Monday, April 2, 2012

Ouch, My Most of Me!!

When I was growing up I faithfully read the comic strip section in the Los Angeles Times.  I remember my grandfather once asked me if they were funny.  I responded that they were...and he asked, "so how come you're not laughing?"

For some time now I've been faithfully reading the Crooked Timber Liberal blog.  So far there have been only two instances where something that I've read has made me actually laugh out loud.  Well...perhaps more like chuckle out loud.  Nothing too maniacal.

Both instances revolved around David Graeber's book on Debt.  The first instance occurred when I read Daniel Davies making a point regarding a wife swapping economy and the second instance occurred today when I read David Graeber's response to all the Crooked Timber Liberals that reviewed his book.  Seminar on Debt: The First 5000 Years – Reply.  Here's the punchline from his response to Henry Farrell's critique (see my post on Economic Fairytales)...
Again—I’m sorry to be rude, but I didn’t start this thing—one really wonders what this has to say about Prof. Farrell’s professional qualifications. After all, he is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations. Prof. Hudson’s work falls under his supposed area of expertise, not mine. Yet I, a lowly anthropologist, managed to figure out pretty easily what Hudson is saying, and Farrell, the man who receives a salary based on his presumed understanding of such matters, comes up with interpretations of Hudson that make the man himself laugh in disbelief.
Did Henry Farrell say "Ouch, my most of me!!" when he read this?  It's probably what I would have reference to Episode 8 of Teen Girl Squad.  "Ouch, my most of me!!" is what you say when your bass guitar turns into a shark and then chomps off more than half of your body...or when somebody lobs a decent insult at you.

Over on the Ron Paul Forums I have my own critics to deal or not deal with.  Probably my most enthusiastic and creative critic is noneedtoaggress.  Here's what he posted in the thread with a decent amount of consequentialist discussion...

"Ouch, my most of me?"...yeah, not so much.  To drive the point home he created a new account on the Ron Paul Forums ("Pragmatarian") and then pretends to be my first follower..."We're All Pragmatarians Now": My Journey to Pragmatarianism.  Interestingly enough...David Graeber's lengthy response had this somewhat relevant tidbit...
This I guess is why I’m a radical, and not a liberal. Don’t get me wrong. Liberals have made magnificent contributions to the world. I might be an anarchist, but I have no desire to see anyone privatize the NHS—nor, interestingly, do any other anarchists I am aware of (though granted, I don’t know many anarcho-capitalists. I suspect it’s because they largely don’t exist, except on the Internet, which is crawling with them.)
This point is a bit confusing isn't it?  David Graeber says he might be an anarchist...but then he goes on to say that he doesn't want to privatize the NHS...unlike the anarcho-capitalists...who only exist on the internet.  Here's the rest of the paragraph...
But this is because as an anarchist, I see states as bureaucracies of violence, and make a distinction between state institutions, and public or better, common institutions, that happen to be run by the state because states rarely allow anyone but themselves to manage collective resources (unless it be for private profit.) There are collective institutions that cannot be run without recourse to violence—where you need to be able to call up the guys with sticks and guns or it all wouldn’t work. There are collective institutions—and I suspect large communal health arrangements are one—that could. I tend to see a collective health system as falling into the latter category so it never occurs to me it should be eliminated, even if currently run by the state.
What does David Graeber think the large majority of anarcho-capitalists crawling around the internet are actually saying?  Perhaps he should read my post on anarcho-capitalism and pragmatarianism.  Here's his conclusion...
What’s important to me is how to do it with as broad an alliance as possible—as anarchists such as myself who have been involved with OWS have consistently tried to do. How to find a common ground to push things further towards a free society, without any sort of consensus of just how far we can ultimately go?
After he reads my post on anarcho-capitalism then he should definitely read this post...Tax Choice - A Strategy for the Occupy Movement.


  1. "To drive the point home he created a new account on the Ron Paul Forums ("Pragmatarian") and then pretends to be my first follower..."

    Actually, no Xero, that account is not mine, but thanks for being so quick to judge. Not so humble about your incomplete knowledge when you drew that conclusion, were you?

    I pointed out when you "quickly skimmed" the OP of a thread's article, as you described, before spamming 3 links to your blog and nearly derailed it within the first few posts. I also explained to someone that you weren't a troll, but that you were oblivious as to how to interact with the people you are attempting to win arguments with, and I posted 2 pictures which had to do with the way you've chosen to interact and how the result ends up alienating rather than convince them to join you.

    The new user account must have been someone else who got tired of your incessant blog spam, derails, one note wonders, and complete and utter lack of etiquette. I honestly don't care enough about you or your pragmatarian crusade to do something like that. If you recall, when I even made that silly blog it was after you were consistently prodding me to start one, so I did as a joke and so I could just post that the next time you asked about it. I just blow off some steam sometimes when I see you pulling obnoxious stunts for attention, which happens often enough it's often hard to avoid. You probably think I hate you or something, but I don't. I just wish you'd get over yourself and conduct yourself better, which would be more conducive of your goals. Interacting with you has left such a horrid taste that I can't look at the word "pragmatarian" without having a negative connotation to it, which is really unfortunate from the perspective of someone whose trying to promote those ideas because I didn't start out with that connotation and I know I'm not the only one with this experience.

    1. "Actually, no Xero, that account is not mine, but thanks for being so quick to judge. Not so humble about your incomplete knowledge when you drew that conclusion, were you?"

      Quick to judge assumes that I'm trying to assign guilt to you. It doesn't bother me one bit that you, or somebody else, created that account. In fact, I think it's pretty darn funny. You're the only one who has done similarly funny things in the I did just assume it was you...not that it matters one iota.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective on my behavior. From my perspective...I do not intentionally do anything obnoxious...but you're certainly not the first to make this observation. The argument that I'm trying to advance is that your perspective should it strikes me as a incongruous when you and other anarcho-capitalists attack my argument.

      Regarding the thread that I "spammed" and "derailed" ...A Libertarian Theory of Enfranchisement...I merely shared my perspective on the topic in a civil way. Rather than copying and pasting pages and pages of discussion and thoughts on the was more efficient for me to link to my relevant blog entries on the subject of voting. Regarding "derailing"...if people were somehow "derailed" by every comment on the internet that they did not find to be valuable... then the train would never even leave the station. As it and Anarcho-Capitalist had no problem ignoring my perspective and moving on with your own exchange of perspectives.'s not so much of mystery why most people do not embrace pragmatarianism...Unglamorous but Important Things. They simply do not understand basic economic concepts. If it was easy for people to understand these concepts then they would have done so long long long before I was even born. Am I doing a good job helping them understand these concepts? Probably not...but from where I stand...I'm certainly making a substantial effort that you should strive to emulate rather than criticize.

      In other words...please feel free to show me how it's done. Once I see you contributing outside of the Ron Paul Forums...sharing important economic concepts with the rest of the people on the internet...then I'll be glad to take notes on your techniques. Well... assuming they're successful of course.