20 Apr 2011

Conspiracy Theory or Fact?

Conspiracy 33 Comments

OK so somebody sent me this Yglesias post on the reasons the Union fought the War Between the States. (I’m very sensitive to all Americans.) Go ahead and skim it if you haven’t already seen it.

So then I was about the 13th comment and I wrote:

“Be careful Yglesias, a partisan might take your perfectly reasonable post and label you pro-Confederate.”

I am almost positive the post was “live,” meaning I could see it in line with the previous posts. I.e. it didn’t look like I was seeing it merely because I had written it.

Furthermore, to this day when I go to the thread, the Disqus log-in box at the bottom tells me I have 1 comment, and 1 like. So presumably at least one other person saw it.

Yet, my comment no longer seems to be on the thread. Right? You guys can’t see it?

I don’t want to judge something like this before all the facts are in, but it looks like Yglesias pulled a DeLong. Any alternate hypotheses?

33 Responses to “Conspiracy Theory or Fact?”

  1. Jeff Gough says:


  2. Yancey Ward says:

    I have not noted his blog as being very bad for this, but I have seen comments vanished (not mine since I rarely comment on his blog). Taking down that one of yours seems a bit overboard. Still, this is no comparison to the shockingly dishonest way DeLong does it.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      What is dishonest about how DeLong does it? He’s got a stated comment policy (http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/comment-policy-a-seminar-.html). You may not like that policy, but there’s nothing dishonest about it.

      Cue people with a cut and paste history of DeLong’s crimes against humanity – I know I know. Probably he cut one one day where someone demonstrated a factual error, when he actually cut it for some other statement in the comment.

      I have to sympathize with DeLong… I’ve had comments on my blog recently with semi-good points citing all manner of Rothbard and then a diatribe at the end about how I want to kill people to get my way. I used to walk them back off that ledge with a responding comment, but lately I don’t feel obligated to and I’m moderating comments more, and just deleting them. I don’t have time for that crap. I can sympathize with DeLong – usually when bloggers moderate comments it says more about the commenters than the bloggers.

      • Blackadder says:


        I think the issue is that DeLong doesn’t generally delete comments that are deranged diatribes. He leaves those comments while deleting ones that make effective points against him.

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          Well, I have personal experience that people don’t necessarily see eye to eye on what constitutes “effective points against him”.

          I might have made things too extreme by focusing on that one comment that I got. I don’t think DeLong wants his comment section turned into a libertarian discussion forum, that’s all. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

          I have the toughest time talking about the mechanics of externalities on my blog, for instance. The comments always wind up proclaiming that it’s stupid for governments to solve externalities – even when I never mention the government solving externalities in the post! People zero in on what they want to talk about – there are ways from distracting from the subject without having a diatribe.

          • sandre says:


            we don’t need any lesson on what constitutes a diatribe and what constitutes a good argument stated very politely. We are all adults with common sense. Yes, it is possible that Brad de Long is douche bag. It is quite possible that a particular Austrian economist is a douche bag. You don’t have to go around defending a douchebag everywhere.

          • Blackadder says:


            People can disagree whether a comment is effective or not up to a point. However, I think that any reasonable observer looking at a sampling of the comments DeLong deletes or edits vs those he leaves alone would have to agree with my assessment.

          • Greg Ransom says:

            “effective points against him” = simple facts

        • bobmurphy says:

          I can’t speak for others, but the thing about DeLong that I couldn’t believe was that he would (a) selectively edit comments, sometimes without making it obvious that he had done so, and (b) he would (as Blackadder says) delete posts that were totally fine. E.g. he was spouting off about the Hayek-Hoover axis and Steve Horwitz posted a link to a Larry White paper saying that Hayek wasn’t a liquidationist, and DeLong deleted that. I am 99% sure Horwitz’s comment was neutral in tone.

          So give me a freaking break, he needs to protect his innocent readers from reading bad ideas written by Austrian economists? And not even a Hoppe or DiLorenzo, but now Larry White is on the banned list?

          • Greg Ransom says:

            DeLong hate it when people very directly, and very simple point out how DeLong has his history of ideas wrong, or how DeLong has very deliberately and very obviously falsified the history of ideas to make some point or other.

            This happens _repeatedly_.

            And it isn’t even arguable.

      • Greg Ransom says:

        “If you prove me wrong, or prove I’m an error spewing hack, your comment will be delete.”

        I _love_ DeLong’s comment policy.

  3. Bob Roddis says:

    I’ve never had a Little Matty comment disappear. I’ve had many that had to be “moderated” and never appeared. Of course, nothing can moderate me.

    BTW, when I was a social democrat commie McGovernite back in 1972, I took a college class on the Civil War. The theme of the course and the then New Left narrative was that it was an example of big time Northern capitalists invading the south to maintain markets.

    That narrative now brings invective:


  4. Bob Roddis says:

    It may come as a surprise to many but Yglesias is a lying little snake who has never presented the faintest outline of Austrian thought while constantly referring to it as “crank” over the past two years.



  5. Jonathan M.F. Catalan says:

    How did Yglesias become so popular?

    • Greg Ransom says:

      Good question.

      How do any of the lefty hacks become popular?

      How about Josh Marshall?

      Or Ezra Klein.

      It tells us something about the intellectual decline of the country — and about the size of the dependent-on-government class

  6. Captain_Freedom says:

    What is with all the prevalent comment filtering on liberal economist’s websites?

    Krugman, DeLong, Yglesias….

    Why the fear of engaging their intellectual opponents?

    In their subconscious they must know that they can’t win if they don’t control the message.

    • Greg Ransom says:

      Add: Mark Thoma

  7. J Cortez says:

    Yes, you and your comment has been Delong’d, Krugman’d, and swept under the carpet where no one can find it. Cute how that works, huh?

    You know the irritating thing about all this? The lack of honest debate on the statist side, whatever the ideological bias. While there’s a few that actually care about being fair, whether they are a social democrat or a corporate nationalist, most just don’t give a damn.

    Is the Austro-verse different? I could be wrong, but I think it definitely is. To my knowledge, Austro-libertarians haven’t and wouldn’t have silenced these people on their sites. The only times I’ve seen comments get deleted within the Austro-sphere is if things aren’t real debate and have devolved into invective name calling and mud slinging—and even then a lot of stuff is still just left to stand. If things are deadlocked and pointless, then usually the debate is ended and comments closed. But my general feeling is that there’s a, “Hey, I’m looking for the truth,” to all these sites, unlike our statist opponents. Am I looking through rose colored glasses on the Austro-world?

    • Greg Ransom says:

      Note well. Fellow lefty Mark Thoma has the same MO as his dishonest and biased partners in crime DeLong and Krugman — Thoma also deletes comments contrary to his leftist talking points.

  8. Bob Roddis says:

    How did Yglesias get so popular? Well, as he says:

    “I’m a cold-blooded technocrat by nature”


    The “progressive” personality basically hates and despises average people. Average people require proper “herding” by their betters. That is the psychological basis for unflinching “progressive” support for public schools, Keynesian economic management, Global Warming legislation, control of medicine etc…..

    Yglesias is able to spit out 10 or more blog posts each day with clever ideas about how to better herd the masses through technocratic control. His minions love it.

    This is also why “progressives” will never bother to even approach the basic concepts of the Austrian School. The Austrian School teaches that it is essential that average people be left alone to make their own choices, including economic choices. Nothing can make a “progressive” go berserk quicker than suggesting that there is no role for the “progressive” in guiding and herding average people. EVER.

  9. Daniel Kuehn says:

    Disquis requires approval for posts with links now, I believe. I had a comment at Cafe Hayek that was waiting for days becaues I included a couple links in it. I’m not sure how often he checks those to approve.

    • sandre says:

      No, disqus works just the way the blog administrator configures it. A comment not appearing is very different from a comment appearing, getting a lot of responses and then disappearing into a blackhole in cyberspace.

  10. Daniel Kuehn says:

    Here’s a test case – try it again – same sentence, no link

  11. Bob Roddis says:

    In response to Little Matty’s vicious attack on DiLorenzo which was cited by Bob Murphy above (“The Strange Case of Pro-Confederate Monetary Policy”), my comment, which showed Little Matty even more love and respect than usual, was published.


    Nevertheless, I still smell a deletion.

  12. John Bigelow says:

    If you do a “View Source” on the page and then search for murphy you can find what Google finds. I would guess that someone flagged your comment as inappropriate.

  13. Victor says:

    Am I a day late? When I go to the website, I see Bob’s comment. I guess someone informed Yglesias.

  14. Matthew Murphy says:

    Strange. Bob: view the page source, then use Ctrl+F and search for Murphy. Your comment is still in the page code, but it is not visible on the site.

    I have no idea why, since I am not familiar with the software. Perhaps the comment was cowardly blocked from public display.

  15. Milkhail says:

    “I might have made things too extreme by focusing on that one comment that I got. I don’t think DeLong wants his comment section turned into a libertarian discussion forum, that’s all. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

    You and you alone are in disagreement about Brad Delong’s lack of manners. Your little projection doesn’t change that.

  16. Milkhail says:

    “So, Professor DeLong, you manage your comments closely enough that you delete links to intelligent papers by Larry White when it suits you, right? So are you going to step in and tell your friendly comment-writers that they have no idea what they are talking about? ”


    Even Gene Callahan has had his blog irritated by libertarians you’d find festering in LVMI forums, yet eh doesn’t troll for Brad De Long.

  17. Bob Roddis says:

    While Yglesias always reminds us that the Austrian school is a crank school, he doesn’t refer to the MMT as crank:


    Of course, Yglesias doesn’t really want to tell us where all the stuff is going to come from to satisfy the unpayable government debt and obligations either. I’ve been waiting since July for an answer to this question from AP Lerner.

  18. Tom Harvey says:

    Yes, confirming John Bigelow’s and Matthew Murphy’s observations, your comment is present but not displayed by Firefox/Mac nor by Safari/Mac. Someone without prior knowledge of the blogging software, and wanting to find out if it was hidden intentionally or not, might start by running the page through an html validator:


    but that’s a lot of work and I, for one, am not doing it.

  19. Captain_Freedom says:

    he doesn’t refer to the MMT as crank:

    Birds of a statist feather flock together.

    It’s only “crank” when someone dares espouse that the market process decide monetary matters.