Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Review Of Michael Shermer's The Mind Of The Market

Review Of Michael Shermer's The Mind Of The Market
Skeptics who love Shermer for his skepticism have difficulty with Shermer's libertarianism. Dan Schneider epitomizes this love/hate relationship.

This has been added to the reviews index. I'd welcome pointers to other reviews by critics.

Schneider's review suffers greviously from some of the same faults he finds in Shermer. Most obviously, he says Shermer's book is poorly edited: it is obvious to me that Schneider's review is extremely poorly edited.

That said, when I eventually read Shermer's book, I expect to agree with some of Schneider's points. I like Shermer's skepticism, but with respect to his libertarianism, I'd quote him: "Smart people believe in weird things because they are very good at defending positions they arrived at through non-smart reasons."

82 comments:

James M. Jensen II said...

Yeah, I was floored when I recently discovered that Shermer was a libertarian. I think it's dirty pool of him to use his reputation as an intelligent skeptic to push a very un-skeptical ideology.

You and Kangas were both skeptics and liberals, but to my knowledge, (1) you were both open about both facts, and (2) neither of you ever really tried to use one reputation to push the other.

cosmoetica said...

The review on The Moderate Voice often suffers from some odd incompatability with WORD- here is the piece on my own website, w no problems with apostrophes.

http://www.cosmoetica.com/B650-DES554.htm

For the record, Shermer was going to be interviewed by me re; the book and his career, but when I did not kiss his ass re: the book, he got pissy and canceled.

For a guy who's made a career of debunking others, it's all too predictable that when he gets debunked he takes his marbles and hides. And I could have gone much harder on his ideas than I did, with MANY more examples.

Your quote on his self-justifications is a good one.

Mike said...

As someone who used to be a libertarian, I can tell you being a skeptic will likely cause you to leave that ideology behind. There's too much quasi-religious nonsense you have to swallow. And Shermer surprised me with just that, especially his almost religious reverence for the "invisible hand" concept.

john said...

It's funny to see you guys get worked up when you discover that a guy with a fetish for attacking intelligent design, Holocaust denial, U.F.O.'s (and other nonsense that no serious person believes anyway) get all worked up to find out that he has committed heresy. All that aside, though, skepticism is really a bedrock principle of serious libertarian scholarship. A good suggestion would be to get out of the sandbox and read Richard Epstein's "Skepticism and Freedom."

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James M. Jensen II said...

@john: I for one don't think he committed heresy. I just think he's being dishonest: he's sold himself as a pillar of rationality so that he can push his own pet causes. As I now think essentially all skeptics do to some extent. We're all human.

What does burn badly about Shermer is that (a) he's looked to as an authority on Skepticism, and (b) judging by this review, he really pulls some boners in the book. He appeals to outdated authorities, tries to force false dichotomies (capitalism OR socialism, with no middle ground), and relies on economic theories with about as much evidence supporting them as Freudian psychoanalysis.

I don't take issue with the idea that libertarianism can be skeptical. But Shermer's variety doesn't seem to be at all.

john said...

I haven't read the book, and it doesn't sound like anyone here has either. The review was borderline incomprehensible at times and, of course, guilty of the same errors and false dichotomies that Shermer is accused of having made -- and also quite common among that "anti-libertarian" contigent who really doesn't even understand capitalism anyway. I don't know if that is the fault of the reviewer or his subject matter (probably both) but Mike has always had a penchant for finding and linking to every piece of anti-libertarian claptrap he can find on the web. I don't exactly consider that to be indicative of a skeptical worldview - but then again, I dont define "skepticism" as the wholesale adoption or rejection of a certain political predisposition.

cosmoetica said...

John:

'The review was borderline incomprehensible at times and, of course, guilty of the same errors and false dichotomies that Shermer is accused of having made'

What was incomprehensible, and show a single false dichotomy.

Mike Huben said...

Let me get the gist of your criticism, John.

Nobody else can live up to the standards of your giant intellect, but you're not going to be bothered with specific, defensible criticisms backed with examples or quotes.

Please let us know when you understand the basics of argument. If you want, there's a section of my site devoted to that.

Oh, BTW, here's another howler of yours:
... skepticism is really a bedrock principle of serious libertarian scholarship.
The clear counterexample is the vast libertarian literature based on natural rights (from libertarians such as Nozick, and Boaz), which skeptics from Hobbes to Epstein to Shermer think are "nonsense on stilts".

James M. Jensen II said...

I agree with cosmoetica. The review was poorly edited (as Mike pointed out) but quite readable. And I can't remember a single forced dichotomy in it, either. If there was one, please point it out.

cosmoetica said...

James, the review was not edited poorly. The blog, TMV, has had issues switching between hosting services, and my review came up at a switch time, for which my WORD doc's pasting was likely incompatible. As I had no comments left no editor likely saw the poor edit and simply its sits.

James M. Jensen II said...

@cosmoetica: Oh, ok. I figured smart quotes and such were the cause of the weird markings.

I apologize for sounding so harsh. The writing style was not to my personal taste, but it certainly wasn't wrong.

john said...

Incomprehensible: "What The Mind Of The Market is, in reality, is a secular humanist manifesto that bizarrely tries to wrangle that idea onto a foundation of economic sophistry. Why? That's not the purview of a critic; only how successful the writer is in that exercise has any bearing. ...it is also, at its center, a screed, in the positive- a lengthy discourse, and negative- a rant, senses of the term, and, as such, perhaps the most effective and provocative screed since The Bell Curve's defense of racism, in that both were designed to foment argument, and this does it well enough to be recommended as a read, even if substantively, it's mediocre philosophy, and about as convincing as Whitley Streiber's Communion books are in making sane readers believe millions of humans are being kidnapped by extraterrestrials."

To be fair, it is not entirely the author's fault. His writing skills are just plain bad. I suspect he probably never took an undergraduate composition class.

False Dichotomy: "World economics, as shown since World War Two, requires true moderation to succeed, because the extremes appeal to the worst in the human animal- Capitalism to greed and myopia (see global warming), and Communism to laziness (see they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work)."

Mike Huben said...

And here's where John learns that a quote and an accusation is not sufficient: you need an argument as well.

The excerpt you quote, John, is an example of where a good editor would have helped: it has an egregious run-on sentence. But that doesn't make it incomprehensible, unless you are perhaps handicapped by a snotty aversion to minor errors. It communicates quite well.

Your example of a false dichotomy also fails blatantly because the word "extremes" does not imply a dichotomy, but a continuum.

Apparently you're the one with the problem. If you fail at basic reading comprehension, it's not Dan's fault.

cosmoetica said...

First:

John ran fast. Pete ran faster.

Two simple sentences. Here is the sentence as a run-on.

John ran fast Pete ran faster.

A run-on for poor punctuation.

Here is a complex sentence:

John ran fast; Pete ran faster.

So, before you guys start embarrassing yourselves, learn basic grammar. There are no run-on sentences, egregious or not. There are complex sentences, but none that are incomprehensible.

Unless, John your reading comprehension skills are as bad as your grammatical knowledge.

Also, you obviously need to look at a dictionary, for the thing you quote is not a dichotomy:

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/dichotomy

1: a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities -the dichotomy between theory and practice-; also : the process or practice of making such a division -dichotomy of the population into two opposed classes-2: the phase of the moon or an inferior planet in which half its disk appears illuminated3 a: bifurcation; especially : repeated bifurcation (as of a plant's stem) b: a system of branching in which the main axis forks repeatedly into two branches c: branching of an ancestral line into two equal diverging branches4: something with seemingly contradictory qualities -it's a dichotomy, this opulent Ritz-style luxury in a place that fronts on a boat harbor — Jean T. Barrett-

It is a comparison, with a linking thread- the ascription of moderation.

Thus, 1) all should learn basic grammar. It is one thing to disagree with my take on the book's politics and how it subverts Shermer's intended message. We can argue that, but argue it honestly, the way I recommended parts of Shermer's book even if the main argument was absurd. Saying I've run-on sentences where they are complex sentences, or pissing about 'poor editing' where anyone with a knowledge of HTML can see that there is a technical, not editorial problem at the blog, is just a way to cover up one's inability to argue the meat of my claim.

2)Tossing about big words that clearly John lacks a knowledge of is just dick-waving. Either say- or type, something of substance, or go troll elsewhere.

Mike Huben said...

I apologize, Dan; you're right. I checked with my mother (the English teacher), and she agrees with you. When I originally said you needed an editor yourself, it was in particular to fix that sentence. What I had in mind was to break it into simpler sentences to make it more easily readable, whether it was run-on or complex. That would be my stylistic preference, not a rule of grammar. I wasn't referring to the problem with apostrophes.

See, mom, that's why I teach math and not English. :-)

cosmoetica said...

Mike, I assume you do not read Marcel Proust nor Thomas Wolfe, for complex sentences are their staple.

However, many editors at major magazines do not know the diff between complex and run-ons, and, even worse, when commas or semi-colons should be used, nor the difference between a dash and a hyphen.

However, it's apparent from his posts that John is merely being difficult to bust your balls, and my piece is his hammer.

Be a resistant anvil.

BTW- that is a metaphor, John.

john said...

To be fair, I'll concede that the "egregious run on sentence" I cite does indeed "communicate." I wouldn't go as far as Mike to say that it communicates "quite well," but I'll go ahead and stipulate that everyone else here has superior reading comprehension and grammatical skills.

Now that we've put that point of contention to one side, lets move to something less flippant, which is the false dichotomy implied in the notion that "capitalism" itself constitutes one end of an extreme to which communism finds itself at another pole. I said earlier that such dichotomies are common among those who "don't understand capitalism." First off, to somehow suggest that capitalism doesn't court "laziness" or communism doesn't court "greed or myopia" is absurd -- and anyone who would suggest otherwise has no business writing authoritatively about either. Greed, laziness, myopia, altruism...these are all but components of the human condition that exist independently of the predominant political order - be it communist, capitalist, anarchist, what have you. The real question is which political order best channels these divergent conditions to maximize social welfare. Secondly, this tired canard that "Capitalism" rests upon some simplistic "every man himself" credo that is indifferent to public welfare pretty much has no idea of the function of property, tort, contract, or nuisance laws (to name a few), and that yet are the defining characteristics of "capitalism" itself. Sorry Mike, any phony dichotomy can't be salvaged by proclaiming it to be the expression of a continuum when the continuum itself has no basis in theory or fact.

James M. Jensen II said...

@john:

You're arguing semantics and taking the review's use of the word "capitalism" too literally. I think the word is being used here to mean not "private ownership of the means of production" but Social Darwinism as enabled and encouraged by laissez-faire or neoliberal policies. That is to say, capital-C Capitalism, the over-arching mythology of pop-libertarianism.

James M. Jensen II said...

cont. @john:

There is a continuum from capital-C Capitalism to Communism. Most libertarians seem to try to force a choice between "capitalism" and "socialism," but anyone who does this clearly doesn't understand either concept.

While it's not possible for something to be both privately owned and collectively owned (well, technically it is, if everyone has an equal share of ownership in something, but we'll ignore this extremely unlikely case), it is completely possible for one thing to private owned and a different thing to be collectively owned.

Thus essentially all societies have socialized police, fire protection, libraries, government, and courts. All developed nations except the United States have socialized health insurance. Even most capitalists are in favor of such forms of socialism.

cosmoetica said...

John:

You are obtuse and/or dense.

'To be fair, I'll concede that the "egregious run on sentence" I cite does indeed "communicate." I wouldn't go as far as Mike to say that it communicates "quite well," but I'll go ahead and stipulate that everyone else here has superior reading comprehension and grammatical skills.'

***Well, considering that you display more of the same below, that's big of you. Now, let;s just include the statement 'everyone here has superior political and social knowledge as well, just to forestall making more of an ass of yourself.

'Now that we've put that point of contention to one side, lets move to something less flippant, which is the false dichotomy implied in the notion that "capitalism" itself constitutes one end of an extreme to which communism finds itself at another pole. I said earlier that such dichotomies are common among those who "don't understand capitalism."'

***So, are you retracting your claim of inferior reading comprehension and grammatical skills. Because, as the above posting, copied from Merriam-Webster hows, there was no 'false dichotomy.' In fact, there was no 'dichotomy,' so what are you talking about? As for political or economic systems, they fall on a spectrum, of which extreme libertarianism can be seen on one end- unless one supplants that with anarchism, and which totalitarianism (be it Communism or Fascism- which were the same things under different names, with minuscule diffs)would be the other extreme.

Back to John: 'First off, to somehow suggest that capitalism doesn't court "laziness" or communism doesn't court "greed or myopia" is absurd -- and anyone who would suggest otherwise has no business writing authoritatively about either. Greed, laziness, myopia, altruism...these are all but components of the human condition that exist independently of the predominant political order - be it communist, capitalist, anarchist, what have you.'

***Manifestly, you do not realize that the piece I wrote was in response to Shermer's claims- in a book you say you have not read. Here is the sentence: 'Capitalism to greed and myopia (see global warming), and Communism to laziness (see they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work)'. The two parentheticals are classic claims about the two systems mentioned. Ask any Left Winger in America today of the former and ask anyone who grew up behind the Iron Curtain of the latter.

***I've worked over 3 decades in Corporate America, and certainly laziness abounds, moreso in Corps than in gov't jobs. The whole idea of incompetence and laziness underpins the Peter Principle. But, greed is the sole motivation of Capitalism- that the greed of the masses, uncomprehending of that fact, will somehow invoke Adam Smith's Invisible Hand. Even Shermer, as naive as his views are, acknowledges this. As for Communism and greed. Of course, Mao and Stalin and CP elitists wanted power and things for themselves. All political and economic systems have the same results: the few dividing the spoils for the many, with the few getting more than their fair share. The diff is in the details of how to accomplish that goal.

Also, Shermer's book, despite its title, has really nothing to do with social behaviors, but on trying to stick his square Libertarian peg into the round hole of reality.

'The real question is which political order best channels these divergent conditions to maximize social welfare.'

***And, I posit that the best we've come up with is the system we now have- socialapitalism. Pure Capitalism died in the Great Depression- a fact conveniently overlooked by many on the Right, and Communism died 50 years later. As stated, only Cuba and North Korea still truck on and they are sewers.

***Secondly, this tired canard that "Capitalism" rests upon some simplistic "every man himself" credo that is indifferent to public welfare pretty much has no idea of the function of property, tort, contract, or nuisance laws (to name a few), and that yet are the defining characteristics of "capitalism" itself.

***Actually, the very tort, contract, and nuisance laws are things that emerged, by and large, long after Adam Smith. There was very little regulation in his day, of any sort. Again, unwittingly, and much like Shermer, you tout one thing while really bespeaking the success of another- i.e.- Keynesian economics.

In truth, there is no free market. The last truly free markets are small scale and consist of fruit stands in the desert. There is always some group- private or governmental, that sets up the rules of the game. Faced with that reality, do we want to let unaccountable corporations do it, or profiteers, or the gov't, which while many are incompetent and crooked, we can still toss out on their asses.

'Sorry Mike, any phony dichotomy can't be salvaged by proclaiming it to be the expression of a continuum when the continuum itself has no basis in theory or fact.'

***And thus the final display of a second grade reading level. Again, read a dictionary before you embarrass yourself.

Good points, James.

john said...

James, I'm aware of the distinction drawn between small "l" and capital "L" libertarianism -- I've never seen it as applied to "capitalism, "per se. Maybe that's what your really referring to. But the concept of "Social Darwinism" is really a different animal. It is a theory that can be used to justify ANY political status quo -- historically antithetical to libertarian principles. Which is why Mises and Hayek were critical of Social Darwinists.

Cosmoetica, (Dan?) I tried (and failed) to hone these points of contention to something less puerile than "my grammar and reading comprehension are better than yours!" But in keeping with my original intent, I'll address some of your more lucid arguments without without falling into the trap of engaging in a totally pointless arguments over ego-driven semantical issues for the confidence deprived.

You draw a distinction between two poles on a political spectrum. I consider that to be a dichotomization -- you can call it whatever you want. The point is whether or not the distiction is proper. Your original text had "capitalism" on one end. Now it appears you've supplanted it with "extreme libertarianism" and/or "anarchism." The fact that you would conflate "capitalism" with "anarchism" means you simply DON'T KNOW the first thing about either -- and undermines your ability to theorize some pathway of political moderation between the two.

Secondly, it was you (not Shermer) who proposed that "capitalism" appeals to "greed and myopia" and communism to "laziness." These are your claims, and while it took a while, you appeared to concede the point. But not before taking one last gasp in making the assertion that:

"greed is the sole motivation of Capitalism - that the greed of the masses, uncomprehending of that fact, will somehow invoke Adam Smith's Invisible Hand."

I did enjoy "Wall Street," but I've always been bemused by those who believe that Gordon Gekko really is an authoritative figure on laissez-faire. For the record, self-interest is a hard-wired component of the human condition, a fact not to be lamented or celebrated. The objective is to set up a social order in such fashion that "greed" is channeled to in such a way as maximize collective preference satisfaction. Smith's "invisible hand" (like Hayek's spontaneous order) is a morally neutral recognition of that fact that within a framework of strong property, tort, and contract law, that end will be realized without explicit, intentional coordination of the preferences themselves.

This is my favorite excerpt, and, I really bespeaks my original proposition that you have no business pretending to write about political theory:

"the very tort, contract, and nuisance laws are things that emerged, by and large, long after Adam Smith."

The basic laws of tort, contract and property is founded upon a body of English common law whose history can be traced back eight-hundred years. That you would conflate that with unspecified 20th century "regulations" is, again, more evidence that you just dont know what you are talking about.

The same sympotomology of your ignorance is to be found in silly statements like, "there is really no free market" because, hey, you have to have rules enforceable by government to make the system work in the first place. Duh. Thanks for articulating both the obvious and unintentionally reiterating your complete and utter lack of knowledge as to the fundamental, guiding principles of a capitalist social order.

James M. Jensen II said...

@john: Yeah, the capital/lowercase distinction in this case is my own nomenclature. It's an attempt to draw a distinction between the more-or-less dictionary definition of the word (the lowercase version) and a the tendencies of a social group that attaches itself to that word (the capital version). It is indeed inspired by the libertarian/Libertarian distinction.

I came up with the idea of broadening the use of the distinction out of frustration with Internet atheists. It was an attempt to disallow an equivocation fallacy where atheists would on one hand arguing that atheism is "not a religion" and on the other hand persecute those who are not "true atheists" for not towing the party line on everything. In short, it distinguishes between atheists who happen to be atheists and Atheists who are proud to be atheists.

Regarding Social Darwinism, as I alluded earlier, my remarks were not about the libertarianism of thinkers like Mises and Hayek, or even Rothbard and David Friedman. It referred to pop-libertarianism, with its tautological assertion that capitalism always makes people better off because anyone who's not made better off under capitalism deserves what they get.

Judging from the review (and this may well be the last thing on this subject since I'm just not interested enough in this to take the time to actually read the book), Shermer's libertarianism is tainted with pop-libertarianism. His statement, for instance, that "If [markets were not moral], market capitalism would have imploded long ago," is either meaningless hyperbole or clearly not the product of an educated view of the history of politics and economics.

The only way in which market capitalism has not imploded is if you count our current systems of welfare capitalism and socialization of utilities. If Shermer is counting these systems as forms of "market capitalism" then he is a liberal, not a libertarian. He would have done better to acknowledge the failure of "market capitalism" and suggest how the failure could be avoided in future.

Mike Huben said...

Dan (and others): what we have here in John is simply a sophist in the modern sense.

No matter what you write, if it isn't exactly the way he wants it said, with exactly the definitions he claims are relevant, you are "articulating both the obvious and unintentionally reiterating your complete and utter lack of knowledge".

If you use different vocabulary in an attempt to explain, it's an opportunity for him to complain that you are supplanting and conflating and "simply DON'T KNOW the first thing about either".

If you disagree with him, "you have no business pretending to write about political theory".

Indeed, there is only one way to grapple with such diseased rhetorical pomposity: ridicule it.

Look, it's obvious that his every attempt to claim intellectual dominance is based on feeble rhetorical fallacies. He's compensating for something embarassing, though his arguments are embarassing enough. He adopts Humpty Dumpty's position on the meaning of the word dichotomization, and expects us to take him seriously?

You'll also notice that he doesn't stand behind his arguments enough to reveal his real identity. All he deserves at this point is a good horse laugh.

cosmoetica said...

John:

Cosmoetica, (Dan?) I tried (and failed) to hone these points of contention to something less puerile than "my grammar and reading comprehension are better than yours!"

***A shocker.

But in keeping with my original intent, I'll address some of your more lucid arguments without without falling into the trap of engaging in a totally pointless arguments over ego-driven semantical issues for the confidence deprived.

***Nice to see you try to switch your tactics.

You draw a distinction between two poles on a political spectrum. I consider that to be a dichotomization -- you can call it whatever you want.

***No, you can call it whatever you want, as you have just done. Do you even READ the things people write? I delineated a spectrum. You drew a dichotomy. Before you waste another second pounding on keys, read the above definition of dichotomy. It does not apply to anything I, nor anyone else but you, have claimed.

The point is whether or not the distiction is proper. Your original text had "capitalism" on one end. Now it appears you've supplanted it with "extreme libertarianism" and/or "anarchism."

***Again, you are doing the strawmanning. I said no such thing. Not even close. READ. No one but you has seen a dichotomy. The blogger and other posters do not. So, get off planet John and deal w reality.

The fact that you would conflate "capitalism" with "anarchism" means you simply DON'T KNOW the first thing about either -- and undermines your ability to theorize some pathway of political moderation between the two.

***I did not conflate anything. Here is the sentence: 'As for political or economic systems, they fall on a spectrum, of which extreme libertarianism can be seen on one end- unless one supplants that with anarchism, and which totalitarianism (be it Communism or Fascism- which were the same things under different names, with minuscule diffs)would be the other extreme.'

There is no mention of capitalism. You drew the false dichotomy of Communism and Capitalism, and I averred that libertarianism and anarchism are farther on the spectrum past capitalism. That is not conflation but demarcation. Learn to read, John. Then you can learn about more complex things like politics and economics.


'Secondly, it was you (not Shermer) who proposed that "capitalism" appeals to "greed and myopia" and communism to "laziness." These are your claims, and while it took a while, you appeared to concede the point. But not before taking one last gasp in making the assertion that:

"greed is the sole motivation of Capitalism - that the greed of the masses, uncomprehending of that fact, will somehow invoke Adam Smith's Invisible Hand."'

***Actually, Shermer denies the point on Capitalism and avers the point on Communism, but since you've not read the book, why are you even pretending to know? Are you that insecure? But, as for the point on Capitalism, as I state, Shermer not only avers it (get a dictionary for aver) but champions it, for it is the primum mobile (dictionary!) of the Invisible Hand!


I did enjoy "Wall Street," but I've always been bemused by those who believe that Gordon Gekko really is an authoritative figure on laissez-faire.

***No one but you would seem to even want to quote a fictive character. Planet John a-calling!

For the record, self-interest is a hard-wired component of the human condition, a fact not to be lamented or celebrated. The objective is to set up a social order in such fashion that "greed" is channeled to in such a way as maximize collective preference satisfaction. Smith's "invisible hand" (like Hayek's spontaneous order) is a morally neutral recognition of that fact that within a framework of strong property, tort, and contract law, that end will be realized without explicit, intentional coordination of the preferences themselves.

***I agree that one needs to channel human greed for unintended altruism, but the reason Smithian economics failed in the 1930s is the same reason Communism failed in the 1980s: it does not account for human nature- i.e.- human greed will always subvert the myth of the Invisible Hand because the truly greedy, and those who profit, and get ahead (see path dependence) will always try to game the system to stay ahead- thus utterly perverting a free market. See monopolies, Enron, Microsoft, Alcoa, Ford, etc.

This is my favorite excerpt, and, I really bespeaks my original proposition that you have no business pretending to write about political theory:

"the very tort, contract, and nuisance laws are things that emerged, by and large, long after Adam Smith."

The basic laws of tort, contract and property is founded upon a body of English common law whose history can be traced back eight-hundred years.

***Actually, you show how you utterly do not understand the fundamentals of language. I wrote: 'by and large' which is utterly in synch with your term 'basic.' That you see a disagreement where clearly I take the same position shows your deliteracy in full force. You simply have no reading comprehension. Now, stretch that out, and the term basic means:

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/basic

1 a: of, relating to, or forming the base or essence : fundamental basic truths b: concerned with fundamental scientific principles : not applied basic research 2: constituting or serving as the basis or starting point a basic set of tools3 a: of, relating to, containing, or having the character of a chemical base b: having an alkaline reaction4: containing relatively little silica basic rocks5: relating to, made by, used in, or being a process of making steel done in a furnace lined with basic material and under basic slag

That one would conflate a Medieval fundament with the complexities of modern international law, as if there has been no growth nor change, is laughable, and shows how little you understand economics.

BTW- I think it's great that folk like you are online, for every word you type will be used by cyberhistorians for centuries to illustrate the troglodytic state of the masses from time immemorial.

'That you would conflate that with unspecified 20th century "regulations" is, again, more evidence that you just dont know what you are talking about.'

***Yeah, geez, I didn't have time to type out the details of most modern trade agreements, interstate commerce laws, and international treaties. Damn, but go 13th Century!

The same sympotomology of your ignorance is to be found in silly statements like, "there is really no free market" because, hey, you have to have rules enforceable by government to make the system work in the first place. Duh. Thanks for articulating both the obvious and unintentionally reiterating your complete and utter lack of knowledge as to the fundamental, guiding principles of a capitalist social order.

***You're welcome, because you have shown you cannot even grasp simple definitions of words. Glad to lead you back to reality.

cosmoetica said...

Mike: You are correct about John, of course.

However, sometimes I just like to see how long someone will let their noose get.

I mean, I copy word for word what I typed and he reads 180 degrees from it.

Sophist yet, but he's more a sciolist- look up the term and think Cliff Klavin from Cheers.

cosmoetica said...

'Shermer denies the point on Capitalism'

That denies was a typo- shd be avers.

James M. Jensen II said...

@ Mike:

Yeah, I was wondering how long we were going to keep this up. As I said, I'm pretty much done here regarding Shermer and his book. Without reading the book, which is not worth my time, I have no more to say on the subject.

I do find it amusing how he kept trying to beat me over the head with sophisticated libertarianism when I was only accusing Shermer of unsophisticated libertarianism and bemoaning the egotistical travesty that is pop-libertarianism.

john said...

Goodness...where to start?

James, you seem to be the most temperate of the present bunch. I'm not saying that such individuals don't exist, but which contemporary "pop" libertarians are you referring to espouse the theory that "capitalism always makes people better off because anyone who's not made better off under capitalism deserves what they get." Many libertarians - even consequentialist ones like myself - believe that markets are "moral" -- it does not follow that losers in a market system must "deserve" what they get.

I don't exactly know how to respond to Mike's tranparantly personal attack. He apparently thinks I am being unfair to poor Dan here, by inventing tiny linguistic distinctions of no real consequence and then acting as if the argument hangs upon them when it fact, it does not - the mark of a sophist. I've observed that technique employed in some of these group forums, and I would agree that it is primarily used as a tool of obsfucation. (More common is when the argument veers off into some stupid debate about the precise meaning of a word in a dictionary, which I've tried in vain to avoid). In any case, I don't believe that to be the case in this instance because I take the distinction between "anarchism" (meaning the wholesale abolition of all government, laws, police & authority) from "capitalism" (which depends upon all those things to function properly) to be quite significant. Those who attempt to conflate them either don't know the difference (Dan's case) or deliberately blur the line between the two because they prefer attacking straw men (Mike's case).

As to unfortunate Dan here, I'm nearly at a loss. He's obviously wound up with a good bit of emotion, and it shows in his rather schizophrenic fisking. A few points: He insists that he "delineates a spectrum" by putting capitalism on one side and communism on the other. He doesn't seem to grasp the point of my criticism -- which is that placing capitalism opposite communism (or any form of facism)is a fundamental mischaracterisation of capitalism -- at least if his "spectrum" is meant to represent the amount of state involvement organizing society. By positing that we have "capitalism on one side of the extreme, communism on the other side," you are setting up a false dichotomy because you are truncating the spectrum and, hence, mischaraterizing where the point of "moderation" actually exists.

Now, the comments in this blog have led me to believe that Dan here (cosmetica) is the author of the review under discussion, and hence the author of the contention that:

"World economics, as shown since World War Two, requires true moderation to succeed, because the extremes appeal to the worst in the human animal- Capitalism to greed and myopia (see global warming), and Communism to laziness (see they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work)."

Now, I dont know if Dan just can't keep up with the discussion, can't remember what he said previously, or he is not, in fact, the author of the above paragraph. How else can one explain his latest retort:

"There is no mention of capitalism. You drew the false dichotomy of Communism and Capitalism, and I averred that libertarianism and anarchism are farther on the spectrum past capitalism." Hmmmm...someone tell me what I am missing here.

Nor can Dan salvage his contention that property and contract law didn't exist until recently by proclaiming that eight centuries of law was generated, well "by and large," during the inception of the modern American welfare state. It wasn't. Again, I think to competently discuss laissez-faire capitalism, you should have a fundamental understanding of its foundations.

Go Giants!!

cosmoetica said...

John:

Goodness...where to start?

***How about dropping the pretense that you are even arguing in good faith?

I don't exactly know how to respond to Mike's tranparantly personal attack. He apparently thinks I am being unfair to poor Dan here, by inventing tiny linguistic distinctions of no real consequence and then acting as if the argument hangs upon them when it fact, it does not - the mark of a sophist.

***That is why I corrected Mike. A sophist is dishonest, a sciolist is just deluded.

I've observed that technique employed in some of these group forums, and I would agree that it is primarily used as a tool of obsfucation. (More common is when the argument veers off into some stupid debate about the precise meaning of a word in a dictionary, which I've tried in vain to avoid). In any case, I don't believe that to be the case in this instance because I take the distinction between "anarchism" (meaning the wholesale abolition of all government, laws, police & authority) from "capitalism" (which depends upon all those things to function properly) to be quite significant. Those who attempt to conflate them either don't know the difference (Dan's case) or deliberately blur the line between the two because they prefer attacking straw men (Mike's case).

***As shown above, you have deliberately misread words, conflated things that no one else did, and set up straw men, like this whole specious defense.

As to unfortunate Dan here, I'm nearly at a loss. He's obviously wound up with a good bit of emotion, and it shows in his rather schizophrenic fisking. A few points: He insists that he "delineates a spectrum" by putting capitalism on one side and communism on the other. He doesn't seem to grasp the point of my criticism -- which is that placing capitalism opposite communism (or any form of facism)is a fundamental mischaracterisation of capitalism -- at least if his "spectrum" is meant to represent the amount of state involvement organizing society. By positing that we have "capitalism on one side of the extreme, communism on the other side," you are setting up a false dichotomy because you are truncating the spectrum and, hence, mischaraterizing where the point of "moderation" actually exists.

***And again, an example of your sciolism. I never set up the two as opposites- you did. It is in black and white, and shown above.
This is strawmanning, as you just accused Mike of. Try again.


Now, the comments in this blog have led me to believe that Dan here (cosmetica) is the author of the review under discussion, and hence the author of the contention that:

"World economics, as shown since World War Two, requires true moderation to succeed, because the extremes appeal to the worst in the human animal- Capitalism to greed and myopia (see global warming), and Communism to laziness (see they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work)."

Now, I dont know if Dan just can't keep up with the discussion, can't remember what he said previously, or he is not, in fact, the author of the above paragraph. How else can one explain his latest retort:

"There is no mention of capitalism. You drew the false dichotomy of Communism and Capitalism, and I averred that libertarianism and anarchism are farther on the spectrum past capitalism." Hmmmm...someone tell me what I am missing here.

***Easy, the first quote is from the review, and responds to Shermer's contention, not mine, since it is his book under review, not mine, and the second quote is in direct response to this: 'I did not conflate anything. Here is the sentence: 'As for political or economic systems, they fall on a spectrum, of which extreme libertarianism can be seen on one end- unless one supplants that with anarchism, and which totalitarianism (be it Communism or Fascism- which were the same things under different names, with minuscule diffs)would be the other extreme.'
As usual, you are willfully mixing and matching quotes and responses to 2 separate things, on 2 separate topics, by 2 separate individuals. This is, however, sophistry, so maybe Mike is correct in imputing willful dishonesty on you.


Nor can Dan salvage his contention that property and contract law didn't exist until recently by proclaiming that eight centuries of law was generated, well "by and large," during the inception of the modern American welfare state. It wasn't. Again, I think to competently discuss laissez-faire capitalism, you should have a fundamental understanding of its foundations.

***Well, I never made that contention, and you cannot read, again. I stated, '"the very tort, contract, and nuisance laws are things that emerged, by and large, long after Adam Smith."' This is so. Smith lived in the 18th C., and the vast majority of laws- property or elsewise- regulations on trade, consumer product safety, etc. have been accumulated since 1800 on. If one were to look at the collective bodies of law per nation pre-1800 and post-1800, there is likely to be a 99.8% or more advantage to the post-1800 timeline.
Yet again, when you state, 'his contention that property and contract law didn't exist until recently by proclaiming that eight centuries of law was generated, well "by and large," during the inception of the modern American welfare state' you are either lying or stupid, since I never mentioned the Modern American welfare state- the invocation of which reveals much of your bias, nor did I state that such laws (and I was speaking of all trade laws well beyond mere property and tort laws) did not exist. The very term 'by and large' means that the majority of such laws, as I state, came post-Adam Smith. Case closed.


Go Giants!!

***A rare agreement.

Geoffrey Macomb said...

Wow. After sifting through the mountains of posts here I can't help but notice that all I am left with is John making a few valid points and everyone else attacking John. I'm a little confused as to why John's argument is being torn apart so harshly since his posts, compared to the others, makes 10x more sense and his personality (which seems to be mainly the problem) gives this entire debate a bit of interesting flavor. However, I have not come here today to get involved in this obviously deep, yet frivolous debate about semantics and one's comprehension levels, instead I come on and beg Mike to explain how someone is to stand behind one's arguments by revealing his personal identity. What is he to do? Give you his name, address, phone number?

Mike Huben said...

Dan: there's no reason why John can't be both a sciolist and a sophist at the same time. They're not exclusive categories. I think we're both right.

Geoffrey, you write as if you're entirely unfamiliar with the roles that can be played on the web. For all we know, John is one of your pseudonyms, and you are emulating John Lott's "Mary Rosh" sock puppet. For all we know, a group of people is playing John. Most likely, he's a dog. :-) Go read about my friend Rich Rosen.

But you know, since you're really judging by "flavor" rather than anything more rational, maybe I'm wasting my time responding to you.

Geoffrey Macomb said...

I am not John and, since I don't wish to be ignorantly accused of protesting too much, that is where I will leave it. All I wanted to know was how one is supposed to stand behind their arguments with their real identity while their real identity probably has no more credibility than their cyber one. That one statement seemed to hover above all other ignorant statements already made today and I felt compelled to comment on it or at least try to receive some clarification.

I am quite familiar with the roles that can be played on the web and that leads me to wonder why a guy devotes his life, time and energy to the internet to critize a non-entity in the political world today, or even in the near future for that matter. Surely you are aware that there are a lot of bigger fish out there to fry. Why waste your time on this one?

As far as commenting on the 'deeper' issue of the review of Michael Shermer and what this debate has unfortunately digressed into... well... we come back to the whole semantics and reading comprehension levels, and about that I honestly have no comment. It's all already been said... and unfortunately it's already been said by the one guy every body doesn't like. Which I guess puts me in a bad spot.

Oh well, I've been in worse.

And after all that it didn't pass my notice that you ignored my question. Again, I ask you, how does one stand behind his arguments with his real identity?

Geoff

Geoffrey Macomb said...

Hi, Geoffrey. This is Mike Huben, pretending to be you. Assuming I've done the blogger settings correctly, casual readers can't tell directly (except for the picture) because there's no connection to any external data such as email addresses, real names, etc. I could simply use another email address to create another google account if I wished to be even more anonymous.

A recognizable, credible and consistent identity creates some accountability, even if it is only by reputation. I know plenty of people who have done shameful things behind the masks of anonymity and false identities.

In a simple, ideal world, we'd all just deal with arguments by engaging with what is written. But there is much more going on: many sorts of games. Trolling for example. Real discussion requires establishment of common grounds for discussion, and you just can't do that without significant back and forth. What makes John a poopyhead, for example, is that he very simply won't allow any common grounds for discussion: he simply denies meanings of words, misunderstands what was written, and generally is playing verbal dominance games. It's a stupid game to play: and if you don't recognize that stupidity, it doesn't say much for you (however much you may enjoy rooting for his vituperations.)

Why do I criticize these non-entities? This guy hit the nail on the head:

"It is a true slight that a man who occupies himself dissecting ten thousand mites gets the same pleasure of libertarians."
William J. Westmiller

I got tired of studying mites and arguing with creationists and conservatives. There was a glaring lack of counterargument for the libertarian crap flooding the internet in the 80s. It has been a good niche hobby, and there is still a great need for it judging from the email I get.

I've also moved on to the study of wasps (the insect kinds) and have three published scientific papers on the family Evaniidae.

john said...

Cosmo. I've decided I'm just going to call you "cosmo." Your rebuttal is stupid. I still don't know if you are the author of the "review of Michael Shermer's The Mind of the Market." Are you??

Secondly, no... property law, contract law, and tort law did not emerge in their present form "post Adam Smith." Squares aren't circles. A party dress is not a coffee table. New England didn't win the Super Bowl, and contemporary American property, tort, and contract law did not materialize in present form over the last 60 years.

Mike, I'm not John Lott - who is kind of a weirdo, to be honest. I will say that your contention that I won't "allow" common ground for discussion is totally unfair. I will, and have tried desperately to focus the discussion and establish a recognized foundation for the meaning of terms like "capitalism" or "communism." Tell me what proper grounds should be...I'll either dispute it as a proper foundation, or we can agree and take it from there. I'd really prefer to advance the ball instead of arguing about what constitutes a run-on sentence or is a "dichotomy." You seem the content with the latter, when you aren't plaigarizing the opinions of others, passing them off as your own, and making personal attacks.

I really think your main problem is that when you took on this task of "refuting libertarianism" with your lame website some years ago, you honestly thought you were arguing with the equivalent of creationists. I don't know how long it took you to discover that you were usually in over your head...but to be fair, you do seem acutely aware of when you are. Witness your blank stare to the other thread re. "Skepticism & Freedom."

Geofory McComb...I appreciate your support.

WAY...TO...GO...GIANTS!! Tom Brady is a prima donna and Bill Belichick is a cheater and sore loser. 19 and ohhhhhhh NO!

Geoffrey Macomb said...

Mike,

What is really confusing me now is why, after all of the posts made within this blog by John since 2006, you are just now coming to the realization that he's hiding behind some fake identity. Sounds like a classic case of a major brain fart. But, I do appreciate the rest of your response and respect it.

Geoff

Dan said...

John:

Cosmo. I've decided I'm just going to call you "cosmo." Your rebuttal is stupid. I still don't know if you are the author of the "review of Michael Shermer's The Mind of the Market." Are you??

***Add masochism to sciolism and sophistry. Let's see, am I or am I not the writer of the article. Where is Johnny Carson when you need him? And stupid? I'd say the odds are 3 to 1 against you're even being able to define that word.

Secondly, no... property law, contract law, and tort law did not emerge in their present form "post Adam Smith." Squares aren't circles. A party dress is not a coffee table. New England didn't win the Super Bowl, and contemporary American property, tort, and contract law did not materialize in present form over the last 60 years.

***Note how you quote I say 'post-Adam Smith' which would be post-1800 or thereabouts, and you then reduce it to 'the last 60 years.' Where did you get that quote, 'the last 60 years?' I dare you to show me where I typed that anywhere. If you cannot, then there is no reason for me to refute it, since you have not even made the claim. But, the vast majority of all laws, property, trade, criminal, civil, etc. have been crafted in the last 2 centuries. And before you sophize, I stated, 'the vast majority' and 'the last 2 centuries.'

Mike, I'm not John Lott - who is kind of a weirdo, to be honest. I will say that your contention that I won't "allow" common ground for discussion is totally unfair. I will, and have tried desperately to focus the discussion and establish a recognized foundation for the meaning of terms like "capitalism" or "communism." Tell me what proper grounds should be...I'll either dispute it as a proper foundation, or we can agree and take it from there.

***In fact, you have not read the book, by your own claim, and have not honestly addressed any of the book's points, which I raise in detail (am I the writer or not?) nor my debunking.

I'd really prefer to advance the ball instead of arguing about what constitutes a run-on sentence or is a "dichotomy."

***Then don't raise the issue of dichotomy. and claim any of the other posters did. Then, of course, you'd have no masturbatory fun while watching those grown men in tight pants on the gridiron.

You seem the content with the latter, when you aren't plaigarizing the opinions of others, passing them off as your own, and making personal attacks.

I really think your main problem is that when you took on this task of "refuting libertarianism" with your lame website some years ago, you honestly thought you were arguing with the equivalent of creationists.

Well, Creationists are deluded, but most of them seemingly act honestly, something you reject from the get go. But both positions are dogmatic and divorced from the real world.

john said...

Cosmo, I've discovered that a major source of our problem is that you simply don't understand what I am talking about; therefore, I am going to try and myself as clear as I can:

I will presume for the sake of argument that you are, indeed, the author of the "review" that inspired this thread. To briefly recap:

I rejected the distinction between "capitalism" and "communism" that you made in your review -- for reasons I've already stated. In response, you reiterated your political/economic spectrum, supplanting "capitalism" with "anarchism" and/or "extreme-libertarianism." I objected to equating capitalism with anarchism - and your response was to blame it on Shermer.

Let's read the excerpt from your review: "World economics, as shown since World War Two, requires true moderation to succeed, because the extremes appeal to the worst in the human animal- Capitalism to greed and myopia (see global warming), and Communism to laziness (see they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work)."

I just want to make sure I understand this. You REALLY expect those of us who did not read the book to honestly believe that this is Shermer's position -- not yours? The paragraph above encapsulates a LIBERTARIAN position? Shermer is the one who advanced the theory that capitalism falls on the extreme of a political spectrum that appeals to the worst in the human animal and communism falls on the other? If so, provide an excerpt from the book that substantiates this dubious claim. Otherwise, have to balls to either defend what you wrote originally, or admit you made an error. Your convulsions to escape the obvious is coming off as a tad desperate.

Onto more banal fodder. I don't know why you insisting that property law, contract law, and tort law developed only recently. You've given yourself some room to negotiate by saying "post-Adam Smith," which literally gives you a couple hundred years of wiggle room. But, in reality, when I refer to "the last 60 years" or the "modern American welfare state," I'm not deliberately trying to confuse you or twist your words. I simply refer to that post-New Deal period in America that witnessed the ascendancy of the modern federal regulatory state (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, FLSA, Title VII, etc.), of which libertarians are so critical and egalitarians staunchly defend. You obviously weren't capable of discerning this on your own - which is fine - but by property, contract and tort laws, I am referring to that body of English common law (from which American law is principally derived), which is taught to every first year law student in the United States, and which dates back to the 12th century. These "vast majority" of these laws did not materialize "post Adam Smith". Nor were they "basically" developed "post Adam Smith." They did not "chiefly," "mainly," "generally," "fundamentally," "essentially," (or any other adverb you can come up with in this transparently lame attempt to salvage yourself) originate in the last 200 years.

Cosmo, you've got heart. I have to give it to you. But my god man...

cosmoetica said...

John:

Cosmo, I've discovered that a major source of our problem is that you simply don't understand what I am talking about; therefore, I am going to try and myself as clear as I can:

Actually, the reverse is true- you have failed to grasp what I, or anyone else, has stated. Which is why, even here you convolute.

I will presume for the sake of argument that you are, indeed, the author of the "review" that inspired this thread. To briefly recap:

I rejected the distinction between "capitalism" and "communism" that you made in your review -- for reasons I've already stated.

It was a distinction that Shermer made, throughout the book which you have not read. Another point you have not grasped.

In response, you reiterated your political/economic spectrum, supplanting "capitalism" with "anarchism" and/or "extreme-libertarianism."

Just libertarianism.


I objected to equating capitalism with anarchism - and your response was to blame it on Shermer.

Let's read the excerpt from your review: "World economics, as shown since World War Two, requires true moderation to succeed, because the extremes appeal to the worst in the human animal- Capitalism to greed and myopia (see global warming), and Communism to laziness (see they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work)."

I just want to make sure I understand this. You REALLY expect those of us who did not read the book to honestly believe that this is Shermer's position -- not yours?

Let's see, if you watch a black and white film, and review its cinematography in choice hues of gray, rather than dazzling color, do you really think it's appropriate to fault the film for its lack of color, or- dammit all- take what is given, and go on about the b&w cinematography?
That is a metaphor, John. Can you handle it?



The paragraph above encapsulates a LIBERTARIAN position?

No, that is my rebuttal to Shermer's claim, as elucidated in the book you have not read, and the review you have willfully misread.

Shermer is the one who advanced the theory that capitalism falls on the extreme of a political spectrum that appeals to the worst in the human animal and communism falls on the other? If so, provide an excerpt from the book that substantiates this dubious claim.

No, as I state in the review you misread, he advanced Capitalism as a moral thing, and I debunked it. If one reads more than one group of letters in a row it's called a sentence. Add these up and they craft ideas. Ideas require thought. Try it some time.

Otherwise, have to balls to either defend what you wrote originally, or admit you made an error. Your convulsions to escape the obvious is coming off as a tad desperate.

No your idiotic animadversions, and denials of what you previously state are laughable. However, it will make a good part of an essay I'm planning on assorted types of Internet stupidity. You will fall into the sciolism portion.

Onto more banal fodder. I don't know why you insisting that property law, contract law, and tort law developed only recently. You've given yourself some room to negotiate by saying "post-Adam Smith," which literally gives you a couple hundred years of wiggle room. But, in reality, when I refer to "the last 60 years" or the I'm not deliberately trying to confuse you or twist your words. I simply refer to that post-New Deal period in America that witnessed the ascendancy of the modern federal regulatory state (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, FLSA, Title VII, etc.), of which libertarians are so critical and egalitarians staunchly defend.

Well, since it was not a matter of contention, and you go off onto your own planet, why would I, or any person capable of following an argument. I am not privy to your bouts of psychosis. What voices you hear are yours alone. But, you give away your own biases with weasel words like "modern American welfare state." Oh my, the Commies are coming! SHIVER


You obviously weren't capable of discerning this on your own - which is fine - but by property, contract and tort laws, I am referring to that body of English common law (from which American law is principally derived), which is taught to every first year law student in the United States, and which dates back to the 12th century. These "vast majority" of these laws did not materialize "post Adam Smith". Nor were they "basically" developed "post Adam Smith." They did not "chiefly," "mainly," "generally," "fundamentally," "essentially," (or any other adverb you can come up with in this transparently lame attempt to salvage yourself) originate in the last 200 years.

Only you have tried to delimit the conversation to tort laws and others. I spoke of all forms of law and legal agreements, international or not, but why limit yourself to the Brits? Let's go back to Egyptian property laws or the Code of Hammurabi. Or would that be 'desperate'? And yes, the vast majority of property laws are post-Adam Smith. One category, from among many, is intellectual property. While there were all forms of copyright, patent, and trademark laws in assorted nations pre-18th C., almost all were codified in the century or so Smith was alive, and countless adumbrations, refinements, additions, in the centuries since. It's funny, because I'm arguing with another Internet sciolist about taxation, and, unlike you, he tries to weasel out of direct answers, but does so with Googling information, and disdaining logic. You stretch information to extremes, and then try to sidestep. Well, the fundamentals were laid out for X in Y, but somehow the basics are the majority. Again, and simply. In any set of laws- be it international trade, tort, property (real or intellectual), civil, human rights, animal rights, sexual rights, etc., the vast majority have been developed in the last 2 centuries. Another example- privacy rights. How many things have been developed in 200 years that were not covered by the Constitution? And the evidence is manifest. If THEY HAD BEEN COVERED, and formulated, essentially, basically, mainly, essentially, there would be no need for a Supreme Court to interpret how a limited framework has to be engineered to cover so-called 'rights' the Founders could not even conceive of.
Sciolists of the world....I give you, Logic.


Cosmo, you've got heart. I have to give it to you. But my god man...

But look, when you are wormfood, cyberhistorians will still be chuckling at folk like you, and rolling their eyes at what daemons could propel any person, even anonymously, to make such an ass of themselves. Now, put down that banana and KY.

john said...

Cosmo: "Sciolists of the world....I give you, Logic."

Ladies & gentlemen, it is my distinct honor to present you with... cosmo-logic.

Dan said...

I warned you about the banana.

john said...

You actually have to listen to the music in that video and read this at the same time. Bear witness to our resident logician extraordinaire. I give you cosmo!!

Cosmo: World economics, as shown since World War Two, requires true moderation to succeed, because the extremes appeal to the worst in the human animal- Capitalism to greed and myopia (see global warming), and Communism to laziness (see they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work).

John: ...lets move to something less flippant, which is the false dichotomy implied in the notion that "capitalism" itself constitutes one end of an extreme to which communism finds itself at another pole. ...such dichotomies are common among those who "don't understand capitalism."

Cosmo: political or economic systems... fall on a spectrum, of which extreme libertarianism can be seen on one end- unless one supplants that with anarchism, and which totalitarianism (be it Communism or Fascism)...would be the other extreme.

John: Your original text had "capitalism" on one end. Now it appears you've supplanted it with "extreme libertarianism" and/or "anarchism." The fact that you would conflate "capitalism" with "anarchism" means you simply DON'T KNOW the first thing about either.

Cosmo: There is no mention of capitalism. You drew the false dichotomy of Communism and Capitalism...

John: I dont know if Dan just can't keep up with the discussion, can't remember what he said previously, or he is not, in fact, the author of the above paragraph.

Cosmo: the first quote is from the review, and responds to Shermer's contention, not mine, since it is his book under review, not mine.

John: Shermer is the one who advanced the theory that capitalism falls on the extreme of a political spectrum that appeals to the worst in the human animal and communism falls on the other?

Cosmo: No, as I state in the review you misread, he advanced Capitalism as a moral thing, and I debunked it. If one reads more than one group of letters in a row it's called a sentence. Add these up and they craft ideas. Ideas require thought. Try it some time.

That's some groovy logic there cosmo.

Our other point of "contention" (if you can even call it that) derives mainly from my original error in having presumed that cosmo actually understood the meaning of property, tort and contract law. Or even nuisance, a subset of torts. These are legal terms of art, as it were, that only someone with zero legal training would confuse with Constitutional law, animal rights, sexual harrassment, laws of international trade, or intellectual property law. Since my original reference was to "property, tort, contract, and nuisance laws," why exactly is cosmo so surprised that i would try to "delimit the conversation to tort laws and others." Uhhh...because that's what I was talking about in the first place?

Now, its pretty obvious why cosmo would prefer instead to discuss "all forms of law and legal agreements" - like Constitutional due process, animal rights, international trade, or other contemporary legal fixtures. He figures that his best shot at salvaging the ridiculous claim that the law of property, contract and tort developed in present form "by and large" (hehe) in the last 200 years is to point to rulings like "Roe v. Wade" -- and just hope nobody notices. Or, (and this is less gracious but certainly more accurate) cosmo just doesn't know the difference between Constitutional law and Contract law. I don't know.

Anyway, to be fair to the challenged amongst us, any idiot who doesn't know the first thing about law can still just do a few minutes worth of internet research and find out that easements, leaseholds, rule against perpetuities, estates, offer and acceptance, consideration, conditions precedent & antecedent, assault, battery, negligence, nuisance, defamation, trespass (and all the other the subsets of property, contract and torts, properly understood) are not fixtures of the 19th and 20th centuries. And so it goes...

cosmoetica said...

John:

Using your vibrator as a fiddle bow won't make your misquotes and assorted collection of jumbles make sense, but it will intrigue your proctologist on your next visit.


That's some groovy logic there cosmo.

Our other point of "contention" (if you can even call it that) derives mainly from my original error in having presumed that cosmo actually understood the meaning of property, tort and contract law. Or even nuisance, a subset of torts. These are legal terms of art, as it were, that only someone with zero legal training would confuse with Constitutional law, animal rights, sexual harrassment, laws of international trade, or intellectual property law.

There was no confusion, save by you. You tried to focus on a small subset that was never mentioned as a diversionary tactic because you could not keep up with simple and clear-cut prose. And, as someone who cannot even define simple words such as articles and prepositions, claiming ignorance by others is, again, laughable. But slide the bow in....slowly now. Aah....


Since my original reference was to "property, tort, contract, and nuisance laws," why exactly is cosmo so surprised that i would try to "delimit the conversation to tort laws and others." Uhhh...because that's what I was talking about in the first place?

Which no one else was, which was why you tried diverting in the first place, because you could not straightforwardly answer any of the points in the review, which went over your head, about a book you did not read, about a subject you do not understand.

Now, its pretty obvious why cosmo would prefer instead to discuss "all forms of law and legal agreements" - like Constitutional due process, animal rights, international trade, or other contemporary legal fixtures. He figures that his best shot at salvaging the ridiculous claim that the law of property, contract and tort developed in present form "by and large" (hehe) in the last 200 years is to point to rulings like "Roe v. Wade" -- and just hope nobody notices.

No, as stated before, the vast majority of all law, tort or not, has been erected in the last two centuries. But, go ahead, and misread that as 60 years, or 6 mos., for it's the only way you can argue, by lying, and distorting, and pleasuring yourself to the masses, although cloaked in anonymity.

Or, (and this is less gracious but certainly more accurate) cosmo just doesn't know the difference between Constitutional law and Contract law. I don't know.

Your last sentence is the only honest and worthwhile sentence you've typed in this thread. Glad to see you are finally able to admit your ignorance. It's the first step in salvation. Praise Jesus!

Anyway, to be fair to the challenged amongst us, any idiot who doesn't know the first thing about law can still just do a few minutes worth of internet research and find out that easements, leaseholds, rule against perpetuities, estates, offer and acceptance, consideration, conditions precedent & antecedent, assault, battery, negligence, nuisance, defamation, trespass (and all the other the subsets of property, contract and torts, properly understood) are not fixtures of the 19th and 20th centuries. And so it goes...

Then why haven't you? And no one talked about fixtures (save you now- let's see you sustain that for another 12 posts), only a body of laws.

Chiquita is all greased and ready for Round 2!

john said...

good response, Cosmo! Your "logic" is absolutely devastating. As we now see, quoting cosmo to himself is the best way to reveal his utter incoherence and finally shame him into silence.

John: [T]his tired canard that "Capitalism" rests upon some simplistic "every man himself" credo that is indifferent to public welfare pretty much has no idea of the function of property, tort, contract, or nuisance laws (to name a few), and that yet are the defining characteristics of "capitalism" itself.

Cosmo: Actually, the very tort, contract, and nuisance laws are things that emerged, by and large, long after Adam Smith.

John: The basic laws of tort, contract and property is founded upon a body of English common law whose history can be traced back eight-hundred years.

Cosmo: Actually, you show how you utterly do not understand the fundamentals of language. I wrote: 'by and large' which is utterly in synch with your term 'basic."

John: Nor can [Cosmo] salvage his contention that property and contract law didn't exist until recently by proclaiming that eight centuries of law was generated, well "by and large," during the inception of the modern American welfare state. It wasn't.

Cosmo: the vast majority of all laws, property, trade, criminal, civil, etc. have been crafted in the last 2 centuries.

John: by property, contract and tort laws, I am referring to that body of English common law (from which American law is principally derived), which is taught to every first year law student in the United States, and which dates back to the 12th century. The "vast majority" of these laws did not materialize "post Adam Smith".

Cosmo: Only you have tried to delimit the conversation to tort laws and others. I spoke of all forms of law and legal agreements...In any set of laws- be it international trade, tort, property (real or intellectual), civil, human rights, animal rights, sexual rights, etc., the vast majority have been developed in the last 2 centuries. Another example- privacy rights. How many things have been developed in 200 years that were not covered by the Constitution?

John: my original error [was] that cosmo actually understood the meaning of property, tort and contract law. Or even nuisance, a subset of torts. These are legal terms of art, as it were, that only someone with zero legal training would confuse with Constitutional law, animal rights, sexual harrassment, laws of international trade, or intellectual property law. Since my original reference was to "property, tort, contract, and nuisance laws," why exactly is cosmo so surprised that i would try to "delimit the conversation to tort laws and others." Uhhh...because that's what I was talking about in the first place?

Cosmo: There was no confusion, save by you. You tried to focus on a small subset that was never mentioned as a diversionary tactic because you could not keep up with simple and clear-cut prose.

uhhhh...yeeeeeeeeah....

Another fun exercise is to get a feel for cosmo's increasing sense of insecurity as the thread progresses:

-What was incomprehensible, and show a single false dichotomy. (Cosmo, February 1, 2008 2:49 PM)

- John your reading comprehension skills are as bad as your grammatical knowledge. (Cosmo, February 2, 2008 11:49 AM)

-You are obtuse and/or dense...And thus the final display of a second grade reading level. Again, read a dictionary before you embarrass yourself. (Cosmo, February 3, 2008 8:30 AM)

- every word you type will be used by cyberhistorians for centuries to illustrate the troglodytic state of the masses from time immemorial (Cosmo, February 3, 2008 2:47 PM)

- of course, you'd have no masturbatory fun while watching those grown men in tight pants on the gridiron. (Cosmo, February 4, 2008 5:35 PM)

-when you are wormfood, cyberhistorians will still be chuckling at folk like you, and rolling their eyes at what daemons could propel any person, even anonymously, to make such an ass of themselves. Now, put down that banana and KY.(Cosmo, February 5, 2008 4:25 PM)

-I warned you about the banana. (Cosmo, February 6, 2008 8:52 AM)

- it's the only way you can argue, by lying, and distorting, and pleasuring yourself to the masses, although cloaked in anonymity. ...Chiquita is all greased and ready for Round 2!(Cosmo, February 6, 2008 9:40 PM)

That's what I call kick-ass logic. Way to go, Cosmo!

On a more sober note, has anyone else here noticed that cosmo here is having a hard time concealing his fantasy involving me, bananas and KY jelly??

Geoffrey Macomb said...

I don't want to get involved in this debate but man Cosmoetica you think you'd know when to give up.

Geoff

P.S. Your vile comments aren't helping.

cosmoetica said...

Geoff: 45 comments, about half are John's.

And not a single honest response. People like him are like the nuts who go crazy when they see a tv camera with a news reporter in front of it. The purpose is not, but to desperately let the world know they exist. So?

And, you are the person who posts under AKA's, right? So why would you want to get involved, unless you admire John's desperation and frantic desire to get pummeled from pillar to post intellectually?

The best John can do is now a second long post where he mixes and matches quotes that have no bearing on each other because they are taken out of context. This is masturbation, Geoff. Perhaps you enjoy it, as you troll, but John already knows he's lost the argument, and when people who cannot argue honestly and straightforwardly lose there is the old diversion:

Mumble.

Or, use the banana.

As such, and since John apparently likes to troll Mike's site, it's a wonder he has not banned him yet. But, I'll just embarrass him.

Geoffrey Macomb said...

John,

That link was hilarious. If you keep in mind the replies made by both you and cosmoetica, watch the video and then mentally replay [b]your[/b] responses in between the shots of that blank stare and replay his during them, it's priceless. It gave me a good laugh before work, something I always appreciate.

Geoff

Geoffrey Macomb said...

Sorry, don't know how to work that html thing.

Dan, what in the world are you talking about? If you would just post the lies that he supposedly made without that other vile nonsense that I'm sure you like to call "personality", then I might be able to decipher what exactly your contention is. Otherwise, yout posts look like a jumbled mass of jibberish and I end up rooting for the guy that actually makes sense.

cosmoetica said...

Geoffrey:

There are so many distortions and lies that you'll have to go thru chronologically, and if you think John makes sense, that bolsters Mike's contention that you are a sockpuppet. From John's comment 7:

I haven't read the book, and it doesn't sound like anyone here has either. The review was borderline incomprehensible at times and, of course, guilty of the same errors and false dichotomies that Shermer is accused of having made -- and also quite common among that "anti-libertarian" contigent who really doesn't even understand capitalism anyway. I don't know if that is the fault of the reviewer or his subject matter (probably both) but Mike has always had a penchant for finding and linking to every piece of anti-libertarian claptrap he can find on the web. I don't exactly consider that to be indicative of a skeptical worldview - but then again, I dont define "skepticism" as the wholesale adoption or rejection of a certain political predisposition.

***Right here he shows a lack of reading ability and starts the first lie (which I have thoroughly debunked) that I brought a false dichotomy to th etable. As even Mike noted, I a) mad no dichotomy, I was commenting on the dichotomy Shermer's book drew, and b) I made it a spectrum. Look at the definition of dichotomy I quote. A dichotomy is a set of mutually opposing things. When one puts forth a spectrum, it is not a dichotomy, whether done by me, Mike, or Shermer.

If you cannot make sense of that logic, you are as lost as John. And after that, he kept distorting and distorting, until in the last two posts he descended into frothing masturbatory gibberish.

I.e.- a de fact cession of an argument he was not even trying to sustain, as Mike showed, and a quick scan of this site shows. This is what trolls do. They bob up and down for attention, and hope folk like you make them feel special. You only add to these folks' delusions (whether you are their ilk or not), but unlike John, my replies have been point to point, and very specific.

If you cannot see that you either are dumb, or just trying to start in so that you can jump up and down for attention.

Yet, in this whole thread, save for a small point or two by James or MIke, there has been nothing substantive about the book, which John admits he has not read.

So, if confronted with a child who is masturbating intellectually, it is not vile to slap them down and discipline them, as any good parent would. It is necessary, and as I said, will provide an excellent primer for how to deal with such trolls for others.

After all, John is nothing if not generic in his puerility and temper tantrums.

So, now, Geoff, if you are whop you claim, and not some sockpuppet of John's, as Mike claims, you should have no problem following the reason why this thread has become stained with John's nonsensical bodily fluids.

If not, that's your problem.

Geoffrey Macomb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geoffrey Macomb said...

Dan, if you put two ideas on a spectrum, one at the left and one at the right, then you have, regardless if it’s intentional or not, two mutually opposing “things”, hence a dichotomy. And your dichotomy was false in that Capitalism does not belong on one extreme while Communism resides on the other. Period. End of story. As to the other lies, I don’t really feel like re-reading the posts and trying to decipher what you consider a lie and what you consider a distortion and really have no other interest in this debate beyond yelling from the peanut gallery whenever the mood strikes me. So, if this is the climactic end, I have to say, I’m rather disappointed.

Geoff

cosmoetica said...

Dan, if you put two ideas on a spectrum, one at the left and one at the right, then you have, regardless if it’s intentional or not, two mutually opposing “things”, hence a dichotomy.

Not if you understand the definitions of dichotomy and spectrum, for spectrum includes a rainbow of choices between the two, hence there is no opposition, but a plenum.
Now, since you are going down the same willfully ignorant path as John, should I just call you out as John, or will you be man enough to admit to sockpuppetry?


And your dichotomy was false in that Capitalism does not belong on one extreme while Communism resides on the other. Period. End of story.

As stated above, if you actually read, and esp. the example where I speak of reviewing a B&W film:
'Let's see, if you watch a black and white film, and review its cinematography in choice hues of gray, rather than dazzling color, do you really think it's appropriate to fault the film for its lack of color, or- dammit all- take what is given, and go on about the b&w cinematography?
That is a metaphor, John. Can you handle it?', you will have to acknowledge that I was dealing with Shermer's dualism and dichotomy. I debunked it, and later added that neither are extremes, and provided examples of both that surpass Capitalism and Communism, or did you miss that in your metamorphosis from John to Geoff?
Period. End of argument.



As to the other lies, I don’t really feel like re-reading the posts and trying to decipher what you consider a lie and what you consider a distortion and really have no other interest in this debate beyond yelling from the peanut gallery whenever the mood strikes me. So, if this is the climactic end, I have to say, I’m rather disappointed.

Geoff

Glad to see that you have, with your own words, defined yourself as a troll. Now, just admit you/John are, and take a long nap. Reading polysyllabic words must tire you.

cosmoetica said...

Interesting how both John & Geoff removed entire posts. Likely because it would have given away their similarities. This is why threads like this are fun, because chuckleheads, given enough rope, always hang themselves some way or the other.

BUSTED!

Geoffrey Macomb said...

Dan,

The problem is you use the word “extremes” which pits communism against capitalism, which suggest a dichotomy rather implying a continuum, but if you meant for it to be understood as a continuum, fine then so be it. I don’t overly care. The problem is when you criticize John for his “distortions” and don’t take into account that you yourself (based on what I read on your site) are famous for distorting facts and interspersing your opinion whether they are vile or blatantly dishonest in everything you write. You my friend are a hypocrite. I give you a small excerpt of what you wrote about Reagan in 2004: “Then, the bastard had to die on 6/5/04. Rather, his body died. His mind died about 30 years earlier, due to Alzheimer’s Disease, although the family only publicly admitted it when they could no longer hide the fact, nor stench from his diapers, in 1994.” If this isn’t vile and just plain stupid, then I guess I don’t have the first clue about what is, and I have NO doubt that if I actually had an interest in reading Shermer’s book, I’d find plenty of distortions, misquotes, and blatantly dishonest opinions interspersed thorough-out your review. Unfortunately though the mere thought of Shermer and the Market of the Mind makes me fall asleep. Although proving you an idiot might actually be worth the time spent in sheer boredom. But back to John, his criticizisms and your claim that he distorts what you wrote. I have to say that I don’t agree with you, I will even go so far as to say that John has been overly honest and patient regarding this whole affair. But despite anything I say here and now you’ll still believe you’ve been wrongly characterized in John’s posts and he was unjustified in doing it, so then all I’m left with is asking you, on behalf of the many others you’ve done the same thing to, how does it feel? For the rest of you, I encourage you to read the crap Dan Schneider has written about various people and subjects on word.

Geoff

Geoffrey Macomb said...

Instead of "word" that should be cosmoetica.com. God I'm new to the whole html thing.

Geoff

cosmoetica said...

Thanks for the plug.

Dan,

The problem is you use the word “extremes” which pits communism against capitalism, which suggest a dichotomy rather implying a continuum, but if you meant for it to be understood as a continuum, fine then so be it. I don’t overly care.

Manifestly you do care, or you would not keep harping on the point.
Here is the quote: 'I always find it amusing how Free Market theists, like all fundamentalists, conveniently ignore contrary evidence. World economics, as shown since World War Two, requires true moderation to succeed, because the extremes appeal to the worst in the human animal- Capitalism to greed and myopia (see global warming), and Communism to laziness (see they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work). But Shermer, the Free Market Evangelist, does not see this'

I refer to free market theists, aka Shermer, and later name him by name, clearly delineating that he is the person who has drawn the sliding scale. I also then use the word extremes. One cannot have an extreme without a mean, just as North is pointless w/o a South. If one speaks of 'extremes' there is logically at least one mean. Two extremes plus one mean equals a minimum of three reference points. The prefix di- in dichotomy means two. Therefore, I in no way, shape nor form implied nor directly stated a dichotomy. You, John/Geoff did and do. It is simpleminded folk like you and Shermer who cannot see grays. That's your problem, not mine.
Just as your inability to understand definitions or Latinate derivations is yours alone.


The problem is when you criticize John for his “distortions” and don’t take into account that you yourself (based on what I read on your site) are famous for distorting facts and interspersing your opinion whether they are vile or blatantly dishonest in everything you write. You my friend are a hypocrite.

If one cannot even understand what the word dichotomy means, or its use in action, your opinions on honesty are laughable, espe. coming from one who has trouble remembering which online personality he is.

I give you a small excerpt of what you wrote about Reagan in 2004: “Then, the bastard had to die on 6/5/04. Rather, his body died. His mind died about 30 years earlier, due to Alzheimer’s Disease, although the family only publicly admitted it when they could no longer hide the fact, nor stench from his diapers, in 1994.” If this isn’t vile and just plain stupid, then I guess I don’t have the first clue about what is,

So, just like John, you are backhandedly admitting your ignorance. Another slip in front of the mirror, Jeoff....or is it Gohn?

and I have NO doubt that if I actually had an interest in reading Shermer’s book, I’d find plenty of distortions, misquotes, and blatantly dishonest opinions interspersed thorough-out your review.

And like John, you have not read the book, and unlike him/you, I actually give direct quotes. But, I thought you do not 'overly care.'

Unfortunately though the mere thought of Shermer and the Market of the Mind makes me fall asleep.

But you're pretty wide awake. Funny how all these sciolists who 'do not care' and are 'bored' feverishly type away, and cannot resist getting bashed by smarter folk, because it's really the approbation of others you/John want, because you do not get it in real life.

Although proving you an idiot might actually be worth the time spent in sheer boredom.

Off to a poor start, as I've already proven you an idiot, and a dishonest schizophrenic one at that.

But back to John, his criticizisms and your claim that he distorts what you wrote. I have to say that I don’t agree with you, I will even go so far as to say that John has been overly honest and patient regarding this whole affair.

What you don't realize is that folk like you/John are a dime a dozen online, and I've pummeled better schozoids than you two/one. You are like gorillas with sign lingo. You have a limited repertoire that reveals the two of you are one. You see, writing styles are like fingerprints to those in the know, and I know you, my friend. The banana in your pants notwithstanding. You boxed yourself in by revealing too many of the limitations your alter-ego shares. It's a common technique, one you, as an unoriginal, fail to realize.

But despite anything I say here and now you’ll still believe you’ve been wrongly characterized in John’s posts and he was unjustified in doing it, so then all I’m left with is asking you, on behalf of the many others you’ve done the same thing to, how does it feel?

I've never lied nor distorted, but to the schizoid the normal seem strange. Like that old Twilight Zone episode where the bandaged girl thinks she's ugly, only to be a superbabe in a world of gargoyles.

For the rest of you, I encourage you to read the crap Dan Schneider has written about various people and subjects on word.

Again, thanks for the props. I'm sure you/John will be feverishly devouring every word, in between your bouts of carelessness and boredom.

Damn, this is fun. Forgive me for picking on the mentally ill, Lord!

john said...

My goodness. I thought this thread was nearing the final death rattle, Geoff's comments brought it back to life. Cosmo is nothing if not tenacious. I should say that depsite your noble intentions Geoff, you are not really helping by antangonizing cosmo here. He's now certain that you and I are the same person - and i can tell you that there is going to be absolutely no convincing him otherwise. Not that his paranoia is of much concern to me, but it will just make his already incomprehensible posts even more incomprehensible (if that's possible) as he addresses you and I as the same person.

Another comment before I continue. I appreciate and certainly enjoy a good, contentious exchange - even one with a bunch of metaphorical elbows and low blows. Cosmo here falls into that category of the unknown, frustrated polemicist with neither the temperment or writing skills to obtain an audience. Undeterred, they devote thousands of hours penning screeds to post on a website whose readership is none other than themself. Often, the frustration manifests itself in in sociopathic depravity. ("KY jelly and Chiquita bananas in your pants," "ahhh, ease it in..." "body fluids," "masturbation" "Ronald Reagan's smelly diaper's," etc.) I don't have a particularly thin skin, but cosmo has a talent for exhudating "the ick."

So Cosmo, you ARE entertaining, but from this point forward, please try to control yourself. Feel free to call me "dumb" in any manner you can conceive -- or talk about how you are a really really great internet debater that "cyberhistorians" (lol) will speak highly of - but please, let's cease with the male, homo-sexual innuendo. It is honestly grossing me out.

Moving on... what I had hoped to illustrate by piecing together cosmo's quotations (next to mine) was to try and refine our points of contention, as it were, without all the "noise." It is, indeed, remarkable to see the lengths to which cosmo will go to avoid the obvious. First, Cosmo says that Capitalism is opposite of communism. Then, cosmo says that he didn't mention capitalism. Then, Cosmo says that Shermer was the one who put capitalism opposite communism. So, I finally ask Cosmo flatly if he is REALLY asserting that Shermer's book places Capitalism on the end of political spectrum opposite communism. And his response is this: "No, as I state in the review you misread, he advanced Capitalism as a moral thing, and I debunked it." WHAT? Your honor, I must object to responsiveness on everything after the word "no." But even as you shake your head at his these pitiful machinations, it is astonishing to see how utterly IMPERVIOUS he is to his own utter incoherence.

His latest is quite truly one of the most ridiculous posts I've ever seen put on a messageboard in eanest.

Over to Cosmo: "I refer to free market theists, aka Shermer, and later name him by name, clearly delineating that he is the person who has drawn the sliding scale."

What you wrote, cosmo, was this: "'I always find it amusing how Free Market theists, like all fundamentalists, conveniently ignore contrary evidence. World economics, as shown since World War Two, requires true moderation to succeed, because the extremes appeal to the worst in the human animal..."

Okay, so your original statement was that free-market theists (like Shermer) ignore contrary evidence. "World economics, as shown since World War Two" (as shown by the evidence Shermer ignores?? Yes? Yes?) "requires true moderation to succeed."

Back to Cosmo: "I also then use the word extremes."

Yes, you do "use" the word "extremes." You put capitalism at one end of the "extreme" and "communism" at the other -- which was the basis of my critique and AS WE CAN ALL READ YOU HEAD-CASE! (I'm sorry, this is just so exasperating).

Cosmo again: One cannot have an extreme without a mean, just as North is pointless w/o a South. If one speaks of 'extremes' there is logically at least one mean. Two extremes plus one mean equals a minimum of three reference points. The prefix di- in dichotomy means two. Therefore, I in no way, shape nor form implied nor directly stated a dichotomy."

Lol! Okay...so now we are back to cosmo's diversionary blather about the word "dichotomy" that has nothing to do with price of tea in China anyway.

At some point you really just have to stop repeating yourself and let just let this lunatic (who is no doubt sitting in his underwear in a basement somewhere wearing a football helmet) declare victory.

john said...

Actually, I cant resist upon re-reading this nonsense at poking a little fun at it:

Cosmo: One cannot have an extreme without a mean, just as North is pointless w/o a South. If one speaks of 'extremes' there is logically at least one mean. Two extremes plus one mean equals a minimum of three reference points. The prefix di- in dichotomy means two. Therefore, I in no way, shape nor form implied nor directly stated a dichotomy.

Translation: When I spoke of "two" things i really meant three. Two is not the same as three. Therefore, there is no "dichotomy."

In other words, there is no "dichotomy" between a genius like me and a intellectual plebe like cosmo, because there are average people like Geoff who fall in the middle. Great "logic," cosmo. Give me more.

cosmoetica said...

Gohn/Jeoff:

Do you really think your morphing back to the other side and continuing your logorrhetic mishmash of nonsense is a winner?

'Cosmo: One cannot have an extreme without a mean, just as North is pointless w/o a South. If one speaks of 'extremes' there is logically at least one mean. Two extremes plus one mean equals a minimum of three reference points. The prefix di- in dichotomy means two. Therefore, I in no way, shape nor form implied nor directly stated a dichotomy.

Translation: When I spoke of "two" things i really meant three. Two is not the same as three. Therefore, there is no "dichotomy."

In other words, there is no "dichotomy" between a genius like me and a intellectual plebe like cosmo, because there are average people like Geoff who fall in the middle. Great "logic," cosmo. Give me more.

No, I actually spoke of more than two things, there was no specific, although 'more than two' starts with three. Again, it's called reading. Had you controlled your schizophrenia well enough in grade school you would have passed basic grammar. But you and You fall nowhere in the middle, save for a rubber room. And still not a single comment from either of you one that shows a hint of intelligence. And no need to declare victory. You didn't even show up for the rumble.

But, don't worry, the banana still works.

john said...

I really REALLY did plan to stop picking on cosmo, but he riddles every post with so many gems that I couldn't resist.

Cosmo: "...'more than two' starts with three. Again, it's called reading."

Is that right cosmo? Does "more than two" start with the number three? Is your "reading" as good as your math?

Dan said...

'Is that right cosmo? Does "more than two" start with the number three?'

Yes. This will give you a headstart on your next personae when you tire of Geoff, or he of you, in between the banana and your sticky keyboard.

john said...

See Jeff, what did I tell you?

Cosmo, can't "more than two" start with 4 if you are ascending(or 0 if you are decending)in multiples of 2?

cosmoetica said...

John:

'Cosmo, can't "more than two" start with 4 if you are ascending(or 0 if you are decending)in multiples of 2?'

Translation: 'D'oh!'

And 'more than two' can start with 2.1, if you are using fractions. Sort of like how John progressed from John to John + Mr. Hand to Geoff.

....John looking in a mirror, feverishly thumbing a dictionary for a retort and wondering how he was found out....'D'oh!....

john said...

Here is my impression of cosmo:

"And 'more than two' can start with 2.1, if you are using fractions."

HA HA!! You didn't say that. You said that "'more than two' starts with three." See, that's what we super-duper internet debaters call an "assertion."

as·ser·tion:

Pronunciation[uh-sur-shuhn]
–noun 1. a positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason: a mere assertion; an unwarranted assertion.
2. an act of asserting.

You display of a first grade reading and math comprehesion. Read a dictionary before you embarrass yourself. Scioloists of cyberspace...bear witness to my logic...Cyberhistorians will celebrate me!!! You have been found out...You are really Mike!! You are really James! Your name is Mames/Jike!!

ummm. Bannanas...

Dan said...

Geoff:

"And 'more than two' can start with 2.1, if you are using fractions."

HA HA!! You didn't say that. You said that "'more than two' starts with three." See, that's what we super-duper internet debaters call an "assertion."

And you typed 'Cosmo, can't "more than two" start with 4 if you are ascending(or 0 if you are decending)in multiples of 2?' My quote was in reply to your parsing. Now, say 'reply'.

So, Jim has arrived. I've succeeded in splitting the atom of your neuron.

But where's John?

john said...

Cosmo, is incoherence a defense mechanism?

Dan said...

66 posts and he's been reduced to multiple personalities and Pavlovian mimicry.

As the commercial says....PRICELESS!

john said...

Oliver has fish for breakfast, usually, when he isn't on acid and staring into the sun wishing he was me.

(Dosmo/Can soaks his head in a tub of icewater to stop the voices in his head)

-When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more domains to conquer.

Geoffrey Macomb said...

dan,

If you think John and I have the same writing style you're either blind, illiterate or dumb, and for some reason I'm leaning towards dumb. Admit it man, you are your own one man circus show. You don't need any help with making yourself look like a fool. It's entertaining sure, however I feel as though this whole thread has gotten off track. So I say we get back to your poorly written and edited review.

Now I just want to point out to you, Dan, that Mike and James, who in my short observation here are very friendly, intelligent chaps, hadn't even really had anything nice to say about it. Sure they skirted around the negative comments to save your feelings but I could not find even one directly positive thing from either of them.

That should tell you something.

Geoff

john said...

James is a nice guy. Mike isn't. Not that I have a problem with that.

Unfortunately Geoff, I like your idea of poking fun of cosmo's "review" in lieu of this this inanity. Unfortunately however, I think cosmo is going to relegate every one of his responses from this point forward to an accusation (in one form of another) of how you are my alter ego.

Short of chlorpromazine and a heavy dose of electroshock therapy, I think we are all stuck with it.

Geoffrey Macomb said...

I honestly couldn't give two sh*ts if he thinks I'm you, the pope, or Cindy Lauper, all I want him to realize is that despite his illusions of grandeur and his proclamations of intellectual superiority he is in fact a hack. H-A-C-K! I believe that for some reason he actually thinks his writing is good and his articles are interesting. It just frustrates me to no end when people are blind to their own flaws. Call me Simon Cowell but this man sucks!

Geoff

Mike Huben said...

Geoff, if somebody wants to know something about what I think, they can simply ask.

I liked Dan's review quite a lot: enough that I added it to my site. I don't praise new entries a lot: I prefer people make up their own minds without my endorsements.

And I liked this central theme:

"In this regard, The Mind Of The Market is a weird amalgam of Libertarian canards (Shermer's political bias and shilling was evident before page 5, although it took page 90, or a third into his 261 page book to admit the manifest) and bleeding heart fallacies, a sort of pseudo-philosophy, not pseudo-science, although one might term it a quasi-scientific book."

IMHO, Dan supported that theme quite well.

One thing that I particularly liked was that Dan captured the conflicted feelings of people like ourselves who admire Shermer for his skepticism yet are amazed that he buys into that market-worshipping load of libertarian bollocks.

Mike Huben said...

By the way, John/Geoff, you should end your trolling. You're coming very close to being disemvowelled.

cosmoetica said...

Mike: It's funny, but in everything from the mau-mau style at first to his reversal of the first letters in the appellations, John utterly proves my point, and with his on-again, off-again Geoff act, he does too, always chiming in perfectly with the expected responses.

Unfortunately, folk like John/Geoff, are so blindered by their own sill grandiosity, that they do not realize that there are thousands of deluded folk like him out there, who use the same 'Na-na, stick out the tongue, and give a raspberry tactic, only to immediately assume the 'other demeanor/personality' which congratulates the puerile half on how sane and rational they are, even though no other thinking being does.

Just look at how utterly Pavlovian John's/Geoff's replies have been, and the more I stare him down the more agitate and frustrated he gets.

The lesson you, Mike, should learn, is never have pity on these sciolistic sophists. Mock them ceaselesssly. My wife was once on a Sylvia Plath e-list, and got cyber-stalked by a Finnish girl who we believe ended up killing herself, as several other people emailed us in regards to her stalking them.

Of course, like John/Geoff, this deluded girl also assumed personalities and claimed she was other people. But, their urges to lash out are like facial tics, and even applying a prosthetic cannot hide it.

Thus, I'm sure, in Pavlovian fashion, Geoff/John/Jim/Mr. Hand, will make a few more appearances....unless I am using reverse psychology, and goading him into silence.

The precipice awaits the deluded one.

I say, push until they do a Wile E. Coyote.

Geoffrey Macomb said...

Mike,

I'm not trolling but for the sake of staying I'll try to cease my negativity.

Geoff

john said...

Actually, Mike deserves props for reminding us of what inspired the thread in the first place: Cosmo's "review." I'm also sure that cosmo appreciates being tagged in the ring.

Although, I can't say that the "central theme" - as summarized in the excerpt cited by Mike - is something to like or dislike. Again, I haven't read the book, and am thus in a poor position to defend Shermer on the merits. Yet, judging by the review, I suspect that cosmo didn't read it either. (I know, for instance, that he never read, "The Bell Curve," though he implies that he did early on). Actually, that's the silliest part of the "prologue" - Cosmo's contention that Shermer's book reminds him of 10 other books he's never read and is pretty sure that the 3 or 4 people reading his take on Shermer haven't read either.

To begin, the entire screed reminds me of an Andrew Sullivan's "Poser Alert" - a recognition periodically given to authors of prose that stands out for its pretension, vanity and really bad writing designed to look like profundity. Mike has already pointed out the poor editing. That aside, it's funny to see him accuse Shermer's book of being too long - at the inception of this grueling, seventy-five HUNDRED word book "review."

For another, the "criticisms," if you can call them that, seem to have less to do with the reasoning employed in Shermer's book than cosmo's trouble with Shermer's libertarian tendencies. Cosmo accuses Shermer early on of being "out of his element" in writing a book about politics. Shermer fails "repeatedly" to "link economics to the sciences." Cosmo's example? Shermer too often employs the use of statistics. Now, everyone is aware of the truth underlying Disraeli's concept of "lies, damned lies, and statistics," but that, without more, is an empty criticism. Cosmo apparently diapproved of the points Shermer was trying to prove (whatever those may be) but was incapable (or too lazy) to articulate specific statistical fallacies. If its true that Shermer would not know why the Pirates beat the Yankees in the 1960 World Series, cosmo draws no examples from the book as to why that may be.

Cosmo doesn't like Shermer invocation of the concept of "morality" in describing markets, at least in light of cosmo's arbitrary distinction between "morality" and "ethics" (such amateur philosophising gives you away as a sophomore immediately, cosmo). It's hard for me to know how and it what context, however, Shermer conflates economics with morality, because cosmo doesn't bother to say. On the one hand, Shermer is a deluded devotee of the concept of man as "homo-economicus," and hence fails to recognize that not all participants in the economy pursue their own selfish interests. On the other, Shermer is "wrongheaded" in his claim that there is a 10,000:1 ratio of instances of altruism to instances of blatant selfishness manifested in violent criminality. But hey, the punchline is that man is "indifferent" - a concept cosmo doesn't define, much less explain why it is so significant in the final analysis. From this fine analysis, cosmo figures his four readers should be fairly convinced that Shermer is a free market "evangelist" who sees the world in black-and-white. Wow. I'm convinced.

More later...

cosmoetica said...

Now John tries, after 76 posts, to change his tack.

After being reduced to utter babble, he is integrating the Geoff side.

And this is the best he can do: cosmo's arbitrary distinction between "morality" and "ethics".

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arbitrary

1: depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law -the manner of punishment is arbitrary-2 a: not restrained or limited in the exercise of power : ruling by absolute authority -an arbitrary government- b: marked by or resulting from the unrestrained and often tyrannical exercise of power -protection from arbitrary arrest and detention-3 a: based on or determined by individual preference or convenience rather than by necessity or the intrinsic nature of something -an arbitrary standard- -take any arbitrary positive number- -arbitrary division of historical studies into watertight compartments — A. J. Toynbee- b: existing or coming about seemingly at random or by chance or as a capricious and unreasonable act of will -when a task is not seen in a meaningful context it is experienced as being arbitrary — Nehemiah Jordan-

This, even though the two words are distinguished by that imposed from without, and that from within, one vis religion and one via personal humanism.

He laso tries to imply that I do not back up statements, although he has made dozens of posts trying to unravel prior one I backed up, again switching gears, after a several day hiatus to emotionally recover from his battering. And, with repeated displays of reading incomprehension, John thinks anything he says re: reading a book or not has credibility.

As the Roadrunner says, 'Beep-beep!'

Is it a or b? And of course, if I state Shermer said he owned a red car when he was 19, I am not going to 'defend' such a statement, since it is neither here nor there to the argument whether Shermer is lying or not. Similarly, any sports fan will understand the Pirates-Yankees analogy, which ends: 'how the 1960s World Series, won by the Pittsburgh Pirates over the New York Yankees, in seven games, could have happened, since the Yankees dominated the series in every category, except wins.' comes a paragraph after 'As example, when making a point, Shermer too often falls back on naked statistics- a dangerous tack since any accountant will tell you that numbers are easier to train than dogs. This is why, especially in the blogosphere, one sees so many sciolists linking to studies whose supposedly ‘hard’ numbers support their view, even if the linkers’ numbers are both true and oppositional. Shermer also falls back on too many logical fallacies, the most abundant of which is the Appeal To Authority. Even more so than relying on statistics, when one cannot rationally cohere an argument in one’s own words, you know the argument is in trouble. Furthermore, many of the examples Shermer cites are based upon Academic presuppositions and not real world verities.'
Like the car, there is no need to question the use of stats, since they are in abundance. The point was not any individual stat, but the tack of swamping a reader with stats.

These are the points of reading folk like John willfully ignore.

So, yet another way to embarrass himself, waiting for the emergence of Jim, like the Alien chest-burster.

Time ticks away as John's facial tics increase.

john said...

As we proceed...

In keeping with cosmo's equivocation between capitalism and communism, he goes on to chide Shermer for discussing the failures of communism - yet not recognizing the abject failure of its couterpart, "pure capitalism" - something our resident economist and historian cosmo here attributes to spawning The Great Depression. Now, the various "causes" of the Great Depression have been the subject of debate for several decades. Today, most economists accept the monetarist explanation of the roots of this economic crisis, which had alot more with Federal Reserve's horrific monetary policy than with a lack of Federal minimum wages or overtime laws. Only the ignorant left operates under the illusion that the Depression of the 30's is attributable to unregulated markets or a lack of unsustainable ponzi schemes like Social Security or Medicare. Yet, in keeping with the deluded confidence that only someone who doesn't know any better could sustain, cosmo calls Shermer the "evangelist" for apparently not making these points in his book. What points Shermer DID make on the issues cosmo is raising here.. well, hard to know what they are exactly, because cosmo doesn't say. At this stage, we are really in sort of amateur cosmo political rant mode. The level of sophistication befitting a guy with an associates degree in history from a community college.

But not before doling out yet another perplexing inconsistency. Earlier I noted how, in back-to-back paragraphs, cosmo criticized Shermer for describing human nature as both too self-absorbed AND too altruistic. He does himself one better by lamenting the decline in "buying power" (purchasing power?) of the last 25 years, yet celebrates the economic benefits (cosmo doesn't specify what they are) attributable to the ascendancy of unionization over the last 150 years - which is, so says economic historian cosmo, responsible for his free weekends and forty hour work weeks. Overtime legislation is a product of the FLSA, passed in 1938; and, as far as I know, plenty of people still work on the weekends - including our dwindling band of union members. Union membership has been on a steady decline over the course of the last three decades in the private sector (8% or so, at 1930's levels), so its not surprising that Shermer or anyone else would choose to ignore it. Cosmo's also upset that markets encourage discrimination (one of his VERY few accurate observations) because discrimination is ipso facto amoral. Why? Who the hell knows.

All this is but a prelude to some of the really ridiculous fodder. Among them are the claims that my IMac, Ipod, flatscreen and cameraphone owe themselves not to free enterprise, but to taxpayer supported R&D. Good to know. Alan Greenspan was a "devout Keynesian". (that's a good one). A totally bizarre comparison between Adam Smith and Keynes - in which cosmo makes an amateur forray into economic history, and reveals that he doesn't have the slightest clue as to the difference between a Keynesian and a monetarist, as if either were relevant in the context of Adam Smith, a Scottish economist who died over a century before Keynes was even born. But even that isn't as poorly thought out (or perplexing) as cosmo's contention that our crappy airline system (one of the U.S.'s most highly unionized industries) is a result of the Reagan administration firing the PATCO air-traffic controllers over 25 years ago. More, please!

I'll leave it at that for now. It's hard to know how to respond to cosmo's virtually unintelligible rebuttal to my last post, since he didn't really addres anything I said. The closest to comprehensibility I got was yet another definition pulled from webster.com, revealing that (surprise) cosmo is blissfully unaware of the vast abundance of varying literature to be found in the contemporary, superfluous philosophical debate over the distinction between morals and ethics.

All I can say in response is this: Cosmo, you are an amazing and incredible internet debater of whom cyberhistorians will write books and sing songs. Now, take off the catcher's mask, change out of your week old, skid-mark infested fruit-of-the-loom skivies, get out of your parent's basement and soak in some daylight, my man.

To be continued. ;-)

Dan said...

Nearly 80 posts, and not a single one from Two-Face with an honest question.

Back in days of yore (2/3/08) Mike wrote this:

Dan (and others): what we have here in John is simply a sophist in the modern sense.

No matter what you write, if it isn't exactly the way he wants it said, with exactly the definitions he claims are relevant, you are "articulating both the obvious and unintentionally reiterating your complete and utter lack of knowledge".

If you use different vocabulary in an attempt to explain, it's an opportunity for him to complain that you are supplanting and conflating and "simply DON'T KNOW the first thing about either".

If you disagree with him, "you have no business pretending to write about political theory".

Indeed, there is only one way to grapple with such diseased rhetorical pomposity: ridicule it.

Look, it's obvious that his every attempt to claim intellectual dominance is based on feeble rhetorical fallacies. He's compensating for something embarassing, though his arguments are embarassing enough. He adopts Humpty Dumpty's position on the meaning of the word dichotomization, and expects us to take him seriously?

You'll also notice that he doesn't stand behind his arguments enough to reveal his real identity. All he deserves at this point is a good horse laugh.


Keeping that in mind, look at how utterly correct he was, and how utterly Pavlovian John and his schizoid others have been:


In keeping with cosmo's equivocation between capitalism and communism

Not a single equivocation between the two. And earlier John jimself chides me for supposedly dichotomizing the two. Which is it? Mixing the two, delineating clearly, or....? John cannot decide, for schizophrenia reigns.
To wit, after more Pavlovian babble in an attempt to distort:

He does himself one better by lamenting the decline in "buying power" (purchasing power?) of the last 25 years, yet celebrates the economic benefits (cosmo doesn't specify what they are)

Again ignoring simple defintions gleaned from Noah Webster and cohorts, he seems lost that the words buy and purchase can mean the same thing, i.e.- are synonyms. Yet, this causes so much confusion as he needs to parenthesize, to imply to the reader dumber than he that there was some sort of distinction that reader missed and John picked up on, when there was none. Only by lies and distortions as this can John even attempt to 'look serious'.

attributable to the ascendancy of unionization over the last 150 years - which is, so says economic historian cosmo, responsible for his free weekends and forty hour work weeks. Overtime legislation is a product of the FLSA, passed in 1938; and, as far as I know, plenty of people still work on the weekends - including our dwindling band of union members. Union membership has been on a steady decline over the course of the last three decades in the private sector (8% or so, at 1930's levels), so its not surprising that Shermer or anyone else would choose to ignore it.

Making vast assumptions and ignoring history, John then tries to marginalize Labor's effects, trying to portray workplace regulations as the product of enlightened gov't rather than the political pressure of interest groups like unions, and then descends into typical Right Wing drivel of the sort which undergirds every insane post he has made. Next...

Cosmo's also upset that markets encourage discrimination (one of his VERY few accurate observations) because discrimination is ipso facto amoral. Why? Who the hell knows.

One of the few true gems where John de facto admits he is, in the very least, amoral, and at worst, a sociopath, which his trolling and cyberstalking bear out. We then get further exhibits of John's utter idiocy, such as:

Alan Greenspan was a "devout Keynesian". (that's a good one).

Which shows that John has never had an original thought in his multiple lives, for any intervention by the government in the so-called free market, utterly renders Smithian ec a dinosaur, and Keynes a man prescient, ahead of his time.

a Scottish economist who died over a century before Keynes was even born.

Where John finally recognizes the timeframe wherein Smith lived, rather than his earlier bizarre claims of that being within the last six decades (see above).

Then more inane drivel, and an attempt to claim yet another lance in his bloated side did not hurt, and reveal him as the schizoid fool he is, not to mention utterly proving Mike Huben correct in his earlier claim of John's sophism- as a disingenuous person; wherein he ends his post again revealuing he does not think for himself, by his inability to deal with morals and ethics (which a sophistic sociopath, naturally, would have issues with).

But, John pseudonymously will have his bit of glory when his rants are used as illustrations in my varied essays on early Internet sciolism. This a joy that even Mr. Hand cannot gibe him, try though he may.

john said...

Ok. Continuing...

In keeping with cosmo's tenuous grasp of economic history, he goes on to display an equally lacking knowledge on the subject of antitrust. Witness this ridiculous sentence:

"Alcoa lowered prices below its competitors so they would be forced out of business, so that Alcoa could have a monopoly and gouge its customers."

Lowering prices to drive out competitors isn't a very effective mechanism for the creation of monopoly since, in the end, there is an endless supply of upstart competitors and the would-be monopolist can only sell at below market rents for so long before he has to recoup his investment. As for Alcoa, its competitive edge was guaranteed not by selling cheap alumninum, but by a state-sanctioned monopoly in the form of a patent on the smelting process. Natural monopolies, like cable or electric companies, enjoy a similar competitive edge which has nothing to do with driving competitors out of business, but by the fact that there are no competitors to begin with. Why cosmo brought up drug dealers as exemplary of monopoly is beyond me. I guess he confused the personally addictive qualities of the product with the number of suppliers. The latter is far more determinative of price than the former. But hey, when cosmo talks about things he knows nothing about, cosmo listens.

Cosmo goes on to give us some inevitable Microsoft and Walmart bashing, which is so nonsubstantive it hardly merits comment. (IE sucks!! Firefox RULES! Walmart treats its workers like they are in sweatshops, and it needs to be charged with RICOH (RICO?) violations and anti-trust lawsuits!!) Its all too easy to roll your eyes at these tired platitudes, especialy the last, given what we know about cosmo's grasp of antitrust. Nevertheless, I can't help but wonder what cosmo's theory is on why the feds would aggresively go after Microsoft but leave Wal-Mart alone.

Cosmo goes on to attack Shermer for his criticisms of "path dependency" - providing us with such rock-solid rebuttals as this: "Ask anyone who's worked in the retail market about customer brand loyalty, and Ivy Towered Academic refutations of such manifest truths can produce only chuckles." Does cosmo, in fact, "ask anyone"? Well, no.

A couple of times during this excruciatingly long screed, cosmo falls back on "income inequality" as a failsafe retort to Shermer's position on this issue or that issue. Shermer argues that economies are not zero sum? Well, says cosmo, what about income inequality? Shermer argues that the overall standard of living is better today than ever before...well, says cosmo, what about income inequality? Cosmo suggests that present-day income disparities are directly correlated to the "happiness" of a population, irrespective of how much better off they are relative to the people of times past. Cosmo provides no support for this contention, but it doesn't stop him from asking if its "really that difficult to understand."

Then we are in for some more boring corporation bashing, in which cosmo, as someone "well versed in the ins and outs of corporate philosophy" (ha ha. In other words, workin for the man), illuminates for us his take on the fundamentals of the corporate ethos: they steal, cheat, blah blah blah right up until right before the point that they get caught. Now, Cosmo here must really work for some scoundrels - because he's apparently been a witness to the forging of signatures, bribing of public officials, and accounting fraud. Putting aside the question of what in the world this has to do with Shermer's libertarianism, how is cosmo privy to all these shenanigans without being complicit in them? In truth, I suspect that even if such activity were prevalent in whichever company passes cosmo $29,500.00 per year, he wouldn't have a very good view of it from his 1st floor cubicle.

Before I close, I'll say a couple of words about cosmo's "rebuttal" to my last post - which wasn't much more substantive than anything else he's mustered of late. I'm surprised that cosmo didn't ignore my attack on his wildly stupid assertion that Greenspan was a Keynesian -- especially after providing him a link that might give him some help. Memo to cosmo: Greenspan was a devotee of Ayn Rand and a self-described libertarian. The Federal Reserve is not the braintrust of John Maynard Keynes, and central banks were pretty sparse in the era of Adam Smith as commodity money reigned supreme. Your problem, cosmo, is that you don't know enough about free-markets to discuss them competently. Your inane assertion that "any intervention by the government in the so-called free market, utterly renders Smithian ect. a dinosaur." Adam Smith was not an anarchist, as far as I'm aware, and didn't take issue with the fact that governmental authority is, at some level, necessary for markets to work. You need government to enforce contracts, enforce rights in property, and guard against force and fraud, regulate monopolies (real ones, not fake ones like "Wal-Mart"). In some instances, government needs to raise or lower interest rates (though many libertarians would prefer to go back to the gold standard). The point is that "intervention" by government in a market economy is necessary to sustain the market in the first place - the only real question is the locus of intervention. And to try and argue that these interventions somehow render Adam Smith's laissez-faire philosophy obsolete can ONLY be argued by someone who doesn't know the first thing about Smith, Keynes, or "free-markets" - and is pretty sure that nobody who stumbles upon this appalling dissertation will either.

More than enough for now. Anyone want to take any bets on whether or not I can run cosmo up to 100 posts before his head explodes?

john said...

Oh, and cosmo, while I fervently look forward to being the subject of your treatise on Internet "sciolism", I have a nagging suspicion that "glory" is a promise that your "various essays" will fall far short of delivering.

cosmoetica said...

Wherein John-John, now totally infantilized, decides that by airing a demonstrably stupid statement, detached from reality and history, for the 17th time, will now engender any reader without life enough to have read this far, will somehow impress said reader, who will have miraculously glided over his past follies. Witness:

'Lowering prices to drive out competitors isn't a very effective mechanism for the creation of monopoly since, in the end, there is an endless supply of upstart competitors and the would-be monopolist can only sell at below market rents for so long before he has to recoup his investment.'

Wherein Mr. Hand again babbles, distorts, and flat out lies, because he has no ability to cohere an argument:

'A couple of times during this excruciatingly long screed, cosmo falls back on "income inequality" as a failsafe retort to Shermer's position on this issue or that issue. Shermer argues that economies are not zero sum? Well, says cosmo, what about income inequality? Shermer argues that the overall standard of living is better today than ever before...well, says cosmo, what about income inequality? Cosmo suggests that present-day income disparities are directly correlated to the "happiness" of a population, irrespective of how much better off they are relative to the people of times past. Cosmo provides no support for this contention, but it doesn't stop him from asking if its "really that difficult to understand.".

This inarticulate and distorted babble thus falling perfectly into Mike Huben's prior iterated claim that 'Look, it's obvious that his every attempt to claim intellectual dominance is based on feeble rhetorical fallacies. He's compensating for something embarassing, though his arguments are embarassing enough. He adopts Humpty Dumpty's position on the meaning of the word dichotomization, and expects us to take him seriously?'

Yet, John blithely does not even care that his Pavlovian responses have lost any vitae.

Totally lost and defeated in arguments of substance, several paragraphs of misdirected and silly ad hominem follow, admixed with ample displays of bias and bigotry, and John has to again show his utter inability to have an original thought, muttering, 'Memo to cosmo: Greenspan was a devotee of Ayn Rand and a self-described libertarian,' clueless to the possibility that people can claim what they are till hell feezes, but their actions speak louder than their words. Of course, from a wannabe intellectual-cum- masturbatory schizophrenic troll, not any more is expected.

Thus, shorn of any claims to intellect, John sits and waits, as hours pass before he can muster another feeble response- will it be simple inanity or nasty deceit? In a rare moment of daring, John says, let it be both. So he types, as the girls giggle at his clammy hands: