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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stand by Your Book, and Tell the World You Love It

I have sometimes seen people saying that I don't "stand by" what I wrote in 2000, or 2004, or some other, earlier time.

I find this a truly extraordinary "sin" of which to accuse an author. Things I wrote in the past were not marriage vows or pledges of financial aid or military assistance. They were reports of my best attempts to understand markets or war or politics or society or whatever. Since then, I have kept striving to improve those understandings. When I have done so, I have reported back on how they have improved. Someone who "stands by" everything they wrote a decade ago is standing still, and has failed as an intellectual.

These accusations are as though I was a painter who had improved his technique, and then was accused of "betraying" his cruder, earlier paintings.

4 comments:

  1. The old Gene was all about the music.

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  2. The only thing I get uppity about--whether it's from you or Bruce Bartlett or David Frum, the other latter two do it more than I think you do--is when people get all huffy and make moral condemnations about the sort of person who would write X, when they themselves wrote X^2 10 years ago, and aren't even acknowledging that in their current condemnation.

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  3. "Someone who "stands by" everything they wrote a decade ago is standing still, and has failed as an intellectual."

    Well, let's hope you enjoy many more decades as a writer.

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    Replies
    1. Oh that's lovely traumerei! Bravo.

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