html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: New Wall of Shame!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

New Wall of Shame!

I don't think I've gotten such good stuff for the Wall of Shame since the last time I was on the Volokh Conspiracy.
Megan makes a very weak argument indeed starting nearly every sentence with I (and when not only preceded by a But or If). Sounds more like whining to me rather than making a well supported and/or reasoned assertion.


Dear Megan

Your laziness does not justify restricting my freedom.

Yours etc.


I think Megan, if she reaches maturity, will see the advantage of choice.


Megan's problem is her mental laziness in all endeavors other than complaining.


And from Marginal Revolution:
Call me mean, but having read some of her entries, she seems to be a somewhat more messed-up than normal person. So, perhaps her favored government policies are based on a model of an individual with less than average psychological health.

From Megan McArdle, the Atlantic:
One time the government definitely shouldn't decide is when that would entail me being forced at gunpoint to accept that decision just because some functionary of a water monopoly empire is too lazy or immature to accept responsibility for running her own "boring" life or getting a keeper.

If she's ready to abandon free will, then she must have already discarded any need for free speech or other liberties. That's not the kind of person I want to decide when the government should step in and what it should be allowed to do.


Well, Megan, I'm sorry you think determining your health care, making decisions for yourself, is so very BORING. You are being very human when you describe your foibles, but what I've just read makes me respect you less, because you are making it sound as if your mind is sloppy and lazy. I find that a little hard to believe, but I guess its possible.


I hope that deciding who to vote for is one of those things that's too BORING to do and that she won't. This is an example of why low voter turnout doesn't concern me.


Not having choices is a lot worse than BORING.
Is this other Megan 14 years old?
Does she also write about how things aren't FAIR?


Blogger Megan said...

This is only an invitation to enjoy these with me. They do not call for a response that denigrates anyone.

7:07 PM  
Blogger billo said...

Megan, haven't been following your recent posts but I like what you say about policy depending on a model of the individual ..ties in with what I'm reading at the moment, and something you might like: Julian Le Grand's 'Motivation, Agency and Public Policy: Knights and Knaves'.

8:07 PM  
Blogger a progressive crank said...

well, thanks for sharing. I would never see these comments otherwise. I have never read Volokh and dropped MR some time back. I like to learn from the people I read, not to find out that some others haven't (was that mean?).

8:07 PM  
Blogger Capella said...

We are allowed to comment/argue, though, right?

So, perhaps her favored government policies are based on a model of an individual with less than average psychological health.

The commenter seems to be conflating "average" and "optimal". Perhaps people should be more proactive about their health care, perhaps they should know more, but they don't.

This is the big question libertarianism always raises for me: should we make a society that works for how (I/we think) people should be, or a society that works for how people actually are?

8:12 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Oh god, you'll start them over. Go for it, though, if you have the strength. I kind of want to do a roundup and commentary on the responses I saw. But then I also want to move on from The Endless Libertarian Debate, 'cause I've started to be ashamed each time I get suckered into a round of it.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...The Endless Libertarian Debate, 'cause I've started to be ashamed each time I get suckered into a round of it."


Please don't throw me in the libertarian briarpatch!

Come on, Stop pretending! You know you love it. If you didn't, why do you keep letting it happen? Revealed preference is revealing, after all.


9:09 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Because I keep thinking about the things people say in the comments, and then I write up my responses and then the cycle starts again. If they didn't bring the debate to me in the comments, we wouldn't do this. I really was trying to write about the concept of the model of the individual and how using that concept could settle the debate.

And then, the demons possessed me and I finished my thoughts about universal health care and we veered wildly back into the briarpatch.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

Again, the model of the individual only matters if you're trying to make decisions for someone else.


10:56 PM  
Blogger jens said...

Sorry, Megan....if this is the BEST you can get, ask Megan McArdle for some of HERS....

11:55 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Well, I liked these ones because they were actually about something I'd written. They aren't noticeably sexist or violent, although they're a little smug, as if they think insults settle the matter.

It is true, though. Ms. McArdle gets orders of magnitude more abuse than I do. Like I said before, props to her for handling it.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Trevor said...

Thank you for keeping up with the "who chooses" posts. They throw light on a perspective that's really hard to articulate. That sort of thing is tremendously valuable to me - probably one of the best uses for a blog.

6:53 AM  
Blogger LemmusLemmus said...

"the model of the individual only matters if you're trying to make decisions for someone else"

Wrong. Your view presupposes a model of the individual, namely that increasing people's choices will increase their EX POST utility.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Friends, you can start this again, if you like.

But remember that my comment policy requires speaking to each other in a more than neutral manner. Do not be out to score off each other or flatly contradict anyone or demonstrate cleverness. If you like, however, you can try to work with your friends here to develop an understanding of how the other thinks.

Justin, you are often more abrupt than friendliness would suggest. Today I'll ask (then insist) that you moderate your tone, even if you don't see why. I usually let you slide, but it sets a bad example. How you feel when you write something is only half the concern; how it could be received is the other half and I would like you to focus on that half.

Lemmuslemmus, I think you are new, and we're glad to have you. Since my comments policy is a bit obscure, could you think of the other commenters as your new friends, who happen to have different views?

7:12 AM  
Blogger jens said...

> Do not be out to
> (1) score off each other

Check. It would seem petty.

> (2)or flatly contradict anyone

Check. We want ARGUMENTS, not just contradiction. See the appropriate Monty Python sketch at

> (3) or demonstrate cleverness.

But MEGAN! That last one!
Please reconsider!

7:19 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

That cleverness feeling... it is masturbation. It is for the writer's gratification, not for actually explaining to people. (I know, 'cause I do it myself.) Writing for that feeling is writing for an internal rush. That's cool if you're just dropping by a site and you don't care if you turn people off, but my goal here is a community.

When we're doing lighthearted stuff and joking around, cleverness and wit are fine. If you are talking about important ideas that people hold very closely, that cleverness is just a bomb in the conversation. Cleverness is not a good way to address important things.

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Glenn said...

Does anyone have any idea why the VC commentariat is such a cesspool. Whatever you may think about the politics of the VC posters--and my thoughts are very much less than complementary--the comments sections is incomparably worse, a stewing cauldron of human filth. Why is that?

10:35 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Glenn, good question. I was wondering that myself. I was thinking of calling out Prof. Somin for not moderating his post and Prof. Volokh, because that shit goes down under his name. But I get tired of being self-righteous and I have closer ties with the other famous professors that I scold.

I think groups blogs have a problem with comments because each blogger shirks the responsibility of handling their comments. Why Volokh is worse, I don't know. I think they should each be ashamed of it, though.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Joint and several liability for your comments section, group blogs!

10:56 AM  
Blogger LemmusLemmus said...


sorry that the tone of my comment was somewhat out of line - to Justin, too, of course.

New as a commenter indeed (though not as a reader).

I believe it was only the day before yesterday that I said to myself that I should never again participate in an internet, or indeed any, discussion about libertarianism. I just couldn't stop myself. I think you know the feeling.

I promise to be good.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I just couldn't stop myself. I think you know the feeling.

I promise to be good.

You are already good, and we will see that in your comments. Looking forward to it.

It is so hard to stop. I try, because it has been done before, and done better. I am tempted by a round-up of how people reacted, but then, that is just talking about it more.

I can't decide. Is walking away from the conversation just leaving people hanging and unfair to them? Or is refusing to take part in the usual libertarian clusterfuck the responsible thing to do?

11:11 AM  
Blogger LemmusLemmus said...

Dear Megan,

thanks for the warm words.

I've been meaning for weeks to write a blogpost about how one should assume in discussions (especially ones about politics) that the other person is a nice person and cares about people's well-being, unless there is strong evidence to the contrary. I guess I should get round to it; maybe that would help to calm me down.

(Ironically enough, I came up with this unoriginal thought after I had had a discussion with someone who called me a "neoliberal". Halfway through the discussion I felt it would be wise to clarify that I am not, in fact, an arsehole. Didn't help, though.)

As for "unfair" and "responsible", I don't know. My idea was/is as follwos: a) There is exactly one person with whom I have ever had a productive political discussion in the sense that what he/I said changed the other person's mind. b) It's just no fun being involved in a shouting match.

12:11 PM  
Blogger jens said...

> When we're doing lighthearted
> stuff and joking around,
> cleverness and wit are fine.

Phew! I feel better now!

I'll try to keep the banter and the reasoning separated.

But lecture as you will, NOTHING you say is going to make me give up ACTUAL masturbation!

2:30 PM  
Blogger bobvis said...

Is this other Megan 14 years old?

This is garbage. *She* is the other Megan.

3:07 PM  

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