Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Megan McArdle Is A Very Special Person And Don't You Forget It

If you were to pin down Megan McArdle and get her to admit she lies, obfuscates or spins the truth to serve her corporate masters, your efforts would be a waste of time. McArdle still peddles her little lie that most drug company profits come from the US and therefore the US must overpay for drug prices or innovation will die. Facts are irrelevant, something to manipulate to earn a fat paycheck, and McArdle usually ignores corrections of facts. The one thing that McArdle can't ignore, however, is an attack on her image, her perception of herself. As it is almost wholly false it must be upheld at all costs or the universe will collapse.

jesse 19 hours ago

If real wages for low-end workers should be lower but aren't because of nominal wage stickiness, we might as well get the adjustment out of the way and address the underlying issues. Leveraging stickiness to prop up real wages makes about as much sense as implementing protectionist trade policies to safe manufacturing jobs that are no longer economically sensible.

Also, if you're really not sure about Yglesias's position on this issue, you really should read his blog more often. Agree with him or not, he knows how to blog--(mostly) short posts, makes points beyond smugly kicking dirt on other peoples' ideas, etc. You could learn a thing or two.

McMegan 19 hours ago in reply to jesse
Yglesias and I have different styles. I'm sorry mine doesn't appeal to you.

It's not a matter of intellectual standards or even bloggy standards--it's all about McArdle's style, which means McArdle's personality. McArdle attempts to convince her audience by smothering them with words, many many words loaded with emotion instead of facts and reasoned arguments. She pours her three-sizes-too-small heart into trying to convince her audience that her Randian fantasy life is everyone's reality. To attack her work is to attack her persona, the fake personality she has adapted to hide her insecurities and faults.
jesse 19 hours ago in reply to McMegan
You often vaguely claim to have policy preferences, but you seem to hide them, unless I'm missing something (and I admit I don't read the 5000 word posts). But here's a simple question, what rate of inflation in the US do think would be ideal?

McMegan 19 hours ago in reply to jesse
Not sure, but I tend to think that there are costs as well as benefits to higher inflation.
Mushy middle-of-the-aisle pap, designed to elevate McArdle above the common man and evade any chance of being caught in error. We all make mistakes but some of us can't admit it because our "mistakes" are deliberate attempts to lie to the public for personal gain. You can't defend a dishonest argument and McArdle doesn't try. McArdle's endless series of strawmen are an attempt to evade responsibility for her actions and maintain her facade of superiority.

jesse 19 hours ago in reply to McMegan
Since when do people claim that there are no costs associated with higher inflation? No policy--except maybe my demand that God to buy the world a diet Coke--comes without costs.

It's easy to be the guy on the sidelines throwing stones when you won't ever take a position, but that doesn't contribute much to the conversation. But like you said, it's your blog.

McMegan 19 hours ago in reply to jesse
You consider this "throwing stones"? I was simply pointing out a possible effect. Is that not allowed?

McArdle changes the subject to get the discussion farther away from the original point--her lack of due diligence and paucity of economic knowledge.

jesse 19 hours ago in reply to McMegan
Of course it's "allowed." I just wish you would grapple with the cost-benefit trade-offs, rather than just pointing out costs (which is what I perceive you to do most if not all of the time). Doing that is just as deficient as only talking about the benefits (which plenty of people do, of course).
But McArdle can't, because she is a propagandist. She isn't paid to make an honest, balanced assessment.
McMegan 19 hours ago in reply to jesse
And when was the last time you wrote a blog comment asking them to stop only talking about the benefits of various liberal-favored proposals and focus on the costs? Could you perhaps provide a link?

Oh yeaaaah? What about liberals, huh? Look over there at them! They're the guilty ones! Note that she does not actually name any liberal because if you do they tend to respond and tell you to justify your accusations with quotes and facts.

jesse 19 hours ago in reply to McMegan
I quit commenting at Yglesias because of the new login system, but I used to do that sometimes over there. (Though I don't think it's accurate to say he sits around trumpeting the adminstration's plans as unalloyed goods.) I don't read Drum. Sullivan doesn't allow comments. The other blogs I read don't touch on economic policy.

Anyway, what kind of response is that? Why not just say "I know you are but what am I?"

McMegan 19 hours ago in reply to jesse
I'm suggesting that your perceptions of my overcritical nature may be jaundiced by the current targets. I didn't notice you complaining when I was yelling at the Republicans for the debt ceiling nonsense, even though I hardly went out of my way to point out the potential upsides of their posturing.

You see, when McArdle supports the elite she doesn't care if it will help conservatives, liberals or libertarians, as long as the elite is happy. That means she's fair-n-balanced.

jesse 18 hours ago in reply to McMegan
Sure I'm biased. But a couple of points: First, the debt ceiling stuff was pure nuttery.* I'm not asking for mythical "balance"; I'm asking for better engagement with genuinely tough issues where the status quo and alternative proposals have costs and benefits. I want to know which trade-offs are better and which are worse, or a way of deciding which are better/worse. I know there are no clear answers, but we have to have actual policies.

Second, my posting patterns depend more on my mood and the vagaries of my schedule than anything else.

* The left is full of nutteriness, too. And I enjoy a good takedown of that stuff. I read fewer of them because there's no chance that we're going to move to Maxine Waters's fantasy land, but there was a real chance that the US was not going to raise its debt ceiling, to catastrophic effect. Thus, that issue was more salient to me, you and everybody else.

mmoskwa 2 hours ago in reply to jesse
I wish I could Like this a million times. Arguing over whether your partisan interpretation of something is the best thing, or simply very good, is beyond boring, hence my avoiding most lefty blogs. But seriously, a lot of these posts are simply headers on top of a bunch of "government is always the problem, QED" comments, and I think a lot of that is because a) she doesn't really moderate the threads for completely redundant crap like that, and b) posts like this wherein the whole point is to say "look what this liberal is saying now! it's wrong."
I'll go with Door Number 2.
Cue the ever-present sycophants in the comment section.

TreeJoe 18 hours ago in reply to jesse


I hope you realize how vague your comments are - you wish for something different to occur. If only it would be different, it'd be better!

She usually does grapple to some degree or another with trade-offs. I'm not saying she's a master at it, but I don't know what all goes into her average blog post versus other things in life. And I think, rightly or wrongly, Megan often uses her commenters to attack things - i.e. provide a degree of balance or other perspective.

Note that she pretty much never says, "Other people are idiots and my stance is right". She'll say, "I disagree and here's why".

There's a good amount of balance here, which is why I personally come back. In August, I actually felt the balance was shifting too much and started reading less....I mention that as a self-reflection on how much balance matters to me.

jesse 18 hours ago in reply to TreeJoe
I agree that there's good content here. That's why I read the blog. I wish it was better, though, and I've tried to outline ways that I think it could be improved. I think that my suggestions are fairly specific, though I understand that you think they're unclear. At any rate, McMegan is a big girl and can ignore me or ban me or whatever if she doesn't appreciate that kind of engagement.

But to re-raise my point from earlier, I think it's pretty remarkable that McMegan--the illustrious Atlantic's econ blogger--doesn't have a position on the appropriate level of inflation in the US. I think she'd add way more value by working out a position on that issue and discussing it.
Just as soon as someone tells her what to think she'll be right on it.


NonyNony said...

I think she'd add way more value by working out a position on that issue and discussing it.

This assumes facts not in evidence.

Unless by "add value" we mean humor value. Because McArdle making a flat statement about the US inflation rate would probably lead to hilarity.

Lurking Canadian said...

There's clearly no point in her taking a position on inflation, since Nobody Can Know Anything Ever (TM). All you can do is view with alarm whatever the liberals want.

Anonymous said...

Poor Jesse. He thought Yglesias was a decent blogger.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if people get paid to comment approvingly on McMArdle's McBlog.