Berkeley economist Brad DeLong stoops to new lows, and my response
If you can stomach constant drivel from an anti-capitalist hack, then DeLong's blog is for you. I check in from time to time just to see what venom he is hurling at Liberty today. Yesterday, he (or his disgruntled Grad assistant) posted this gem:
Listening to the graduating students...
Those majoring in peace and conflict studies, development studies, and rhetoric...
It seems, reading through the lines of what they say, that the modal teacher in those programs approaches their educational mission as though they have a dire and urgent need to deprogram young minds that have been enslaved to the harsh market-ueber-alles doctrines of neoliberal capitalism and classical economics.
The problem is that these nineteen year olds are from the upper-middle class of twenty-first century California and are at base do-gooder meritocrats deeply suspicious of large greedy corporations that repeatedly and recurrently try to sell them junk that they don't really need. They have not only not been programmed by the ideologies of neoliberal market capitalism and classical economics, they barely know that they exist at an ideological level.
So their teachers come off, much of the time, as people who look like they are engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand struggle with a vicious antagonist--but one who is not only invisible but who isn't really there--and so they come off as unbalanced themselves...
If you are going to turn every class into a wrestle with the ghosts of Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Robert Nozick, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher, you will look silly unless you first make sure your students know who you are wrestling with, and why your struggle is such a desperate one--why their arguments have force and power...
DeLong deletes comments from opposing viewpoints so here is what I wrote in response:
Brad is this really one of your entries, or did one of your dissatisfied grad students write this?
Are you really saying that:
1. Here at Berkely we are ideologically committed to anti-market, anti-individualist ideology. Ours is the one and only path.
2. We shoud recognize that our students already hold a similar philosophy, yet somehow, at the same time we have to reinforce (perhaps brainwash) that belief without coming off as desperate.
It's so sad. This explains why you stoop to the intellectualy insulting practice of deleting comments. It explains a lot.
At least the individualist, pro-market side of the debate openly welcoms debate, studies the Progressive ideology and provides its justification for rejecting these ideas.
If you don't believe it, download the entire Mises U 2009 seminar (about 60 lectures - all free at ITunesU.) Roughly half of them deal with understanding other economic and political viewpoints. The other half explain their (the Austrian) position.
Contrast that with your attitude and the insecurity at Berkeley is stunning.
David in Qatar
(p.s. I've actually been working on a post that examines the anti-market mentality of University professors and Novick is one of the most interesting examples of an academic that fought that mentality. How fitting that I ran across DeLong's Marxist screed today.)