Muirgeo

by Russ Roberts on November 13, 2008

in Weblogs

I was in an all-day meeting yesterday and decided to leave comments unmoderated for the day rather than letting them pile up.

Comments quickly reverted back to the old problem. Most of it is started by Muirgeo and his responders. Muirgeo, I like much of what you say. But too often you hijack a post with a foolish observation like this one:

Michael don’t you think if free market economies were so successful and
so good for everyone they’d actually exist somewhere in the real world?
Doesn’t the very fact that they don’t exist suggest there is some
misunderstanding on your part that underlies your wholesale
cheerleading for a concept that doesn’t exist and apparently doesn’t
work.

That is one of your themes. You say it over and over again. You are often the first commenter or an early one and you make this comment or variants on it to posts that have little or nothing to do with the viability of the free market enterprise. The result is a boring shouting match as people try to explain why you’re wrong and you answer back.

You have two other themes which recur over and over again in your remarks:

Laissez faire doesn’t work
The US isn’t laissez-faire, the US works well, so stop arguing in favor of laissez faire.

These themes usually stimulate other commenters to join the fray in a shouting match, correctly pointing out that these arguments are illogical and unscientific.

On the rarity of laissez-faire, Muirgeo confuses reality with what is just or desirable. Tyranny and misery have been humanity’s lot through most of history. Does that mean it was foolish or wrong to strive for freedom? The rarity of freedom tells you nothing about whether it will work.

On the performance of the US economy, yes, the US is a mixed economy. But that doesn’t mean that government has made it better. Maybe it has made it worse. Maybe the economy has performed well in spite of government regulations or intervention. But don’t confuse correlation and causation.

I have no problem with logical arguments making the case for this particular regulation or that one. I have no problem with an analysis that shows that FDR or Clinton or X was a good president because their policies achieved this or that admirable outcome. But reading over and over again that the economy was healthy during such and such a time period and that therefore FDR or Clinton or X were good Presidents is boring and illogical. If you want to keep arguing that way, fine. Just do it on your own blog.

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to moderate comments even for a week. So they are now unmoderated. But if Muirgeo posts on one of his pet themes out of context (which is almost every time), I will delete them whenever I get around to them. And I will delete all the counter-rants as well.

I am not going to ban Muirgeo. When he stays on topic and away from his pet themes, he, along with other dissenters, makes this site much more interesting.

BTW, comments are closed on this post. From now on, all other posts are open and unmoderated other than what is discussed above.

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