Thursday, July 1, 2010


1)So I have finally read Matthew Continetti's much blogged-about "Two Faces of the Tea Party." No, people should not scream at him just because he dares say something bad about the Tea Party. On the other hand, the section where he criticizes Beck's "canon of competing authorities" is kind of odd. Much of Beck's "canon of competing authorities" -- the critique of early 20th century progressivism, his interest in Hayek, and perhaps to a lesser extent Shlaes's and Folsom's work on the Depression -- overlaps with the reading lists and the types of ideas that have been discussed in more highbrow circles for decades. Beck might not be the most sophisticated critic of the New Deal, but it doesn't sound as though his ideas are that far out of the intellectual right mainstream. The conspiracy theory (and no, I don't mean as in Volokh Conspiracy) type stuff, however, is. It's a little strange that Continetti doesn't focus on this distinction instead.

Continetti also seems to conflate "having moderate policy ideas" with "temperamental moderation," i.e. smiling and not seeming too frothing at the mouth when one presents one's policy ideas. It reminds me of point 2 of the critique of Eggers and O'Leary that I wrote a few months ago.

2)Pittsburgh may or may not be hipster, but they are apparently really interested in law and economics there. It's all the more startling because the other cities on the list all have major universities packed with intellectual types who might be interested in law and econ (Berkeley, Stanford, New Haven, Cambridge, Ann Arbor) or have lots of policy wonks (D.C. and Fairfax.) What could be more hipster than a law and econ scholar?

3)Tall libertarian bloggers apparently dislike being tall and would prefer to give their daughters the option of being shorter if it were easy and safe. Out here on the left tail of the libertarian height bell curve, I'd probably do the same to give my daughters (and sons especially) a little bit of extra height. Of course, a lot turns on how easy and safe such interventions really might be in real life.

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