[UPDATE: I swapped out one of the arguments in light of re-reading Glasner and realizing I misunderstood one of his defenses.]
Consider the following hypothetical argument:
DAVIE: Man, that George Lucas doesn’t have anything to teach us about redemption. If you watch his classic Star Wars movies, he offers a warning about people succumbing to the Dark Side, but offers no guidance on how they can turn back to good.
BOBBY: What the heck are you talking about? In Return of the Jedi, Vader rescues Luke. Then his spirit is reunited in the afterlife with Yoda and Ben Kenobi. We see that one of the major themes of the entire saga is the fall and restoration of Anakin. I am stunned that someone could watch these movies and have uttered your initial statement.
DAVIE: Hmm, I’ve rewatched the sage in light of your clever riposte, Bobby, and now I realize that Lucas contradicted himself. I have a series of points to make, in defense of my original statement:
==>Yes, you’re right that Vader does perform some good deeds in Episode VI, but that’s really just a specific outcome in the fictitious world Lucas has developed. We don’t get a general theory of human redemption, applicable to the real world. For example, Lucas doesn’t work in a scene where Lucas’ own father turns back to good, after slaughtering thousands of rebels.
==>Yes Lucas offers a theme of redemption, but he bashes us over the head with it! He basically just asserts, out of nowhere, that Vader turns back to good, without giving a gradual buildup and character transformation. Classic Lucas.
==>Of course I agree that Lucas in Episode VI has offered us guidance on redemption from evil, but Victor Hugo did a much better job in Les Miserables. Lucas hasn’t taught us anything we didn’t already know.
I submit that if Bobby at this point pulled out a gun and shot Davie squarely between the eyes, no red-blooded jury of Americans would convict him.
Now then, on a completely unrelated note, let’s walk through my paraphrase of David Glasner’s recent thoughts on the work of Ludwig von Mises:
GLASNER: Mises doesn’t give us a theory of why the boom is physically unsustainable. If you read his classic work (Theory of Money and Credit), you’ll see that he offers just a theory applicable to the classical gold standard.
MURPHY: What the heck are you talking about? Mises does indeed give physical reasons for the unsustainability of the artificial boom, and he explicitly warns the reader not to walk away with the view you just attributed to him. I am stunned that someone could have read Mises’ book and still blogged your initial statement.
GLASNER: Upon further re-reading of Mises, I now see that he contradicted himself. Here are some points in defense of my original post:
==>Sure, Mises, writing in 1912, does discuss a hypothetical world where the classical gold standard doesn’t operate, and he does offer a theory as to why a credit expansion even in this world would be physically unsustainable. But, I wanted Mises in 1912 to write from firsthand experience as to why a world not operating under the classical gold standard couldn’t engineer a perpetual credit expansion. He gave us no such analysis, in 1912.
==>Yes, Mises does indeed explicitly state the claim that I said he never made. But, he doesn’t give a good reason for it. He just asserts it and moves on. Classic Mises.
==>Yes, I agree with Murphy that Mises gave a perfectly correct explanation for why a credit expansion–even in a world of fiat money–would eventually come to an end, namely hyperinflation. But we knew that before Mises told us. No contribution from “Austrian business cycle theory” on that score.
It’s a good thing for Glasner that I am a pacifist.