Saturday, October 9, 2010

Will Wilkinson Is Trapped in a World He Never Made... - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

Brad DeLong is a research economist at U-Cal Berkpeley who shares much in common with many of my current favorite economic writers (e.g., Paul Krugman). From his blog, jealousy-inspringly entitled "Grasping Reality With Both Hands", I lifted the following post.

Not so much for the post itself - after all, my first glance take on the posting was, to paraphrase an old George Carlin bit: "Who in the hell is Will Wilkinson and what does he want from me?" - but rather for the thoughtful comments responding thereto. An online community of similarly open-minded, reasonable & truth-seeking voices is a great thing when you're living in a physical place where angry, shrill, ill-informed & change-fearing Tea Baggers abound. Please, please, go to the post & check out the reply commentary, and investigate the references made to further your own personal enlightenment.

Will Wilkinson Is Trapped in a World He Never Made... - Grasping Reality with Both Hands: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

My take on the thread?

Extremism is always the enemy of Truth... especially that special kind of extremism born of reality-divorced, near-schizophrenic shallow thinking.

Even the ancient Greeks understood this. I am utterly at a loss to explain why so many in the modern conservative movement have forgotten what our intellectual & political forebears knew thousands of years ago?

Purportedly carved into the entrance to the temple of the Oracle at Delphi were three proverbial phrases, the second of which was: μηδέν άγαν (mēdén ágan = "nothing in excess", or perhaps "in all things, moderation"). This aphorism guided much of the development of Hellenic - and, thus, all of Western civilization's - morality & polity. In Greek philosophy the idea is best expressed as Sophrosyne (σωφροσύνη), a term etymologically meaning healthy-mindedness & self-control or moderation guided by knowledge and balance, and is the opposite of Hubris.

Which begs the question: are the blathering self-professed modern conservative masses engaged in a replay of a great, collective Oedipal tragedy?

Perhaps we will find that they have indeed eagerly fucked their own mothers (Schlafly? Rand?) and are about to put their own fathers to the sword (Friedman? Hayek?).

Certainly their self-imposed blindness to empirical economic reality suggests they have plucked their eyes out with the brooch already.

Maybe we just have to be patient enough to simply watch & wait for their play to draw to a close?
[But I doubt that.]

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