Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Am I a horrible person whom children should jeer and pelt with dung?

I recently got embroiled in a bit of a contretemps on Matt Yglesias' blog about my post on Charles Murray's recent comments about the European model. Yglesias is a self-identified progressive, which means that many of his readers think of "capitalism" as a dirty word.

One of the commenters really disliked my concept of the miserly safety net.

Chris Yeh - you’re right, I was somewhat confused by your earlier comment. I thought perhaps you were, perhaps, somewhat misled or misguided - I stand corrected. You are, in fact, a horrible person, and in a just world beautiful women would look away from you in revulsion, powerful men would have you dragged away by hired security, and children would jeer and pelt you with soft pats of dung, possibly Murray’s.

The title of my post is a bit facetious; I'm pretty sure I'm not a horrible person. But I am disappointed that my polite attempts to engage with people of different beliefs are met with an excess of venom and a paucity of reasoned argument.

This is the sad thing about most of the policy dialogue in this country; our positions have been so hardened that real discussion seldom breaks out; instead we get talking heads yelling at each other on so-called "news" shows.

I am actually curious what progressives think about my proposals to address poverty and my other ideas. Know any would care to comment? Without calling for my disappearance?


Alex said...

I'm a bit surprised you're surprised: welcome to the internet. For a rational person to stay sane here they must ignore most user generated comments. It's simply too depressing to witness what non-rational people are candidly thinking.

It's basically necessary to be an elitist, or else you'll simply find it too painful.

Chris said...


Alas, I'm not too surprised about the level of discourse on the Internet--the medium which invented Godwin's Law.

But I do think it was the first time someone (I think) called for me to be disappeared and presumably executed.

First time for everything!

Johnny Abacus said...

Although not all progressives are social workers, almost all social workers are progressives.

If this particular progressive holds a job that you advocate should be done away with... well... it's not hard to see how logic might be affected.

It is curious how quickly the effects of the policies people tend to advocate alignment with their own self interest.

Frederik said...

Hi Chris,

You made an impression on me when I visited your MBA blog, and that's how I got here. Just in time to come at your defence, it seems... :-)

I'm Belgian although critical of our 'socialist' EU system (not that I'm impressed with the US system). Your miserly plan fits well into my personal view of what'd make a good gov't: one that is small while leaving individuals as free as possible to strive for happiness.

Despite this opinion, I find Murray's speech a joke (w.r.t. his stereotype of 'Europe'). His conclusions are absurd (they strongly remind me of the scientific Nazi theories that Jews are genetically inferior). It's both funny & sad to see seemingly intelligent individuals agree to what he says.

Anyway, I applaud you for your miserly idea and regret to see original ideas like it reacted to with venom. I wish I could say things are different in Europe...