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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Benny gets bitch-slapped

It's no secret to the readers here that Ben Shapiro has absolutely no idea what he's talking about when it comes to economics. That's why it's amusing to see Spencer Morrison kicking him around so easily. The Littlest Chickenhawk knows he's not in my league, which is why he ran away from debates with me twice, but he clearly didn't realize the full extent of his ignorance or he would have kept his mouth shut rather than getting steamrolled on the issue of trade and tariffs.

Morrison addresses Shapiro's inept response to him in a second article that really needs to be read in its entirety to appreciate its contemptuous nature:
Shapiro begins with two rather embarrassing mistakes. First, he misstates the name of this publication. Second, he commits a call to authority fallacy—precisely the error I accused him of last week. Shapiro writes:

The reality is that my arguments on free trade have been supported by every major free market economist in history . . .

This is a tautology: of course most “free market” (read: Austrian School) economists support free trade—just as most American School economists support tariffs, or most labor economists support unions. Does the fact that most Marxist economists support socialism prove that socialism works? No. This is sophistry.

Shapiro is also a hypocrite: did he not make his name by ignoring the so-called “97 percent of climate scientists” who believe climate change is anthropogenic, or the (I imagine) 100 percent of gender studies professors who think biological sex and gender identity are different? Why is Shapiro so willing to ignore “experts” on climate change or feminism, yet treat them like (false) gods when it comes to economics? Shapiro would be wise to remain ever-skeptical, and heed the aphorism: Take not the merchant at his word, but trust only by the skin of his fruit.

Finally, Shapiro says the articles I cited “do not mention tariffs,” and they are therefore irrelevant. This is like saying a paper on Elizabethan England, that never mentions Shakespeare, is irrelevant to studying Shakespeare—really? This is the difference between scholarship and parroting: my sources lend support to a novel conclusion, while Shapiro clearly googled “path-dependency” and cited the first book he could find—a case study of Microsoft.

While the book does discuss path-dependency, it does so explicitly within the context of a single industry, and makes no claim that the findings should be applied between industries. There is a big difference between supporting Microsoft relative to Apple or Google, and supporting America’s entire IT industry relative to foreign competitors. These are different debates, and the nuance is clearly lost on Shapiro....

Shapiro acknowledges that not all industries are of equal value when it comes to economic growth; economic growth depends upon technological development; growth is non-linear in that certain individuals (or industries) generate most of it.

Wait a minute! Shapiro just said that we “cannot tell which sectors will be the most profitable.” Which Ben do we believe? This is a perfect example of domain-specific knowledge in action. When Ben Shapiro has his “businessman” thinking-cap on, he acknowledges that you can tell which industries are most likely to generate economic growth—he even gives us an example. Yet when he has his “economist” thinking-cap on, he denies this categorically. This is what happens when you parrot sources without evaluating them for yourself.
Now that last sentence looks a little familiar, does it not? Perhaps it is merely a coincidence, two parallel observations. Or perhaps not....

Anyhow, it's obvious that Benny was too busy playing the violin and copying Human Events for his weekly WND column to ever play computer games, or he would understand the basic concept of path dependency that every turn-based Civ or RTS player has had to master. The little guy somehow managed to graduate cum laude from Harvard Law School without ever reaching the level of knowledge possessed by the average computer gamer.

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44 Comments:

Blogger Wynn Lloyd March 22, 2018 11:27 AM  

We need to spread the word of his defeat on YT. Still too many people are falling for his brand. Probably because of the half-hearted, nowhere-near-far-enough, anti-SJW talks he gives at campuses.

To not debate is absolutely cowardly, and wrecks every bit of credibility he could have ever built up. It's like a prize fighter not being willing to fight the champion. His whole career is rendered suspect.

Even I would debate VD if it were something I disagreed with him on, and cared deeply about, as BS does free trade. I'd lose, but I'd come out looking far better than if I ran from him.

Blogger Nate March 22, 2018 11:36 AM  

Damn. That was a beatdown

Blogger Nate March 22, 2018 11:41 AM  

As one that has had a lengthy debate with VD your read on this is correct. However remember that most of these guys like pz Meyers and Shapiro are frauds. So getting steam rolled would end it for them.

Blogger Ransom Smith March 22, 2018 11:43 AM  

Ring a ding ding baby.
Benny got kicked in the head .

Blogger saintCrispee March 22, 2018 12:06 PM  

I'll give you this, Vox. You do punch up.

Blogger VD March 22, 2018 12:14 PM  

I'll give you this, Vox. You do punch up.

No, it's not possible to punch up at Benny. Neither in the literal nor in the figurative sense. There are at least 250 commenters here who could crush the Littlest Chickenhawk in a debate.

Blogger Quinten Quartermain March 22, 2018 12:14 PM  

Axis of evil -Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

Blogger Zaklog the Great March 22, 2018 12:17 PM  

Okay, economically-dense guy here again. I don’t know that much about economics, but I do get S.M.’s civ games. Could someone please explain for me what “path dependency” means in that context?

Blogger Crew March 22, 2018 12:18 PM  

Shapiro would be wise to remain ever-skeptical, and heed the aphorism: Take not the merchant at his word, but trust only by the skin of his fruit.

Next Shapiro will claim that Morrison is an anti-Semite!

Blogger Jonathan March 22, 2018 12:19 PM  

"This is a tautology: of course most “free market” (read: Austrian School) economists support free trade—just as most American School economists support tariffs, or most labor economists support unions. Does the fact that most Marxist economists support socialism prove that socialism works? No. This is sophistry."

This reminds me of something my grandfather used to say. If you ask a butcher for dinner ideas he won't suggest any vegetarian recipes.

Blogger Brick Hardslab March 22, 2018 12:19 PM  

I only wish we had real tariffs. I would love to see jobs and manufacturing back here in the US. Plus who cares about the money lost by the banksters and vampiric rent-takers.

Blogger Nathan Bruno March 22, 2018 12:25 PM  

@8

You can't have muskets without metallurgy. If you don't have industry X, you won't get industry Y that depends on X.

Blogger Crew March 22, 2018 12:28 PM  

@12, and, from a national security perspective you need to keep lots of important skills in country.

However, the globalists don't want nations.

Blogger Ingot9455 March 22, 2018 12:43 PM  

Another example of path dependence is that now-old gag about why the Space Shuttle is approximately two horse-butts wide. It's because the distance between train rails in the US is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. The distance between train rails got that way because the first train tracks were made by the same people who made wagons, and they made wagons so that the wheels would fit in the wagon wheel ruts in old roads without breaking, which was two horse butts wide.

So when it came time to build the Space Shuttle, certain parts like the giant solid fuel booster rockets would have to be transported by rail and would have to go through tunnels that were sized for the US distance between the train rails and the size of a train on top of them.

While there's more to the story than the pithy summation, your decisions in the past affect your future. Once certain decisions are made it can be extremely costly, if not impossible, to fix them and take another path. The US did have competing rail lines with a different spacing and a rail buff could tell you which ones were arguably better - but in competition we collapsed back to two horse butts wide.

If you follow the Infogalactic updates here, you can see that every few weeks to months you get an update of the sort that says, "We reworked X, Y, and Z and it saved us this and you can see it goes faster." Infogalactic is specifically doing everything they can to remain nimble and avoid path dependence - and they're telling us when they do a path switch to open up the future.

Blogger Astrosmith March 22, 2018 12:45 PM  

LCH keeps saying that "free trade makes U.S. consumers better off because the costs of the stuff they buy goes down". That's true up until the point that the U.S. consumer CAN'T buy anything because he lost his job!

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother March 22, 2018 12:52 PM  

Case in point with Civilization, if you want the F16, you'd better pick Washington. If you want tanks, you'd better research Combustion, find and build an oil well.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 22, 2018 12:56 PM  

Astrosmith wrote:LCH keeps saying that "free trade makes U.S. consumers better off because the costs of the stuff they buy goes down". That's true up until the point that the U.S. consumer CAN'T buy anything because he lost his job!

Yes, the price in dollars doesn't matter, what matters is the price in hours worked. If you aren't working, the price in hours worked is infinite.

If you have a high-paying American job, you can afford high-priced American goods and services. If you got laid off because production moved to China, you can't afford the shoddy Chinese substitute goods.

Blogger Jack Amok March 22, 2018 1:09 PM  

If you got laid off because production moved to China, you can't afford the shoddy Chinese substitute goods.

Yep. Another thing about tariffs, the stuff that would still be imported would generally be the highest quality other countries can provide, since cheap stuff no longer being inexpensive guts the market for cheap stuff.

Toyota Land Cruisers are already astonishingly expensive. Slap a tariff on them to be a little more expensive, and they're still going to sell because they're probably the best vehicle Japan makes and worth a premium. Slap a tariff on some bindimobile rebranded with a faded British nameplate, it's probably not going to do so well.

So we have more domestic manufacturing and still have access to the best the rest of the world offers, while crowding out the crap.

Win-win-win.

Blogger Wynn Lloyd March 22, 2018 1:12 PM  

Makes sense. They would be destroyed by exposure.
Meyers is even worse than BS, in my opinion. He's got ten times the smugness.

Blogger Carl Philipp March 22, 2018 1:21 PM  

"Shapiro should (re)read 7.18-19 of David Ricardo’s On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, in which Ricardo acknowledges that comparative advantage is premised upon capital immobility—otherwise there is nothing to stop offshoring."

*wince*
Am I understanding correctly, that Ricardians have read too little Ricardo to acknowledge the limits of Ricardianism that Ricardo himself acknowledged?

Blogger Nate March 22, 2018 1:22 PM  

"I'll give you this, Vox. You do punch up."

my 11 year old is taller than Ben.

Blogger FUBARwest March 22, 2018 1:32 PM  

"Am I understanding correctly, that Ricardians have read too little Ricardo to acknowledge the limits of Ricardianism that Ricardo himself acknowledged?"

If I'm not mistaken I believe Darwin said something similar about his Theory of Evolution. Nobody reads the source material. They parrot what they've heard from others.

Blogger VD March 22, 2018 1:35 PM  

Am I understanding correctly, that Ricardians have read too little Ricardo to acknowledge the limits of Ricardianism that Ricardo himself acknowledged?

Precisely. Virtually none of the free traders who smugly appeal to Ricardo have ever read a single word he wrote.

Blogger dienw March 22, 2018 1:38 PM  

Zaklog the Great wrote:Okay, economically-dense guy here again. I don’t know that much about economics, but I do get S.M.’s civ games. Could someone please explain for me what “path dependency” means in that context?

Copied from google:
Definition of path dependence. Path dependence is the idea that decisions we are faced with depend on past knowledge trajectory and decisions made, and are thus limited by the current competence base. In other words, history matters for current decision-making situations and has a strong influence on strategic planning ...
Path Dependence Definition from Financial Times Lexicon
lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=path-dependence


Example: "Little Benny graduated from an Ivy league school; and while having earned Summa Cum Loudly from his University, he has not added to his knowledge base by additional reading or experience in the field; nor has he even gone back and familiarized himself with the knowledge base of his erstwhile professors."

Blogger Long Live The West March 22, 2018 1:49 PM  

Out of all the things to cite in an attempt to prove himself right... 'the experts said so' Really?
Anyone who says something is true because the majority believe it cannot be trusted. It's a cheap fallback for when one is too lazy or stupid to come to their own conclusions.

The alternative being that Shapiro knows exactly what he's doing. In which case may judgement come quickly.

Blogger Carl Philipp March 22, 2018 2:04 PM  

@25
"Anyone who says something is true because the majority believe it cannot be trusted."

Sir, you have missed the point. He did not appeal to the majority of the experts. He appealed to the majority of those specific experts who generally agree with him.

Blogger seeingsights March 22, 2018 2:24 PM  

I just came across a website which clearly describes what Vox Day et al are taking about

https://nationaleconomicseditorial.com/2016/12/13/problems-with-comparative-advantage/

Blogger FP March 22, 2018 2:34 PM  

@8

The most basic version is guns vs butter. Do you build a temple and library? A granary for growth or a barracks and factory? Is your neighbor the Germans or Ghandi? If its that bald curry loving bastard, make preparations for thermonuclear war.

Blogger ReluctantMessiah March 22, 2018 2:43 PM  

What was Benny's degree again? Political science. Worthless degree.

Blogger Long Live The West March 22, 2018 2:51 PM  

Carl Philipp wrote:@25

"Anyone who says something is true because the majority believe it cannot be trusted."

Sir, you have missed the point. He did not appeal to the majority of the experts. He appealed to the majority of those specific experts who generally agree with him.


I'll admit that I'm not very familiar with the economic world, but it seems like whenever I hear about economics people are usually in line with free trade. Is there a significant number of economists who would agree that tariffs are beneficial?

Guess I'll have to look into this and see if it's like the global warming scam.

Blogger Dire Badger March 22, 2018 3:00 PM  

"The reality is that my arguments for the Earth being carried on the backs of four Giant elephants standing on the back of a space turtle have been supported by every Flat-Earther in history..."

Blogger ReluctantMessiah March 22, 2018 3:03 PM  

What is economics? Understanding that resources are scarce.

Go one step further, economic decisions are also scarce resources. Decisions aren't necessarily reversible (or they come at great cost) like @14 said.

These free trade arguments make the same mistake Sam Harris makes. The assumption is that when we have all the information, we can make rational/efficient choices.

We will never have all the information. Our brains cannot fathom the infinite. And when we think we know it all, a Black Swan comes in to teach us a hard lesson.

To paraphrase Tyson "Everyone has a theory 'til they get punched in the mouth"

Blogger VD March 22, 2018 3:12 PM  

I only meant to say you are punching up at someone his is better knowns than you, more successful in the political sphere and more influential.

That's nice. You're banned and spammed. Do you moronic gammas genuinely think I am unaware of what you are trying to do? I literally wrote the book on your behavior.

And I have been perfectly clear. If you try to make me the subject, you will be banned and spammed.

Blogger Goldeneye March 22, 2018 3:28 PM  

Ben Shapiro really needs to read Ian Fletcher's book on free trade, but I'm going to guess that he won't.

Blogger Dirk Manly March 22, 2018 4:04 PM  

@15

"LCH keeps saying that "free trade makes U.S. consumers better off because the costs of the stuff they buy goes down". That's true up until the point that the U.S. consumer CAN'T buy anything because he lost his job!"



20 ~ 30 years ago, missing that could be excusable -- the experiment hadn't been run yet. But now... the data is in.

Which is why ALL of these ***holes who are still pushing this "Free Trade" nonsense should be lined up against a wall and shot.

Especially since it turned out the exact same way in Britain and France in the 1700's, which lead directly to Britain losing 13 colonies and the King of France, and all of his nobility losing their heads.

Blogger VFM #7634 March 22, 2018 5:01 PM  

"Precisely. Virtually none of the free traders who smugly appeal to Ricardo have ever read a single word he wrote."

I wonder what circle of hell Paul Samuelson is sitting in right now. The guy who said "the theory of comparative advantage is as true as the law of gravity" or something of that nature -- and whose ideas on economics are taken as gospel truth among the sophisterati.

Blogger HoosierHillbilly March 22, 2018 5:36 PM  

Can anyone offer up a good cornerstone for reading on the history of economic thought? The stuff over at the Mises Institute has been great to churn through, but other schools of thought would be great.

Something along the lines of Leo Strauss' "History of Political Philosophy"? Here's the summary, young man. Now go educate yourself, but you get the reading list.

Blogger VD March 22, 2018 5:41 PM  

Can anyone offer up a good cornerstone for reading on the history of economic thought?

Joseph Schumpeter's History of Economic Analysis. I read it twice. Great book.

Blogger HoosierHillbilly March 22, 2018 6:03 PM  

@38. Perfect, thank you for the recommendation.

Blogger tuberman March 22, 2018 6:04 PM  

Remember the "Airplane" movie scene with everyone lining up to slap the hysteric woman. We could get a long line to slap Bennie, most with at least mail armor gloves to help with the slap. Unipukes put lots of money into contemptible frauds.

Blogger Avalanche March 22, 2018 7:22 PM  

@14 "two horse butts wide."

Reminds me of a tai chi instructor who brought some of his students to a competition. To the amazement of everyone including the instructor, when each of his students got to a certain part of the form, they stopped, backed up several yards, and then continued. They all "played" very good tai chi -- except for that truly weird 'movement' in the middle.

To the instructor's mortification, they finally figured out that since he taught in his walled back yard, which was just a few yards too short to allow for the whole form, uninterrupted, all of his students -- and he himself -- performed that movement without realizing / remembering WHY they did it!

(They also report in gunnery that cops who were trained to 'police' the range-- to pick up their brass between mags -- sometimes actually did so during an actual gun fight! The movements: "shoot, step back, and reach down for the brass" were ingrained as part of their training!)

THere's something to be said for changing things up regula.... IRregularly!

Blogger Avalanche March 22, 2018 7:28 PM  

@25 "Anyone who says something is true because the majority believe it cannot be trusted. It's a cheap fallback for when one is too lazy or stupid to come to their own conclusions. "

Hence climate ch.... global warm... er ... climate disrup.... uh... the WEATHER!

Except they don't even really HAVE a majority -- just a group that plays one for the media!

Blogger dtungsten March 22, 2018 9:41 PM  

I just came across a website which clearly describes what Vox Day et al are taking about

https://nationaleconomicseditorial.com/2016/12/13/problems-with-comparative-advantage/


Good article, also written by Spencer Morrison.

Blogger Jack Amok March 23, 2018 5:29 AM  

They also report in gunnery that cops who were trained to 'police' the range-- to pick up their brass between mags -- sometimes actually did so during an actual gun fight! The movements: "shoot, step back, and reach down for the brass" were ingrained as part of their training!

Wilderness First Aid training for using an EpiPen on someone else used to have the student jab the trainer (no needle) into their own thigh, until people started doing exactly that in a real emergency. They'd get the EpiPen from the person going into A-Shock, carefully remove the safety tip, grasp it correctly, raise it up, and then jab themselves in the thigh...

So now we have them train jabbing a partner instead.

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