, read it three times to yourself, and offer a brief summary to your wife. Understand, this can be done with Rothbard’s books.

Rothbard’s ability to communicate the truths of economics to reasonably intelligent non-economists is not the sort of skill which impresses the Nobel Prize Committee members. If they can understand anything, and especially if they can understand it rapidly on the first reading, they are unimpressed. What impresses them is an economics book which cannot be understood even after three or four readings, and when its conclusions are at last grasped, they prove to be utterly inapplicable to the real world. (If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at any page of the book by the 1983 economics prize winner, Gerald Debreu, Theory of Value: An Axiomatic Analysis of Economic Equilibrium, which was in its eighth printing in 1979—a testimony to the horrors of graduate study in economics. The only hint of reality in the entire book appears on page 29, the words, “No. 2 Red Winter Wheat.”)

Furthermore, Rothbard does something which is absolutely unacceptable in academia in general and the economics profession in particular. He uses italics. Yes, when he thinks that something is important, he underlines it. How gauche! How utterly unscientific! One is supposed to allow the readerthe option of missing the whole point—an option which reputable scholars exercise frequently, if not continually.

Furthermore, in an age of positive economics—“facts speaking for themselves”—Rothbard has adopted Ludwig von Mises’s use of apriorism: he deduces economic truths from a handful of axioms of human action, meaning human choice. He goes so far as to say that economic facts cannot disprove a logically formulated economic theorem. “The only test of a theory is the correctness of the premises and of the logical chain of reasoning.” I can remember reading one review of America’s Great Depression in a professional journal in which the reviewer must have spent over half his allotted space criticizing this Misesian methodological principle, and he spent the remainder criticizing the book’s conclusions, namely, that the great depression was created by government monetary policy, and was prolonged by government price restraints (floors) that impeded the readjustment of prices and markets. To summarize: Rothbard’s presuppositions concerning the proper methodology of economics have been unacceptable, and so have his conclusions concerning the economic effects (not to mention immoral effects) of State intervention into the economy.

He is also afflicted with another professional weakness: historical curiosity. He continues to involve himself in detailed detours to his professional career as an economist, especially in the area of U.S. history, and worst of all, revisionist U.S. history. He believes that there have been a series of conspiracies against the public welfare—conspiracies that have used the rhetoric of democracy to hide machinations of special-interest groups of power-seekers and monopoly-seekers. These conspirators have invariably used the State to achieve evil goals.

Then he takes it one step farther, thereby committing the ultimate academic faux pas: he believes that the State can be used only to attain evil goals. It is not simply that conspirators have used (and continue to use) the State to do evil against the public welfare; it is that to use the State in any way is automatically to become a conspirator against the public welfare.

Then he compounds this indiscretion; in his popular writings, he uses pejorative adjectives. For example, it is difficult to imagine a Rothbard article dealing with any aspect of the modern welfare-warfare State in which he fails to tag at least one monopoly-milking participant or policy with the adjective “monstrous.” This is considered bad form among the academics. People are supposed to be given a legitimate benefit of the doubt. Rothbard replies, in effect, “Not when it’s impossible to doubt their illegitimate benefits.” He is especially outraged by the whole Progressive movement (1890-1918), the movement which dominated American politics in the era in which the State became the supposed engine of public welfare in the United States. He concludes that the Progressives’ rhetoric of democracy was in fact a vast smoke screen for massive theft by the State’s newly trusted beneficiaries. In short, he concludes, the Progressive movement was monstrous.

Then, just to make sure that his exile to the academic fringe is secured, he argues that the almost universal hostility of scholars to conspiracy theories of history is basic to the growing of the State.

It is also particularly important for the State to make its rule seem inevitable: even if its reign is disliked, as it often is, it will then be met with the passive resignation expressed in the familiar coupling of “death and taxes.” One method is to bring to its side historical determinism: if X-State rules us, then this has to be inevitably decreed for us by the Inexorable Laws of History (or the Divine Will, or the Absolute, or the Material Productive Forces), and nothing that any puny individuals may do can change the inevitable. It is also important for the State to inculcate in its subjects an aversion to any outcropping of what is now called “a conspiracy theory of history.” For a search for “conspiracies,” as misguided as the results often are, means a search for motives, and an attribution of individual responsibility for the historical misdeeds of ruling elites. If, however, tyranny or venality or aggressive war imposed by the State was brought about not by particular State rulers but by mysterious and arcane “social forces,” or by the imperfect state of the world—or if, in some way, everyone was guilty (“We are all murderers,” proclaims a common slogan), then there is no point in anyone’s becoming indignant or rising up against such misdeeds.

Goodbye, Nobel Prize.

                                                   Out of Touch

It is not simply his economic conclusions that have sealed his fate with the Nobel Committee, as well as the with his professional colleagues. It is also his commitment to the methodological past. It is not simply that he is a self-conscious apriorist; Marxists are apriorists, too. Thomas Kuhn has made one variant of apriorism nearly respectable. Rothbard’s problem is that he forthrightly follows in Mises’s a priori footsteps, an indication that he is behind the times. It is not simply that he is arguing that everyone has to make a series of unprovable fundamental assumptions about the way the world works, and then he must necessarily interpret all factual evident in terms of these “pre-theoretical” assumptions. It is rather that Rothbard argues that there are assumptions concerning human action that are “apodictically certain” (to use Mises’s phrase)—assumptions about human action that are inescapably true at all times. The economist, says Rothbard, is supposed to use these axioms to interpret historical events and statistical data. Rothbard is therefore a non-relativistic apriorist. He claims to have found truth, in an era in which scholars are supposed to be professionally limited to the mere quest for truth.
This backward-looking proclivity on Rothbard’s part is indicative of his disrespectful attitude—not disrespectful toward the dead, but disrespectful toward the trendy. If one is an economist, one should respect present academic trends. To be “with it” is always best in the eyes of the profession. Being “with it” is indicated in part by textbook royalties and in part by the publication of zero-price articles in professional journals. The articles are officially more important, but the textbooks are unofficially more important. The articles prove that an economist is a professional, but nobody actually reads them—and nobody is expected to. The textbook proves that an economist is accepted, thereby reducing the likelihood of the author’s deviant ideology. (“Nobody ever got fired for assigning Samuelson’s Economics.” And its corollary: “Nobody ever got fired because he hadn’t read Samuelson’s Foundations of Economic Analysis.”)

Officially, textbooks are considered to be inferior scientific production.7 Nevertheless, high textbook royalties are considered a test of competence. Understand, textbook royalties are not the same as book royalties. Book royalties are always highly suspect by professional economists, because people voluntarily buy books. A sincere professional is not to appeal to the off-campus rabble, after all. Textbooks are completely different from books. Textbooks are assigned by professionals to students who would not read them under any known stimulus other than the fear of flunking out of school. Thus, it is the profession, not the rabble, which determines textbook royalties. Textbooks are “in”; books are “out” (ceteris paribus).

                                       Galbraith and Rothbard

John Kenneth Galbraith has fallen afoul of this unwritten rule, even though the profession generally approves of his many conclusions regarding the necessity of State action to improve the performance of the economy. A lot of clicking of tongues and throat-clearing goes on behind closed professional doors when Galbraith’s name is mentioned. Sometimes it is done in public, as when UCLA Professor William R. Allen publicly resigned his membership in the American Economic Association because Galbraith was elected president (an honorary position) one year. He alienates his professional colleagues when he writes that “only someone who is decently confusing can be respected” by his peers and by the public, and then goes on to assert, almost Mises-like, that “In the case of economics there are no important propositions that cannot, in fact, be stated in plain language.“

Galbraith is a lot like Rothbard in many ways, especially stylistically. He writes clearly. He writes real books. He has not written a professional journal article in decades. He never wrote a textbook. He uses ridicule in his speeches and essays. He is also a bit of a conspiracy theorist, even going so far as to publish the details of otherwise private meetings of those who make plans for the rest of us. Most of all, he shuns mathematics. He even wrote that the reason why mathematics is employed extensively by economists is primarily sociological, not methodological. Mathematics is in fact a guild screening device. “The oldest problem in economic education is how to exclude the incompetent.” Mathematical competency is therefore “a highly useful screening device.” Worse, he said this in a mass-market paperback book.”

This was not such a revolutionary statement in itself. Former Austrian economist Fritz Machlup had written a decade earlier: “Even if some of us think that one can study social sciences without knowing higher mathematics, we should insist on making calculus and mathematical statistics absolute requirements—as a device for keeping away the weakest students.” But Machlup had said this in a presidential address to a regional economics society, not in a mass-market paperback book.

But then Galbraith went too far—way, way too far. He displayed some of the profession’s dirtiest linen in public. He blew the whistle on the guild’s professional journals. He admitted the following in a footnote—worse, a footnote not at the back of the book, where few people would read it, but at the bottom of the page, where anyone might read it: “The layman may take comfort from the fact that the most esoteric of this material is not read by other economists or even by the editors who publish it. In the economics profession the editorship of a learned journal not specialized in econometrics or mathematical statistics is a position of only moderate prestige. It is accepted, moreover, that the editor must have a certain measure of practical judgment. This means that he is usually unable to read the most prestigious contributions which, nonetheless, he must publish. So it is the practice of the editor to associate with himself a mathematical curate who passes on this part of the work whose word he takes. A certain embarrassed silence covers the arrangement.”

Like Galbraith, Rothbard has never written a textbook. Worse, he has not written professional journal articles since the early 1960s. He has written books instead. He has not honored the rules of the scientific game. Books are written for people, not scientists. A scientist writes articles, not books. Kuhn comments with respect to the natural sciences: “No longer will his researches usually be embodied in books addressed, like Franklin’s Experiments … on Electricity or Darwin’s Origin of Species, to anyone who might be interested in the subject matter of the field. Instead they will usually appear as brief articles addressed only to professional colleagues, the men whose knowledge of a shared paradigm can be assumed and who prove to be the only ones able to read the papers addressed to them.”

Clearly, Rothbard and Galbraith are professionally out of touch. But Galbraith’s conclusions were far more acceptable to non-economists who publish the popular literary magazines and books. The royalty money poured in. Rothbard had to content himself with being readable, even though not that many people read what he wrote. Neither scholar was professionally “with it,” but Galbraith was ideologically “with it,” and that made a lot of financial difference.

                                                     Pioneers

The only professional excuse for not being “with it” is being dead. A few people are granted posthumous recognition by the economics profession because they were “pioneers.” But the Nobel Committee does not award prizes posthumously. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the Nobel Committee hates pioneers—not just the economics subcommittee, but the whole Nobel Prize establishment. In any case, the Nobel Committee only awards its prizes to living figures. (Some of us were more than a little suspicious when F.A. Hayek received the Nobel Prize for 1974, the year after the death of Ludwig von Mises, who provided Hayek with his major economic theorems, and for which Hayek was awarded the prize. Admittedly, Hayek put these ideas into a form which was more acceptable to “scientific economists.” For example, in his youth, he once used six graphs in an essay. Admittedly, he never did it again. Mises, in contrast, never once adopted such tactics to appeal to his peers. He assumed that one graph is worth a thousand methodologically “illegitimate words.)
Am I exaggerating concerning the Nobel Committee’s conservatism? Consider Albert Einstein’s prize in physics. Do you think it was granted for his theory of general relativity, the theory which transformed twentieth-century thinking? Not a chance! He was granted the Prize for his 1905 essay on the photoeffect. The Committee informed him specifically that the award was not being given for his work on relativity. Too controversial, too radical, you understand. Furthermore, he was given the award in 1922 retroactively for 1921, the year in which nobody got the award. Talk about the second-class honor! (“Gee, Al, we have this extra money lying around, so we got to thinking….”) “And then, just to make the whole thing utterly preposterous, it turned out that Einstein’s essay on the photoeffect really was his most revolutionary contribution to pure physics. “It is a touching twist of history that the Committee, conservative by inclination, would honor Einstein for the most revolutionary contribution he ever made to physics.” Mistakes do happen.

Rothbard continues to cite Professor Mises in his writings. This is another totally unacceptable methodological strategy in the eyes of the Nobel Committee. It is acceptable to cite favorably the writings of certain living authorities, but not dead ones, and especially not a dead one whose ideas were rejected by his contemporaries because he was a backward-looking defender of free market institutional arrangements. It is sometimes permissible to announce discoveries that are based on the long-ignored findings of some historical figure, but you are not to base your presentation on the same kinds of evidence that this historical figure offered. You are to dress up your discovery in modern garb, preferably the use of stochastic functions, and then refer briefly in a footnote to the dead originator’s “preliminary but undeveloped findings.” You cannot then be accused of stealing his ideas, nor can you be accused of attempting to revive discarded ideas. Safety first.

Let us consider a recent example. These days the “rational expectations” school is very “in.” (By the time the ink dries on this page, it may be “out.” Fads come and go rapidly in economics.) Keynesian “fine-tuning” of the economy is “out” in the eyes of the younger “comers” in economics.20 What do the rational expectations (“rat-ex”) people say? They say that Keynes did not give sufficient attention to people’s expectations concerning the future. People respond to government economic policies in terms of what they expect in the future, which means that they respond differently than economic planners expect. In other words, Keynes did not take into account human action. But “rat-ex” economics are exceedingly careful not to footnote Mises, Jacob Viner, or Frank H. Knight in their criticism of Keynes, despite the fact that all of the former used similar arguments against him fifty years ago. To cite them favorably would indicate that this sort of argument was well known back in the 1930s and 1940s, implying that their now-tenured and graying colleagues had their heads in the ideological sand for half a century. This would open them up to the standard response of tenured gray-heads: “You are backward-looking and have not fully mastered the tools of modern economic analysis.”

To deflect this sort of criticism, the “rat-ex” proponents dress up their arguments with lots of mathematical symbols. Viner, Knight, and Mises generally wrote in English rather than mathematics. They were “bucking the mathematical trend” in economics, which has increased steadily since the days of Cournot (1838). Bronfenbrenner’s comment seems appropriate: “The question is whether certain of our fellow economists may not have elevated mathematical and statistical virtuosity to the status of ends in themselves.” The “rat-ex” economists are prime examples of this trend. With respect to the previous work of anti-Keynesians of the 1930s, they have adopted the rule set forth by another important philosopher who was also overlooked by the Nobel Committee, the late Satchel Paige: “Don’t look back; something may be gaining on you.”

“To put it bluntly, the secret of success in academic economic circles has as much to do with style as it does with content. This is not a new development; it has ever been true. Murray Rothbard has the unique distinction of being consigned to the professional outer darkness for both the style and content of his writing, an honor he shares with Mises. Mises, however, wrote his first book in 1906 and his most important book, The Theory of Money and Credit, was published in 1912, in the era in which mathematics had not yet triumphed in economic discourse. Rothbard’s stubbornness in writing exclusively in English can be viewed by his academic peers as perverse intransigence, rather than a mere stylistic carryover from a now-bygone era. Mises had an excuse; Rothbard doesn’t. Besides, Mises is dead; Rothbard isn’t.

                                                Poor Timing

So, from the start of his career, Rothbard was stylistically condemned and methodologically condemned, and his conclusions were also condemned. Now, just for the record, let us consider the words, “from the start of his career.” Consider when Rothbard’s Ph.D. was granted by Columbia University. He entered the academic world of New York City, where in those days he was determined to remain, in the not-too-promising year of 1956. It was the Eisenhower era, and the Keynesian Revolution was consolidating its hold on every university in the land, with the exception of the University of Chicago, which was steadily falling under Milton Friedman’s influence. Rothbard’s commitment to Austrian economics was even more of an anomaly in 1956 than it is now. The post-Keynesian interest in neo-Austrianism was two decades away.

The least opportune time to challenge an academic guild is during its consolidation phase. You need to do it during its self-doubt phase, when younger scholars and innovative outsiders to the guild are asking hard questions that the prevailing paradigms of the guild can no longer handle. Perhaps the paradigms could never handle these questions, but few people were asking the tough questions, or at least few people inside the guild were listening. But when observable reality presses against the guild’s paradigms, members can no longer suppress inquisitiveness along paths that were previously unexplored or even unofficially (but nonetheless effectively) roadblocked.

For example, the great depression smashed the paradigms of non-Austrian free market neoclassical economics, allowing the Keynesians entry into the fold, and the success of the post-war economic recovery seemed to validate the Keynesian vision of a depression-free economy. The Full Employment Act of 1946 was considered a landmark for the Keynesians and a tombstone for the pre-Keynesian neoclassical school. Walter Heller, the Chairman of President Kennedy’s Council of Economic Advisors, modestly refereed to it as “the nation’s economic Magna Carta.” The Kennedy years were understood as the crown of glory to the Keynesian (Samuelson) synthesis. The coronation came in the December 31, 1965 issue of Time: “U.S. Business in 1965.” It was a lengthy story on how Keynesian economic policies have brought permanent prosperity tot he United States. It even quoted Milton Friedman: “We are all Keynesians now.”

That was the high-water mark. As Hegel said (somewhere or other): “The owl of Minerva flies only at dusk.” The intellectual capstone of an era becomes its tombstone. The “great inescapable truths” that govern historical reality are delivered to a self-confident world just about the time that the confidence begins to erode. So it was with Dr. Heller. The next year, 1966, brought the beginning of the Keynesian price inflation. Gardner Ackley, President Johnson’s chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, had put it well at the end of 1965: “We’re learning to live with prosperity, and frankly, we don’t know as much about managing prosperity as getting us there.”

Nevertheless, Walter Heller remained confident, one of the truly high-flying owls of his day. “Economics has come of age in the 1960s,” he announced in the opening sentence of page one of his 1966 book. “The economist ‘arrived’ on the New Frontier and is firmly entrenched in the Great Society.” But that’s not all, folks!

The significance of the great expansion of the 1960s lies not only in its striking statistics of employment, income, and growth but in its glowing promise of things to come. If we can surmount the economic pressures of Vietnam without later being trapped into a continuing war on inflation when we should again be fighting economic slack, the “new economics” can move us steadily toward the qualitative goals that lie beyond the facts and figures of affluence.

The promise of modern economic policy, managed with an eye to maintaining prosperity, subduing inflation, and raising the quality of life, is indeed great. And although we have made no startling conceptual breakthroughs in economics in recent years, we have, more effectively than ever before, harnessed the existing economics—the economics that has been taught in the nation’s college classrooms for some twenty years—to the purposes of prosperity, stability, and growth.

But the record of the 1961-1966 experience in putting modern economics to work is not to be read solely in the statistics of sustained expansion or in critics confounded. An important part of the story is a new flexibility in the economic thinking of both liberals and conservatives. Both have been dislodged from their previously entrenched positions, their ideological foxholes, by the force of economic circumstance and the impact of policy success.

Into this era of “non-ideological” confidence came Murray Rothbard, Ph.D. in hand, the most ideologically committed zero-State academic economist on earth. He faced an entrenched guild which was convinced of its own wisdom, its own openness, and its own flexibility. Of course, flexibility did not mean absolute flexibility. It meant an open welcome to those who defended flexibility, and an inflexibly closed door to those who did not. Heller’s language revealed just how “open” he was: “In political economics, the day of the Neanderthal Man—indeed, the day of the pre-Keynesian Man—is dead.” Somehow, the vision of Murray Rothbard, hunched over, dressed in animal skins, club over his shoulder, and dragging Joey by her hair back to his cave, seems a bit far-fetched, but this is the image Heller wanted to convey to the public. This was the proper mental image concerning “doctrinaire” economists. Their day was over. In 1966.

The success of expansionary policy, then, especially in the form of the tax cut, has undermined the position and thinned the ranks of the dug-in doctrinaire on both the left and the right. Minds have opened, and the area of common ground has grown. Doubters, disbelievers, and dissenters remain. Some vaguely feel it’s “too good to be true.” Others cling to beliefs too long cherished to flee before mere facts. But they are increasingly outside the main body of economic policy consensus.

It was too good to be true. What followed was at least mildly disturbing to the faithful Keynesian victors: the price inflation and rising interest rates of 1968-69, the recession of 1969-71, back-to-back federal deficits of $25 billion each (big money in those days) in 1971 and 1972, the price and wage controls of 1971-73, the recession of 1975, the coming of double-digit price inflation in 1978-80, the worst recession(s) in 40 years in 1980, and 1981-82, and the $200 billion annual federal deficits after 1982. These unpleasant events did not fit the glowing Keynesian paradigm. It has become the Keynesians’s turn to experience academic and professional barbs quite similar to those experienced by the tenured economists of 1938. The “young Turks” started raising doubts about everything that stalwart “non-ideological” men had always held sacred. They started calling into question both the theories and alleged successes of the Keynesian synthesis. Gray hair once again became a distinct liability in the economics classroom. By 1972, the Union for Radical Political Economics (New Left, Marxists) was growing fast on campuses throughout the U.S., indicating an end to “the end of ideology.” By 1975, a new group of young, bright neo-Austrian economists at last surfaced. By 1980, they had become influential in one local university, George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia, on the very edge of Washington, D.C.

But some things do not change, certainly not old tunes sung by aging economists. There was Walter Heller, in the middle of Jimmy Carter’s economic debacle, writing such essays as “Balanced Budget Fallacies” (Wall Street Journal, March 16, 1979) and “An Anti-Inflationary Tax Cut” (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 2, 1979). The Full Employment Act of 1946 had become the Magna Carter. Yet Heller continued to issue the Keynesians’s S.O.S.: Same Old Solutions. Who had become the Neanderthal Man by 1979? Galbraith’s 1973 comment is correct—ironically delivered to the press at the meeting of the American Economic Association at which Heller had become president-elect: “Economists, like generals, usually fight the last war. On great matters they’re like the gooney bird—it flies backward to see where it came from.”

The problem facing Murray Rothbard in 1956 was that he was on the wrong side of the trade in the academic pit, selling Keynesianism short while the market boomed upward for almost two decades. By the time the Keynesian market had begun to slide, in the mid-1970s, he was 50 years old.40 This is not to say that he had been wasting his time for two decades. He helped influence a group of younger economists, just as Mises had guided him: not as a grade-granting professor in some prestigious graduate school, but at his informal private seminars. Mises at least had received some formal recognition, for the William Volker Fund had supported him at New York University, and had provided scholarship money for some of his students. At least Mises had been given the opportunity to have formal graduate-level lectures every Monday evening (1945-1964), as well as a graduate seminar on Thursday evenings (1948-1969). Rothbard did not have even this much formal recognition. Mises was granted only “visiting professor” status for 24 years in a third-rate university which was staffed overwhelmingly with nonentities. Rothbard wound up teaching at Brooklyn Polytechnic, where there is no graduate program in economics, or even an undergraduate degree in economics.

                                 Pariahs and Scientific Revolutions

Why bring up these unattractive details in a Festschrift! Because, first, they were the facts of academic life in the post-war era, up until the 1970s. Second, because they illustrate an ignored side of the history of economics—indeed, the history of scientific breakthroughs generally: the fact that the revolutionaries who set the academic agenda usually do it outside the classroom.

The modern university curriculum would be very different without the contributions of Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein, three humanist Jews and a hypochondriac, none of whom was welcome in a major university during his lifetime. Darwin was too sick and weak to teach, but no university ever asked him. Dr. Marx held only temporary editing jobs, always just before the authorities shut down his periodicals, and for his whole life he was shunned by academic world. (Engels put him on the dole for the last 20 years of his life.) Freud was not asked to teach at the University of Vienna, despite his world-famous reputation. (Mises suffered the same fate as Freud: the University of Vienna ignored him.) Einstein was a clerk in the Swiss patent office when he made his major theoretical breakthroughs, including his essay on the photoeffect. Yet the textbook scholars who occupy today’s college classrooms wind up building their lectures around Darwin and his heirs, or Marx and his heirs, or Freud and his heirs, or Einstein and his heirs. (If classroom economists were smarter, they would pay more attention to Mises and his heirs.)

My point is simple: those who make revolutionary intellectual breakthroughs generally get into major university classrooms only posthumously. I write this to cheer up Murray Rothbard on his 60th birthday. Think of all he has to look forward to after he is dead. But he can forget about the Nobel Prize. It is not awarded posthumously.

Rothbard became the leader, at least for a decade, of younger scholars who were not impressed with Keynesianism, Marxism, or the University of Chicago’s monetarism. This is not to say that they adopted his entire approach to economics, any more than he adopted Mises’s entire approach. Mises was a self-conscious Kantian; Rothbard regards himself as an Aristotelian. Mises was a nineteenth-century classical liberal who wrote favorably concerning military conscription during wartime. To make his position clear, he added these words to Human Action in the 1963 edition: “He who in our age opposes armaments and conscription is, perhaps unbeknownst to himself, an abettor of those aiming at the enslavement of all.”

Rothbard opposes not only the conscripting State but also every non-conscripting State. Mises wanted free banking without government interference; Rothbard wants 100% reserve banking mandated by …? (This one has always baffled me. Private law courts, I suppose.) Mises was an ethical utilitarian; Rothbard is a natural rights absolutist. Rothbard is not happy with the “hermeneutics” of the younger neo-Austrian scholars who have followed Ludwig Lachmann and G. L. S. Shackle into their kaleidic universe of entrepreneurial indeterminism, but that is the way of academic life. Students do not always develop in ways hoped for by teachers.

Rothbard published three economics books in 1962 and 1963: The Panic of 1819, his doctoral dissertation; Man, Economy, and State, his magnum opus; and America’s Great Depression. Columbia University Press published the first, and it was well received in the journals. Like most monographs, it sank without a trace. The other two were openly ideological, and were not well received, but for a generation of neo-Austrian readers who did not begin with Mises’s fat tomes, these books were vital, especially Man, Economy, and State. They opened up Mises’s deductivist and subjectivist economics to necessarily self-taught students who found Mises’s less structured presentations foreboding. In a movement which could survive only by the printed word, Rothbard wrote the clearest words available.

The question is: Can the Austrian school make a comeback? Can it become the wave of the future, despite its position as a trickle out of the past? One hopeful sign is its growing popularity in non-professional circles. Perhaps a dozen or more “hard money” newsletter writers officially claim to be followers of Austrianism. Even more impressive is the heavy reliance Paul Johnson placed on Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression in his eloquent history of the twentieth century, Modern Times. He follows Rothbard’s narrative concerning the causes of the great depression and those who made it possible.

But what about inside the profession? Will a generation of younger economists embrace Austrianism? It depends on several factors, the most important of which is this: What will voters demand from politicians? If voters finally get fed up with the planned economy, almost certainly because the planners have created an economic catastrophe, then today’s odd-ball economic theories may gain a hearing, if they can be put into the common man’s language. Here, in my view, is the soft underbelly of today’s orthodox economists. With few exceptions, their ideas cannot simultaneously be defended academically and popularly. Without his graphs and equations, the conventional economist is about as effective as Superman in a Kryptonite mine. Liquidity preference will not play in Peoria. Neither will government-mandated 3% to 5% steady monetary growth forever.

What am I arguing is that revolutions in economic thought are not endogenous variables within the economics profession; they are exogenous variables. Economists will supply professionally acceptable evidence for whatever line of argument is selling well to those who pay economists’ salaries. Furthermore, few of them are entrepreneurs. They are not going to prepare for the next ideological wave which hits the public and the politicians. Thus, remarkable opportunities for pure entrepreneurial profit now exist. When the bad stuff hits the stochastic fan next time, the present occupants of the endowed chairs will offer the public a choice of deodorizers, not shovels. I think that the real market will be in shovels.

If the Austrian economic tradition should survive intact despite its present methodological disintegration, and if it should eventually gain the foothold on campus which it has never really enjoyed, then much of the credit (with 100% reserves, of course) will have to go to Rothbard’s essays in persuasion. This scientific revolution, should it come, will have been produced by Mises, who was denied a full professorship for over six decades, except for six years in Geneva (1934-40), by F. A. Hayek, who suspects he was blackballed in secret session by the University of Chicago’s economics department, and by Murray Rothbard, who has been denied formal access to graduate students throughout his career.

                                                  Nobel Prize-Losing Insights

What are Rothbard’s unique major intellectual contributions? Economists will differ. To some of them I return year after year, without which I would be substantially impoverished. Others are curiosities, but delightfully outrageous socialist balloon-poppers. Each one is worth a professional journal article, except that Murray refuses to write professional journal articles.

  1. The impossibility of applying the calculus (infinitely small steps) to human action.
  2. The impossibility of total utility
  3. The relevance of choice and the irrelevance of indifference curves.
  4. The impossibility of a universal vertical monopoly (not economic calculation).
  5. Neighborhood and even household tariffs (”Buy Jones!”).
  6. The distinction between entrepreneurship (overcoming uncertainty) and gambling (deliberately created risk).
  7. Who bears the tax burden of sales taxes (not just consumers).
  8. Tax exemptions are not implicit subsidies. 
  9. The nonsense of “the ability to pay” arguments.
  10. The non-neutrality of any known tax.
  11. Bureaucrats pay no taxes.
  12. The refutation of the single tax.
  13. Bribery as a market tool.

“Consider his critique of economic reasoning based on the indifference curves. This is the selected approach of Sir John Hicks and his followers. Hicks, it should be recalled, was the co-winner of the Nobel Prize in 1972. Rothbard wrote in 1956: “Indifference can never be demonstrated by action. Quite the contrary. Every action necessarily signifies a choice, and every choice signifies a definite preference. Action specifically implies the contrary of indifference.… If a person is really indifferent between two alternatives, then he cannot and will not choose between them. Indifference is therefore never relevant for action and cannot be demonstrated in action.” (Notice this early use of italics. He was afflicted at age 30.)

But it is not simply his general statement of the problem of indifference cures which sticks in the mind. It is his classic examples.

The indifference theorists have two basic defenses of the role of indifference in real action. One is to cite the famous fable of Buridan’s Ass. This is the “perfectly rational” ass who demonstrates indifference by standing, hungry, equidistant from two equally attractive bales of hay. Since the two bales are equally attractive in every way, the ass can choose neither one, and starves therefore. This example is supposed to indicate how indifference can be revealed in action. It is, of course, difficult to conceive of an ass, or a person, who could be less rational. Actually, he is not confronted with two choices but with three, the third being to starve where he is. Even on the theorists’ own grounds, this third choice will be ranked lower than the other two on the individual’s value-scale. He will not choose starvation.

Buridan’s Ass has been in the economic literature since the late-medieval scholastic era. If nothing else, Murray Rothbard ought to go down in history as the economist who at last, after 600 years, kicked Buridan’s Ass into action.

                                                               Conclusion

There are a lot of articles I would like Murray Rothbard to write. There is a lot of foundational work which still needs his insightful efforts, if only to clear up lingering confusions and doubts. I would list the following possibilities, just in case he has a lot of extra time on his hands:

1. If the economist cannot make interpersonal comparisons of subjective utility (Lionel Robbins’s 1932 position, before Roy Harrod got him to capitulate in 1938), as Rothbard insists, then how can he be certain that “the free market maximizes social utility”? What is “social utility” in an epistemological world devoid of interpersonal aggregates?

2. If “in human action there are no quantitative constants,” and therefore no index number is legitimate, then how can we say that monetary inflation produces price inflation? What is price inflation without an index number? What is an index number without interpersonal aggregation?

3. If we cannot define “social utility,” or price inflation, then how can we know that “money, in contrast to all other useful commodities employed in production or consumption, does not confer a social benefit when its supply increases”? How can we legitimately say anything about the aggregate entity, “social benefit”?

4. If we also cannot make intertemporal comparisons of personal subjective utility, let alone intertemporal comparisons of social utility, how can we avoid the seeming nihilism of the Lachmann-Shackle “Impregnable self-contained isolation”?

5. If it is illegitimate to use the calculus in economics, because its infinitesimal gradations are not relevant to human action, should we continue to use Euclidian lines in our expositions of economics? Why not use discrete dots or small circles to replace Alfred Marshall’s famous scissors?

6. If Mises’s methodological construct of the Evenly Rotating Economy hypothesizes a world in which all participants have perfect fore-knowledge, thereby denying the possibility of human action, how can such a mental construct (“ideal type”) serve as a useful guide to the realm of human action? How can the zero-human action world of “equilibrium” be related logically to the real world of human action?

With respect to the decision by the Nobel Committee concerning future answers to these questions, there need be no sense of urgency. There is plenty of time. Don’t call them; they’ll call you.

Just like they called Mises.

by Gary North. Man, Economy and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard (1989) by Walter Block and Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., pp. 89-109 

(references and footnotes have been removed by me)

washingtonpost.com
The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment
Just add five words, says former justice John Paul Stevens.

“When I joined the court in 1975, that holding was generally understood as limiting the scope of the Second Amendment to uses of arms that were related to military activities. During the years when Warren Burger was chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge or justice expressed any doubt about the limited coverage of the amendment, and I cannot recall any judge suggesting that the amendment might place any limit on state authority to do anything.

Organizations such as the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and mounted a vigorous campaign claiming that federal regulation of the use of firearms severely curtailed Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Five years after his retirement, during a 1991 appearance on “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” Burger himself remarked that the Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

I’m not sure I agree with Stevens that there’s a way to ‘fix” the second amendment, but this piece, written in 2014, lays out how judicial decisions on 2nd amendment rights have contributed to a rise in gun violence by preventing legislatures from being able to pass any meaningful gun control.

anonymous asked:

Could you explain how college payments work? Like grants, scholarships, loans, ect. All I know is loans are bad and scholarships are good.

Hello!

For most colleges and universities in the US, scholarships are funds given to you by the school, a company, a special interest group, or any place really, that you don’t have to pay back. Sometimes this will be enough to cover just tuition, sometimes it’ll be enough to cover tuition and living expenses. Scholarships are usually offered on merit or need based systems. Merit based means that they grant them based on your academic/extracurricular performance. They don’t care how much your parents make. Need based means that they award them to you based on how much they think you can pay based on what your parents make. Most colleges offer both!

A grant is just a general term for money that is given by the government or federal service, as far as I’m aware. An example would be the FAFSA, or money given by the government to students. Often, this includes money you don’t have to pay back (i.e. the grant itself), work study, and loans that you do have to pay back.

A loan is money that you can take out from the bank or the government that you have to pay back. This can be either through FAFSA, as mentioned, or from a bank. You will have to pay interest on these funds starting from when you graduate. I wouldn’t say that loans are bad. Millions of students rely on them to pay for college. But, the fact that you have to pay it back means that you are accumulating debt, and debt can grow over time as interest accumulates.

Definitely apply for both! Scholarships first, then loans if you need. See if there’s anyone at your school, like a college advisor, who can help!

Also check out this recent ask about scholarships!– Mimi

Hellenic Polytheism 105: Patron Deities

What is a Patron Deity in Hellenism?

In Hellenism a patron deity is one who holds domain over a specific area, career, or group of people. 

That typically means that They have a special interest in that specific group of people as defined by the domain, and may offer protection and guidance to them. They’re also the default go-to deity for petitions involving that domain.

Rather than being an indicator of a particularly close relationship with a deity, or an indicator that you devote an extra amount of time and effort to Their worship, the word patron is used in Hellenism to indicate that a deity holds domain over an area of your life. You may still have a particularly close relationship with a patron, but that’s not the immediate implication.

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I mean I can pull a card from politics and show how good people with good intentions come up with policies that are wildly unpopular because they’re based on surveys that poll only specific special interest groups that represent a tiny minority overall.  IntSys didn’t do that.  They followed sales numbers and matched to popular, current games (that are recognizable, marketable, etc.).  If they had done what you (or I, admittedly) would have done, they would have made that mistake.  Old fans are a minority now.  Ballooning your user base by 200%, 300% over a handful of games and then not delivering content relatable to that market is bad business, especially in a crossover.  Like we can debate for years whether the pinnacle of Male Mage representation is Lewyn, Soren, Odin, or Boey, but it doesn’t matter because the first two are irrelevant to most newcomers.  Making a roster that pulls heavily from older games would be pandering.  It’s nice when you’re in the special interest group, and it’s stupid and annoying when you’re outside.

There is no ideal roster.  It’s impossible.  You have to trade compromise function, recognition, variety, and design.  For every someone that says, “I wish Xander had been replaced with Marcus”, there are three who don’t know who Marcus is, and you make that trade-off if you switch.  Several million people recognize Xander, so he’s your top pick for horseman.  Breadth of appeal is important.

I say all this as someone who spent a disproportionate amount of time and energy hoping that there would be a particular cat laguz in the game.

A counterpoint to everyone looking the same, functionally: I imagine this only holds on the surface.  Just going off of HW, there were….a dozen swords, in total?  Link, Impa, Zelda, Young Link, Zant, Ghirahim, Ganondorf, Toon Link, Tetra, and probably others I’m forgetting.  I can assure you, they all play very differently.  Young Link chains his boosted form for high-damage combos by converting special gauge to magic, while Ghirahim “tags” enemies to get extra hitboxes in their vicinity and Ganon’s heavies charge an AoE attack.  Believe me, there’s plenty of space to fill distinct fighting styles even within the limitations of “sword”.  And unlike HW, FEW offers new varieties, like “sword on a horse” and “sword with wings”.

wrt everything else, believe me, nobody played HW for story.  The gameplay is the primary focus, by far.  Because after a certain point, everything becomes a grind to get the skills and resources needed to pull off the high-difficulty maps, and if you don’t enjoy the gameplay, you never even get to there – you would burn out.

I’m not putting it on myself to change your mind, but I am saying that the scope and perception of these factors as they relate to FEW is more attuned to a traditional RPG rather than a Warriors game, and that a Warriors game should be viewed and factors weighted completely differently.  Story goes to irrelevance when more than 2/3 of the game is postgame challenge maps, graphics are ehhh compared to framerate in an action game, the music is honestly great and there’s probably a little something for everyone if you go looking for it.  If you want, I can tell everyone what I think after it’s in my hands and everyone can update their models accordingly.

Believe me if I play it and I think it’s a steaming pile of dragon dung, I’ll let everyone know.  I’m just not prejudging based on the fact that it isn’t specifically catered to me and my special interest subgroup.

-Silas

a voting skeptic: I find issue when our entire system of governance revolves around choosing between two candidates who bundle a wide range of nuanced policies and issues under a single platform, virtually ensuring that you are forced to elect someone who will exercise political power opposite to your wishes, when for many elections the result is already decided because of decades of gerrymandering and corruption and a bizarre form of voting structure that gives the vast majority of americans a powerless vote based on living in certain states.  I dislike the plethora of lobbyists and special interest groups that are able to fork over more money a day than I will earn in my lifetime, how I am unable to contact my representatives and receive any sort of response whatsoever, and that I am pressured and shamed into thinking that this is anything more than a dystopian smokescreen to keep the masses from demanding actual representation.

me getting my sticker and posting on social media about it: nah

Remember this the next time you tell one of us to play nice with Republicans. This isn’t a meme battle. This is Republicans trying to literally kill, banish, exploit, deport, and impoverish us. Keep up your childish bickering among yourselves while Republicans consolidate power. Promote your own special interest minority group while lashing out randomly at what you believe to be oppressor groups. The deplorable Teapublicans are laughing at our disunity and even have operatives fueling it. It’s not you against the world. It’s the Republicans and their alt-right Nazi/KKK/white supremacists against all of us. If we don’t stick together we will literally be silenced permanently. You won’t be able to criticize the majority soon, you will be dead, deported, jailed, or living in the streets.

This isn’t a game to promote your agenda and slam others. We have a common enemy, a mortal enemy that must be defeated first and foremost.

Don’t criticize me for playing rough with Republicans. They want me and each of you silenced permanently. This is a war for our freedom, for our very survival. Someone has to stand up to them in a way they will understand. You play nice and get trampled, I’m fighting back in no uncertain terms.

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The city where I live (Toronto, Canada) is considering banning all species of pet snakes, (and all species of Monitor lizards). Including my harmless noodles. We already have laws on the books here banning large constrictors like Anaconda and Reticulated Pythons, all lizards larger than three feet, and all venomous and poisonous animals. There’s NO reason for this escalation.

This sweeping ban is based on ignorance, fear, and someone’s personal bias (and probably some special interest groups who want to see all forms of pet ownership banned). 

I pray the Reptile Community here (that numbers in the tens of thousands) all stand up and FIGHT for our right to own our pets. We’ve already lost the right to own certain kinds of dogs (’pit bull-types), most invertebrates, and all the bigger lizards and snakes commonly kept elsewhere. There IS a war on Pet Ownership, and it’s spreading. All of us who responsibly own animals need to FIGHT for our rights, and protect those rights at every turn, and HELP other communities fight bans. Before we all end up living in a cold, dark, pet-less Hell.