08 March 2012

Steve Landsburg (yet again)

Well, one notable fact about economists is that they live in model-land, and models are not always good at incorporating relevant features of reality. In fact, they are often best at distorting reality in ways that help us appreciate some feature of it more fully and clearly. I already have explained here and here why Steve Landsburg's inability to discriminate between the distorted world of economic models and actual life creates an intellectual and ethical mess for him.

Sometimes, though, models fail. That is especially so when they don't get the relevant matters right. Since Steve's model of reality places sex at the center of Sandra Fluke's world he gets things pretty systematically wrong. Because he was so concerned to endorse the views spouted by the sex-obsessed Rush Limbaugh, Landsburg neglected to notice this very basic feature of Sandra Fluke's initial testimony:
Fluke was not, as Limbaugh and Landsburg have suggested, "demanding" that taxpayers pay for her to have sex; her testimony was originally part of a debate about whether religious institutions should be required to provide access to contraception. Her argument focused primarily on the medical (and non-contraceptive) uses of birth control [source].
Of course, it was the Republican majority on the House Oversight Committee that prevented her from testifying in the first place. They preferred to elicit the insights of a bunch of old men, mostly clerics, on the matter. No matter.

Instead of simply writing a post that said "Here are a half dozen (or three or thirty seven) reasons why contraception should not be covered by medical insurance plans," Steve felt compelled to lead with an endorsement of Limbaugh's paternalistic, sexist attack on Fluke. This led him to endorse basically the same sort of paternalistic, sexist view of Fluke as did Rush. Dumb and dumber.

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2 Comments:

Blogger John Edwin Mason said...

"...one notable fact about economists is that they live in model-land, and models are not always good at incorporating relevant features of reality."

A wonderful line that I will someday steal from you.

09 March, 2012 21:52  
Blogger CTS said...

And they claim that philosophers just 'make stuff up'!

13 March, 2012 23:55  

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