08 Aug 2014


Potpourri 29 Comments

==> Tom Woods had some great guests on for his “World War I” week. (Tom was against.) You can browse the full archives of his show, but don’t miss the interview with David R. Henderson. Also check out Anthony Gregory talking with Tom about how awful George W. Bush was.

==> I don’t know what else to say about this: The head of the Executive Branch recently admitted that he thought American government officials had engaged in torture. He acted as if this were an open-and-shut case. Well, the United States government passed the “War Crimes Act of 1996,” which specifically lists “torture” as a war crime. So…when’s the grand jury? I guess the hold-up is that Obama has assigned a task force to assemble jurors who’ve never heard of Dick Cheney?

==> By FAR–it’s not even close–the most Shares I’ve gotten on Facebook is when I linked to this Salon article about a new meaning of “literally” going into the dictionary. Is this something worth arguing about? Yes, I understand that we no longer talk as Shakespeare did, but on the other hand if my son says “I goed to the store” I’m going to correct him and say the proper word is “went.”

==> Oh man, I don’t have time to deal with this right now. But David Glasner is talking Hayek/Sraffa debate again, and he’s defending the Austrians while I would defend Sraffa. Weird? We’re in a liquidity trap, everything’s upside down.

==> Michael Tontchev not only read my hard-hitting analysis of the Nordhaus “DICE” model, but Michael pushed it further. Some really cool stuff he found.

==> Bryan Caplan faces off against Scott Sumner.

==> I’m not going to blog separately about this, since I’ve been hitting Krugman too much lately on the issue of inflation, but here ya go. Let me know if you agree that this guy has found damning Krugman textbook quotes, or if this is silly.

==> Pamela J. Stubbart needs her swooning couch, she is so shocked by our sexualized culture. But seriously, I think she makes some great points about the difference between legal permission and social approval.

29 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Dan says:

    “Yes, I understand that we no longer talk as Shakespeare did, but on the other hand if my son says “I goed to the store” I’m going to correct him and say the proper word is “went.”’


    • JimS says:

      “We must be free or die, who speak the tongue. That Shakespeare spake;”

      William Wordswoth, England 1802

  2. Pamela J. Stubbart says:

    thanks a bunch, RPM! hopefully this won’t be as much of a bloodbath for me as last time, with the rape status….

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Uh, I just want to assure everyone that Ms. Stubbart is referring to a previous link when she posted on how libertarians sometimes use “consent” inconsistently in their arguments about the State versus frat parties. Without context, her comment looks much racier than it really is.

    • khodge says:

      fallacy of voluntaristic myopia (?)

  3. Grane Peer says:

    When I read that they changed the definition of literally, I literally crapped my pants. Thank god for the change because every time I have said this I wasn’t sure if I was making a joke or if I had better check myself. Whew! Safe.

  4. Anon says:

    The definition should definitely have been changed, since it has become an accepted usage. That said, the people responsible should be punched in the jugular.

    • Tel says:

      I literally trust the people I vote for to keep their promises.

      • Grane Peer says:

        I literally think the public school system is responsible for confounding this sentence.

        • Tel says:

          There’s a deeper force at work. Our postmodern society no longer needs language to describe things that are literally true.

          • Grane Peer says:

            Wait, what?

            • Tel says:

              In case you haven’t noticed, society has largely given up on logic, deduction, rational analysis, etc. People like Krugman who believe what they need to believe this week are pretty much normal. Atmospheric science is now a political statement. Belief is a membership card for your local tribal organization. Being called “truther” is a term of abuse.

              It makes perfect sense that a word like “literally” in the old sense is surplus to requirements.

              • Grane Peer says:

                Sorry Tel, I’m with you. I failed at a joke seeing how literally means figuratively now, it is difficult to understand how something could be literally true.

  5. Gamble says:

    Hi Bob,

    Thought you might like this one. Takes the wind right out of statist Christians, although they will still twist scripture to grow guberment.


  6. Scott H. says:

    I read the JW Mason piece about Krugman. If I’ve got to pick between silly and not silly I will go with silly. He does make a good point about where Krugman’s text book will have to be cleaned up. However, the whole tone is overwrought with Krugman hate. If Mason was just pointing out how the text book doesn’t reflect Krugman’s own, more complicated, views, and find that mildly ironic or interesting I would be OK with it. The whole “A Ha!” aspect of the article turned me off, and made it silly.

  7. JimS says:

    Once again, when in times of trouble, we can trun to our great leaders for direction.

    Weird Al:


    All hail Weird Al!

  8. Josiah says:

    Shouldn’t libertarians be non-prescriptivist when it comes to language? Emergent order, and all that.

    • Major.Freedom says:

      Prescriptivism can be proposed but still subjected to Hayekian spontaneous order.

      Free market of ideas and all that.

      All words were invented by someone, and every single one of those someones used those new words because they believed they ought to use them.

  9. Matt M. (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:


    You make a good point on the “literally” case but I think I disagree.

    Teaching your son not to say “goed” is just responsible parenting, because if your son went around saying “goed,” most people would consider him an idiot, because “goed” is not common usage.

    Using literally to mean “figuratively” has, on the other hand, reached a critical mass to the point where it would no longer be considered a characteristic of someone who was simply never taught proper English. Now obviously, it’s not something I would do in a job interview or very formal setting, but it wouldn’t get you the same sort of looks that something like “goed” would.

  10. Major.Freedom says:

    Re: JW Mason…

    Quoting Krugman:

    “A permanent increase in the level of a country’s money supply ultimately results in a proportional rise in its price level.”

    “Second — and this plays a surprisingly big role in my own pedagogical thinking — we do want, somewhere along the way, to get across the notion of the self-correcting economy, the notion that in the long run, we may all be dead, but that we also have a tendency to return to full employment via price flexibility.”

    Hey Murphy, I think I figured it out. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel or frame critiques/analyses in our own words. We just have to quote academic/textbook Krugman because it looks like he refutes pundit/blogger Krugman.

  11. Major.Freedom says:

    Everyone who posts to this blog are good people.


  12. Silas Barta says:

    I’m fine with the debasement of the word “literally” as long as you give me a replacement for the function “literally” used to provide, but no one is.

    • Josiah says:

      I’m fine with the debasement of the word “literally” as long as you give me a replacement for the function “literally” used to provide, but no one is.

      Why can’t “literally” still serve this function?

      • Ken B says:

        My new dictionary lists one meaning of “not” to be “indeed”.

        • Harold says:

          Is this one you bought or one you wrote?

  13. Harold says:

    There are about 100 advocates. Weeks is only 1. Seems a bit extreme. The fear of “guilt by association” with potential future employers seems a little far fetched. Any employer who used this as a barrier to employ a woman is really not worth working for.

    The web page for Young Voices does not mention that its aim is to serve the liberty movement.

  14. Greg Morin says:

    Regarding “literally” gaining a new definition. This seems a bit silly, it’s not a new meaning, it’s just using the word in hyperbole. Do we need to redefine every word ever used in a hyperbolic manner? I guess we should redefine “fire” as meaning “somewhat warm” for all those people that say “Wow, it’s as hot as fire out here!”… we wouldn’t want anyone to be confused and think because the dictionary does not define “fire” as meaning “somewhat” warm” then logically one can only conclude the surface temperature of the earth is several hundred degrees.

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