04 Oct 2016

Trolling Update

Humor, Scott Sumner 6 Comments

Scott has playfully pushed back against my nomination of myself as Best Troll of an Economics Blog 2016; you can read that and the comments if you are really committed to doing nothing productive for the next 15 minutes.

After that, I encourage you to consider just one more example of my trolling, on an EconLog post where Scott defended Gary Johnson’s “brain freeze”:

Charley Hooper wrote:

“Asking a libertarian to name their favorite world leader is like asking a vegan to name their favorite steakhouse.”

…and Scott applauded the analogy.

OK guys, that’s fine insofar as it goes, but let me make it more analogous to what actually happened:

(1) Two guys are running on the Vegan ticket. Chris Matthews asks them, “Name your favorite steakhouse.”

(2) The Vegan running for president is having a brain freeze. His VP says, “Ruth’s Chris” right away.

(3) The Vegan running for prez has recovered somewhat. “It’s um, the one that sounds like Willie Horton, but that’s not it…” Then the VP bails him out by prodding, “Morton’s.” The prez candidate lights up. “MORTON’S STEAKHOUSE, that’s what I was trying to come up with.”

(4) A day later, on Twitter, the Vegan running for president tweets out, “24 hours later, I still can’t think of a steakhouse I like.”

(5) People on leading vegan (small-v) websites applaud the honesty of their candidate.


6 Responses to “Trolling Update”

  1. Andrew_FL says:

    Pace South Park, “there is one thing the Danes have known for centuries. To get a troll to come out of hiding, you must speak its name.”

  2. skylien says:

    “People on leading vegan (small-v) websites …”


    “…Trump is very loyal to the people around him, or at least so claims his third wife.”

    and Ken Ms books/magazines in the baking oven…


  3. Bharat says:

    Perfect! (You helped change my mind on this) Gary Johnson’s a moderate libertarian. He should have no trouble naming a politician he respects. After all, he tried naming the former president of Mexico, who I assume was hardly libertarian.

    The fact he couldn’t name someone he respected speaks to his lack of knowledge. Tom Woods was right. This guy has no intellectual curiosity.

    • Darien says:

      Vicente Fox talked a good libertarian game on the campain trail, then got elected and accomplished nothing but lining his own pockets. Just the kind of politician ol’ Gary would look up to!

    • Tel says:

      The question asked for a “leader” so most politicians would already be disqualified.

  4. Reece says:

    I think your response is really good in that it accepts the original analogy’s logic and then shows what it would really imply. So you’re right that it’s more analogous, but the main problem is that the original analogy’s logic was awful.

    Gary Johnson and Bill Weld aren’t anarchists, which would be analogous to vegans. Maybe it’s best to consider them casually vegetarian in this analogy, with minarchists being full vegetarians. If we pretend every restaurant in the country has at least some meat and every restaurant has lots of dairy/eggs, which would be analogous to the libertarian credentials of world leaders, it could be reasonably difficult for Johnson to name his favorite restaurant. The analogy misses that:1) Johnson/Weld “eat meat” to some extent 2) Johnson/Weld probably aren’t more “vegan” than some “steakhouses” 3) It isn’t easy to judge how libertarian most leaders are – it’s not as easy as just looking if they eat meat/dairy/eggs/other animal products.

    (Please nominate me too.)

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