Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kristoff should watch Elvis

 Freakonomics notes:

Kristoff at the NYTimes notes that when parents are paid for learning disabled children, suddenly a lot of normal kids drop out of school or stay in learning disabled classes.

Heh. If Kristoff was an Elvis fan, he would already know that...

The plot is that a family who lives off of various welfare checks gets stranded, and ends up starting their own business...

The film is based on this book.

but I agree with Freakonomics: At least Kristoff is humble enough to notice the problem, and not just following the "two minutes of hate" talking points about the political party out of power.

During a heated election period (which, in the case of the 2012 election, arguably went back all the way to 2008!), advocates on both sides of the aisle are so worried about giving their opponent any ammunition that it affects what they say, how they say it, and how loudly.
The result is more silo-speak — liberals and conservatives each shouting to their blind followers, and demonizing any dissent — and less worthwhile public thinking. I think back to how Bryan Caplan put it in a recent podcast:
People have often said that politics has been the religion of the 20th century, and I think there’s a lot to that. In the same way that people get attached to a religion, they get attached to a political party. And once you’re part of it, you don’t want to hear someone talking about the horrible things that your religion or your party did in the past. You don’t want to go and say the people who now run it might be morally questionable, or hypocritical, or just wrong. Instead, you want to find a sense of community with a bunch of like-minded people. You all tell each other how wonderful you are and try to defeat your Satanic enemies who for some strange reason continue to dispute the truth that you have obtained.


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