Lesson Learned

Economics blogger Alex Tabbarok tweeted:

How an economist congrats colleague on birth of child. "It's good to have more high quality human capital in the world." Overheard today.


Of course there's nothing unusual about professional types speaking to each other in the jargon of their profession - even when discussing children.

Imagine one baseball player telling another, on the birth of his son, "I bet he'll make a fine third baseman!"

Two singers sitting on a park bench, one holds a crying baby, the other says "Sounds like quite the soprano, how is her Italian? We could use someone to play the young Butterfly!"

Two lawyers sitting on a couch, talking. The child of one pounds the coffee table with his hand. "Look out, looks like we've got an angry judge here! I retract my previous statement, your honor!"

Any of that sound absurd?

Here's how Freddie deBoer at Balloon Juice interprets that tweet:

Or, alternatively, that’s how a psychopath congratulates a colleague on the birth of a child.
I’m sure if you put his feet to the fire, Alex Tabbarok would be willing to talk about, you know, inherent human dignity and that sort of junk. But his project, and the project of people like him, is to relentlessly deny that there is more to human existence than the accumulation of material goods. That such a perspective works to support the agenda of the corporatists who fund the libertarian project is, of course, merely coincidence.

Economic conservatives used to at least half-heartedly pretend that they believed in inherent human worth and goods aside from the economic. Now, in the era of “markets in everything,” they don’t even bother with pretense.

An unnamed economist makes a nerdy compliment to another unnamed economist. Blogger who presumably knows neither of the economists, or of their politics, or of their relationship to one another, hears about it second hand, diagnoses psychopathy in one of the two economists and then launches into a tirade against his political enemies.

And it's not that there are no reasons for liberals to disagree with libertarian economists. But this is a terrible place to start that discussion.

This kind of eager casting-about for reasons to be angry is exactly why I stopped reading political blogs. And then I forgot. But, now that I've been reminded, it's why I'm stopping again. Life's too short to spend it finding ways to get wound-up.

7 thoughts on “Lesson Learned

  1. Ugh

    It’s a presidential election year, donchyaknow?

    And yet another reason to ignore the twitter.

  2. Rob Caldecott

    “Life’s too short to spend it finding ways to get wound-up.”


    I stopped with the political blogs and TV shows and I’m happier for it.

  3. platosearwax

    I spend far too much time on political blogs. I do tend to limit myself to Balloon Juice, Mother Jones and Kevin Drum, No More Mister Nice Blog and Alicublog and sometimes the Twitter (where I have right wing folks too). Oh and Facebook where seemingly everyone I know from High School is a far right fundamentalist (I can count the number of liberals from my high school on one hand). I should probably stop altogether because it is a waste of my energies, particularly when most of this shit doesn’t affect me in the least.

  4. cleek

    i might make an exception for Kevin Drum. he stays clear of cheap demagogy and anger for its own sake.

    his comment section though: infested with trolls.

    i’ve never read alicublog.

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