Saturday, July 14, 2012

Henry Farrell on Tyler Cowen in 2012: Perfect Competition and a Pony.

And in 2007: mental model of Tyler often sit[s] on my shoulder while I blog, making polite and well reasoned libertarian criticisms of my arguments..."
Tyler Cowen in 2006
To be sure, the shantytowns could bring socioeconomic costs. Yet crime, lack of safety, and racial tension were all features of New Orleans ex ante. The city has long thrived as more dangerous than average, more multicultural than average, and more precarious than average for the United States. And people who decide the cheap housing isn't safe enough will be free to look elsewhere—or remain in Utah with their insurance checks.
Shantytowns might well be more creative than a dead city core. Some of the best Brazilian music came from the favelas of Salvador and Rio. The slums of Kingston, Jamaica, bred reggae. New Orleans experienced its greatest cultural blossoming in the early 20th century, when it was full of shanties. Low rents make it possible to live on a shoestring, while the population density blends cultural influences. Cheap real estate could make the city a desirable place for struggling artists to live. The cultural heyday of New Orleans lies in the past. Katrina rebuilding gives the city a chance to become an innovator once again.
Henry Farrell has changed. His awareness has changed. But he'll never discuss or try to model that change, because to do it justice would be to describe a world beyond his own agency. I've said it a thousand times. Rationalists are terrified of history.

In my first mention of Cowen on this site, in 2005, I quoted Patricia Storace on Marjane Satrapi
It is not toward the idea of God that Satrapi is irreverent; it is toward a too credulous approach to the ambiguities of human motives and the temptations of moral aspiration. She sees how religious faith may serve as an exemption or protection from the discipline of self-knowledge, can function as a way of freeing a person from the work of moral inquiry, can create an environment in which a person's will and desires are so identified with the divine that he feels anything is permitted to him. Satrapi is the moral equivalent of an insomniac; she allows herself no moral repose. In a powerful and funny moment, after a conversation with her mother about the need to forgive people who had done harm in the service of the previous regime, Satrapi draws herself making speeches about forgiveness to a mirror, rapt in the image of her own invincible goodness. Satrapi may very well be a believer in God; it is above all toward herself that she is an agnostic.
Henry Farrell et al. have changed their opinions but not their assumptions. Agnosticism towards themselves is still out of the question.

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