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Friday, January 11, 2013

More on Yglesias and Buchanan

The dead are not immune from criticism. And while alive, James Buchanan was not and should not have been immune from criticism: there is an entire section of my book Oakeshott on Rome and America devoted to criticizing The Calculus of Consent.

But Buchanan was a serious scholar who made serious contributions to social science. To see some Internet asshat like Yglesias dump on him on the day of his death is disgusting. In one hundred years, people will still be studying Buchanan. In one hundred years, the only people discussing Yglesias will be his great-grandkids, and that will just be to ask, "Do you remember how weird the way great-grandpa sucked on his own fingers was?"

And my post here has nothing to do with politics. When Paul Krugman dies, there will be some libertarian creep doing just what the liberal creep Yglesias has done. And if I outlive Krugman, I will call that creep out on it as well.


4 comments:

  1. When Paul Krugman dies, there will be some libertarian creep doing just what the liberal creep Yglesias has done. And if I outlive Krugman, I will call that creep out on it as well.

    I look forward to it...

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  2. Never heard of Yglesias or any of his articles on Slate, but after reading that tweet he wrote, I concluded that he was being plain childish and unprofessional. He will certainly be fading into obscurity after he's gone.

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  3. Yglesias doesn't understand Buchanan because he thinks he knows how to engineer society.

    Maybe he should judge Buchanan on the truly vast literature that followed what he wrote. And, he should be reminded that Buchanan and Tullock essentially beat John Rawls to the punch by 15 or so years.

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  4. I think it's clear that Yglesias has never read Buchanan. He has probably read Rawls, but didn't realize that Buchanan and Tullock beat Rawls to the punch (by 10 years) and had a much stronger argument. Maybe Buchanan should be judged also for the vast public choice literature that followed him.

    Plus, Buchanan did excellent work in Cost and Choice.

    ReplyDelete