National Review Online has the policy of monitoring the comments posted by readers. One of its senior editors (Ramesh Ponnuru) wrote a long article about the economy that was published on April 6. This was my comment:
I told the following true story to Murray Rothbard, a famous economist, who expressed no surprise at what I told him: In the late 1960s I audited a course in economics at New York University given by Israel Kirzner. Some years later, I took a course titled “Macroeconomics” at Pace University given by a Ph.D. in economics, whose name I forget. His thesis advisor was Kirzner. He was proud that Kirzner was his advisor because Kirzner had a big reputation in economics. It is relevant to this story that both Kirzner and the Pace teacher were Orthodox Jewish guys.
One day in class, I told the Pace teacher that macroeconomics was a lot of hogwash. He replied that all economists believed in macroeconomics. I said that Kirzner didn’t. The professor replied that Kirzner just didn’t do research in macroeconomics. His field was microeconomics, said the admirer and friend of Kirzner.
This is my way of saying this article is a lot of hogwash, and that Kirzner, Rothbard, and Ludwig von Mises would agree with me.
Ramesh Ponnoru? Damn, what the hell is going on? What's with all these Indian immigrant conservatives in America from Dinesh D'Souza to Nikki Haley to Bobby Jindal?
It's amazing because most Indians here are either apolitical or of standard progressive views inculcated from high school. It's also a little strange, because I thought the Indian Caucus in Washington was Democrat-supporting, with Obama having had a large Indian support base.
Sorry for the digression.
It is relevant to this story that both Kirzner and the Pace teacher were Orthodox Jewish guys.
they said we would have an unfair fun advantage
I know... why say "it's relevant they're orthodox jews" and then not say why in any way, shape, or form.
This poisoning of the well smells of anti-semitism.
In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!
It's relevant in that
1. One would suppose that would tighten their friendship even more, making the Pace guy's comment that much more astonishing.
2. Despite being an Orthodox Jew, one of them liked hogwash.
My humble blog
It's easy to refute an argument if you first misrepresent it. William Keizer
The hogwash thing is pretty funny lol
But the first reasoning would be like saying George W Bush and George Lucas should agree becaus they're both methodists.
@Prateek, American conservatives are fascists or progressives. Those desis are no different.
The reason it is relevant that both Kirzner and his student followed Orthodox Judaism is that we can assume that they were closer on a personal level than can be expected from the relationship between a Ph.D. student and his thesis advisor. This was my basis for saying the student and Kirzner were friends. Thus, we have two friends with doctorates in economics. One friend thinks macroeconomics is hogwash and the other friend is unaware of his friend's opinion. Isn't this absurd? Doesn't this call for an explanation?
I would also like to point out that I used the phrase, "orthodox jewish guys," not "orthodox jews." Also, isn't the phrase, "poisoning the well" anti-semitic? Isn't this what Jewish people were accused of in the middle ages?
The reason it is relevant that both Kirzner and his student followed Orthodox Judaism is that we can assume that they were closer on a personal level than can be expected from the relationship between a Ph.D. student and his thesis advisor.
Fair enough. I still don't see how this is a refutation of macroeconomics though.
I'm not sure who else has stated as much. I think that macro-anything is hogwash. It's like macroevolution: that dichotomy was invented by creationists to deny human evolution. I've never heard of macro-anything outside economics.
David Roemer:The reason it is relevant that both Kirzner and his student followed Orthodox Judaism is that we can assume that they were closer on a personal level than can be expected from the relationship between a Ph.D. student and his thesis advisor. This was my basis for saying the student and Kirzner were friends. Thus, we have two friends with doctorates in economics. One friend thinks macroeconomics is hogwash and the other friend is unaware of his friend's opinion. Isn't this absurd? Doesn't this call for an explanation?
I'm glad you clarified, but I'm with mikachusetts...I don't see the point of that story at all, much less how it relates to calling the article hogwash.
I just read the The Neurotic Personality of Our Time" by Karen Horney, and am working on the idea the liberalism is a "situational neurosis," as opposed to a "character neurosis." The core of a neurosis is anxiety, and one of the defenses is inhibition. Suppose an inhibited neurotic is listening to a lecture and disagrees with the content. The lowest level of inhibition will prevent the neurotic from expressing his disagreement. According to Horney, in the next level of inhibition, the neurotic will be unable to gather his or her thoughts and it won't be until the next day that the neurotic will figure out what they wanted to say. The next level, again this is Horney speaking, the neurotic will think he agrees with the lecture.
My theory is this: When liberals listen to the hogwash of Milton Friedman or Krugman of the New York Times they know unconsciously that it is nonsense. But they consciously think it makes sense and that they agree with it.
It may be that the Pace economist was not truly religious, but was a flat-out liberal. It may be that Kirzner expressed his views on macroeconomics, but his friend and student had an anxiety attack and didn't grasp the significance of what Kirzner said.
Okay so, I think we're stepping a bit closer. Now what I'm getting is that the Pace guy was so neurotic that he actually knew Kirzner's position but didn't realize it and just assumed it was the opposite.
I'm still lost as to (a) the significance of the story, and (b) how it is a way of calling something hogwash. Kirzner thinks macro is hogwash. His friend is seemingly unaware of this. When he is informed of this he responds that Kirzner just hasn't studied the subject. I really have no idea how this illustrates or is analogous to anything.
(And I don't care if Friedman was wrong on money. Putting him in the same camp as Krugman is just insulting.)
Friedman was also wrong about revelation. He was an atheist = liberal = humanist. He thought he was intellectually and morally superior to people who believe in the Bible and the Koran. He considered faith in God to be unenlightened. He thought he was more compassionate than those whose goal in life is to get to heaven. He lacked the maturity and integrity to admit that his life had no meaning and he lacked the gift of faith from God. He did not give the gift of faith to his children.
Friedman had the intelligence to come up with an alternative macroeconomic approach to the business cycle, but he lacked the character needed to see the truth of the only rational explanation for the business cycle. My theory is that he had an unconscious fear of being ridiculed by fellow liberals, that is, by people who, like him, think faith in God is irrational.