1. How to be wrong Chris Dillow, Stumbling & Mumbling
  2. Here’s what 30% unemployment looks like Nicholas Smith, Boston Review
  3. Welcome to Fascistville Mario Carrillo, The Long Run
  4. Khrushchev’s Great American Road Trip Angela Brintlinger, Origins


  1. Inside the liberal elite’s mountain retreat Linda Kinstler, 1843
  2. How to reform the Economics PhD Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
  3. Populism’s prophet C Gavin Collins, Quillette
  4. The Cherokee want their spot in Congress Nick Martin, New Republic


  1. Against HIPPster regulation Irfan Khawaja, Policy of Truth
  2. Is the “culture of poverty” functional? Bryan Caplan, EconLog
  3. A sex fiend Jacques Delacroix, NOL
  4. Do we have the historians we deserve? Branko Milanovic, globalinequality

BC’s weekend reads

  1. on BBC bias | fake news and political entrepreneurship
  2. Leftist hypocrisy at its finest | goose pimples and hypocrisy
  3. classical liberals and libertarians are asking the wrong question about sovereignty | myths of British sovereignty and isolation (XII)
  4. 4 reasons why the academy will remain mostly unwelcoming to the Right | Carlos Castaneda’s fraudulent scholarship
  5. Soviet ice cream | the economics of hard choices

New issue of Econ Journal Watch is out!

For those of you who don’t already know, Warren is the math reader for EJW and one of NOL‘s co-founders, Fred Foldvary, is an editor for the journal, so this is very much a family affair. Here are some of the articles that caught my eye:

You get what you measure: Daniel Schwekendiek explains how South Korea followed a proven template of incentivizing exports to boost Web of Science publications and raise the rankings of its academic institutions.

Now entering a Republican-free zone: Mitchell Langbert, Anthony J. Quain, and Daniel Klein report on the voter registration of faculty at 40 leading U.S. universities in Economics, History, Journalism, Law, and Psychology.

Whither science in gender sociology? Charlotta Stern investigates whether gender sociologists blinker themselves from scientific findings about sex differences.

How to Do Well by Doing Good! In this 1984 essay, Gordon Tullock counsels young economists that doing well and doing good go together.

You can download and read the whole thing here (pdf).

“How to recognize and avoid embedded values biases”

The appearance of certain words that imply pernicious motives (e.g., deny, legitimize, rationalize, justify, defend, trivialize) may be particularly indicative of research tainted by embedded values. Such terms imply, for example, that the view being denied is objectively valid and the view being “justified” is objectively invalid. In some cases, this may be scientifically tenable, as when a researcher is interested in the denial of some objective fact. Rationalization can be empirically demonstrated, but doing so requires more than declaring some beliefs to be rationalizations, as in Napier and Jost (2008), where endorsement of the efficacy of hard work – on one item – was labeled rationalization of inequality.

This is from an article (here is the full pre-print pdf) by a number of social scientists on the lack of intellectual diversity in academia (the excerpt can be found on the bottom of page 13). I would suggest that referring to oneself as a political “centrist” or “pragmatist” is also a giveaway of embedded values bias. Just think about how that affects your perception of other points of view!

Pages 25-27 have great stuff on intelligence (so does NOL!), but the authors missed an opportunity to point out that when liberals use IQ arguments to explain such a heavily Left-wing presence in academia, they are simply invoking the same argument used by conservatives to support all sorts of racist mumbo-jumbo. (Pages 30-34 deal with the hostile climate and outright discrimination that conservatives face in academia, so it might be charitable to view these sections as making my point for me.)

(h/t Bryan Caplan)

Religion or Institutions: A Final Word

Over at Facts Matter, I believe I finally settled the issue of whether or not Islam is to blame for the violence in the Middle East. I put the nail in the coffin with this:

Still no evidence. I am, again, arguing about the real color of a unicorn’s horn…

Dr J asks:

Refresh my memory: Blasphemy laws where? “Popping up….”

Right now? Post-socialist Europe. And post-coup Thailand. And post-monarchist Nepal. Go ahead: Google it!

Are you implicitly stating that Russia is part of the historical West? Peter the Great just another Montesquieu?

Nope. You didn’t specify that the examples had to be from the traditional West. Speaking of moving the goalposts:

Death for converting, anywhere? (I did add this.)

Can you provide me with an instance of this happening in a Muslim state?

One more from Dr J:

With what penalties? (Death or more?)

Fines as far as I know. Again, can you give me an instance of a death sentence carried out in a Muslim state in the name of blasphemy?

David: rather than try to rebut every one of your points, I think I’ll just let your comments stand on their own. For your own benefit, insert the word “Muslim” in place of the word “Christian” throughout your lengthy defense of the latter.

If you do this, you’ll not only be proving my point, but you’ll have a better understanding of what is going on in the Middle East today. The difference between the United States and, say Russia or Egypt, is institutional.

Max Weber famously argued that Protestantism was responsible for the rise of capitalism in the West. There was something about Protestantism that changed the way northern Europeans thought about the world, as well as how they justified their actions. He was wrong, of course, but his argument continues to influence large swathes of opinion today. Why? Because of “selective anecdotal evidence that is fortified by the perceived well-being of contemporary Protestant states.”

The myth of Islam’s violent penchant should die with the same last breath of the imperialist’s claim of superior foresight. If anybody wants to go a couple more rounds in the ‘comments’ section here, I’d be glad to take you on. If you are hesitant, ask yourself if this is because you are afraid you might be proven wrong, or because you know deep down inside that you are absolutely correct about Islam’s mythical penchant for violence.

From the Comments: Islam’s “Violent Penchant”; Shooting Rampages and Stonings

Dr. Delacroix takes me to task over my dismissal of Islam’s inherently violent penchant. I think violence on grand scales, including war and terrorism, are always and everywhere a product of politics and institutions. Dr. Delacroix argues that Islam itself provokes violence. He writes:

A French citizen with a Muslim name goes on vacation to the tribal areas of Pakistan and to Afghanistan. Latter on he goes on a shooting rampage. The probabilities are such that he has to have sought his victims. The first set of victims were Muslim soldiers in the French army. Of course, for a jihadist such soldiers are traitors. The second set of victims were Jewish children and an adult in a Jewish school. You have to look for a Jewish school in France. I wouldn’t know how to find one. It’s not as if the killer wanted to kill children and then he went to as school that happened to be Jewish.

None of this means anything according to Brandon. Of course, this anecdote is only one of of several I presented in support of the idea that Islam has a violent penchant. Brandon dismisses “anecdotes” as evidence. He seems to say that if I had presented a thousand anecdotes, I would have accomplished nothing. I imagine he believes it’s enough to say “not so” for his negative thesis (no violent penchant) to be considered true.

Strange mental world!

I did not say anything about what is responsible for terrorism in the Middle East. I only took exception to a small statement of faith of Brandon’s in a larger development.

Why was the French citizen in Afghanistan and Pakistan? I ask because both states are in the middle of an international conflict (along with France, I might add). Continue reading