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July 05, 2006


Mike Huben

Hey, Jeff: if my comments upset you, you could respond to them. Instead of letting the shills try to do the work for you.

Oh, and once again I'm dazzled by libertarian super mind-reading powers, which inform you of what I believe. Have you been to see X Men 3 lately, or are you just projecting?

Now, you make the claim that "the negatives outweigh the positives". That is a quantitative claim. I hope you'll be able to total some numbers to support such a claim, rather than the usual libertarian barrage of "Look! Here's another outrage that costs us a nickle!" And of course you'll also need numbers for the benefits, even unintended benefits. Because otherwise you're comparing apples to... well... to nothing.


It seems to be a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

I haven't seen a shred of evidence that you have provided in your arguments against Miron.

Perhaps you should take some of your own advice.

Mike Huben

Look, there's a shill now.

Chris, the man is an economist. If he makes a claim, it would be nice if he tells us he's just blowing hot air, or backs it with the appropriate numbers.

And judging from the size of the claim he's made, he's not going to be able to do it. He may be able to cherry-pick some numbers, but his claim is really grandiose.


Hi Mike! Listen, I'm pressed for time and not able to make much of a post at the moment, but I was wondering if you would call me a shill. I really like it when people argue against libertarians by calling names.

Alan Brown

Woa. I think acknowledging a concern over some person's opinion of you is probably a waste of energy.

Classic Liberal

Mike, a shill is someone who's a paid associate of the speaker. Do you have any evidence that any of the comments here are made by paid associates of Miron? Or do you just love to lie about people you disagree with?

Eric H

After observing Mike's condescension for a few posts, I began to expect him to deliver something significant. Instead, we get a demonstration of just about every ad hominem in this, every trick in this, and word games. He seems to expect every post to include a formal proof of every statement, but does not assume a symmetrical burden for himself. Some of Mike's contributions are potentially enlightening and occasionally entertaining, but his refusal to embrace the premise that other commenters are intelligent, sane, non-evil adults camouflages or even reduces their value.

BTW, Mike, how do you know your comments upset Jeff? Apparently the mind-reading secret has leaked out!


Geez Mike, I didn't realize that blog posts had to meet the criteria for doctoral dissertations.

It is completely appropriate to discuss theory and "back of the napkin" abstractions to make a point. I won't presume to guess what Miron's intent with this blog is, but I'm willing to bet that it isn't to persuade people that are ideologically opposed to libertarian philosophy.


Mike's lot in like is to make sure that people aren't fooled by the rational and consistent arguments for libertarianism. His frustration is amplified by his inability to present an alternative political philosophy. Its a tough job but somebody has to do it...

Mike Huben

James, of course you shill for libertarianism and/or Miron.

Classic Liberal, you need to buy a dictionary. shill: "One who poses as a satisfied customer or an enthusiastic gambler to dupe bystanders into participating in a swindle." Nothing about pay there.

Eric, you need to learn to read English. I saif "If" Miron is upset. I didn't say he was. As for rhetorical tricks, Jeff started out with an equivalent to "when did you stop beating your wife." But I don't expect you folks to notice such things: your bobbleheads would just nod "yep, that's Mike."

Chris, when Miron (who has the credentials from having written a thesis) makes thesis-level claims, why shouldn't we ask for more than hand waving? Perhaps you're syncophantic enough to accept whatever he tells you? I'm not, obviously.

Paul, if you think the arguments in libertarianism are rational and consistent, just how do you explain the fact that there are huge disagreements within libertarianism over very fundamental issues? I recommend that you read my article on the subject.

As for the claim at the end of my comment, let's see what Jeff has written, and see if I'm right.


Mike, thanks!

Meanwhile, I find something quote remarkable in your recent comments here. When "there are huge disagreements within libertarianism," you point that out as though disagreement among libertarians indicates a problem with libertarianism. When libertarians are in agreement, as is often true of the libertarian reactions to Miron's posts, you call names and point that out as though agreement among libertarians indicates a problem with libertarianism. Is there any amount of consensus or lack thereof that you would see as a positive indicator for libertarianism?

Eric H

Unfortunately, that is exactly what I expected: an indignant response as if you provided other optional interpretations and had no intent to imply anything of the sort. The gratuitous ad hominems round out a very thorough example of almost everything I claimed. Have you ever tried behaving as if other commenters were intelligent, sane, non-evil adults? You might win more converts and draw less aggressive reactions. Unless that is your goal; billy-goats who respond quickly and thoughtlessly to such behavior are generally easy targets, but I would say they are beneath you.

As far as Jeff's opening statements, I saw his as being an attempt to introduce a bit of humor and self-deprecation to introduce a project without setting you off. You should not feel justified in responding in kind when you have repeatedly set that tone. Parse and deconstruct your statements as you will to try to prove your innocence of using provocative language, but when taken as a whole, you have given the impression of someone who holds him in contempt.

Also, by making that statement about Miron's rhetoric, you undermined your first claim about not saying (implying) he is upset. Did you only say "if" without implications, or were you responding to his rhetorical tone? You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

It is possible that most people who read Jeff's posts note them and move on, finding more important things to do with their time than quibble with or proclaim support for every point with which they disagree or agree, so your implication of sycophancy does not necessarily follow (nor is it disproved). If everyone with an advanced degree wrote every blog post as if it were a thesis, I suspect they would be long, infrequent, and probably not free. And that would be unfortunate because it would prevent exposure to fewer non-libertarian views as well as to this one blog, assuming that you hold non-libertarian academic bloggers to the same standard as Miron.

As far as that definition of shill goes, do you really think a shill is someone who dupes bystanders into a swindle because they think it's fun, not for pay?

Eric H

Oops, remove the word "fewer" from the last paragraph.

Classic Liberal

My dictionary is just fine, Mike, but who here is posing "as a satisfied customer or an enthusiastic gambler to dupe bystanders into participating in a swindle" I'm not a customer of Miron's nor a gambler. And do shills normally work for free just our of the goodness of their heart? You're wrong, Mike and your name calling is just lame.


Classic Liberal,

Mike is (often!) wrong, but let's not discourage his name calling. It's a good barometer. In past decades, the opposition criticized free markets saying that capitalism would create poverty. After that, the opposition complained that without price controls on food, families would go hungry. More recently, the opposition started to complain that free markets would offer too many choices in the supermarket and make us unhappy. I find it more than a little encouraging that the opposition has now moved to the complaint that we're propagandists, ideologues, shills, etc.

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