What’s in a Word?

Steven E. Landsburg is an asshole. That’s my opinion. Ezra, on the other hand, says Steven Landsburg is a dick. Hmm, which is worse — dick, or asshole? I say asshole, but I’ll listen to arguments.

Max says he’s an idiot savant, but that sounds too grandiose. How about “morally autistic”? But in an earlier post Max said Landsburg has the “moral sensibility of a biscuit.” Better.

Kevin Drum came up with “condescending, juvenile, obtuse, and soul cankered.” Best comment: “Have we no workhouses?”

11 thoughts on “What’s in a Word?

  1. The idiot savant did one good thing — he spread the word about Tirhas Habtegiris’ death by poverty and non-whiteness beyond the dKos community. (Which, apparently, he thinks is some sort of consortium of reinsurers.) My word to describe him would be “dumbass.”

  2. asshat comes to mind……one can only hope at his end he is removed from a ventilator so that someone richer then himself may breath

  3. Steve is merely a slick popularizer of modern neoclassical economic theory. Asshole is good. So is dick. Morally autistic is possibly best. All describe the members of his tribe. Other members: Gary Becker (google that name to find the site he shares with Richare Posner), Milton Friedman, several recent chairs of GOP presidents’ Council of Economic Advisors, most of the stellar economics faculty at even the Ivy League schools (and nearly all of the faculties at e.g., Clemson, Texas A&M, and most of all, Chicago — there are many more.) They really believe that their crap is realistic and a sound basis for public policy. That is, public policy that always defers to the magical market.

  4. Steve Landsburg is malignancy made public……he focuses on giving choice to the poor who must choose between necessities and then he proceeds to criticize and punish them for their ‘choices’, even to shutting off a ventilator needed by the poor person.
    What he never mentions in the stupid article he wrote was the continuous path the well-off take to narrowly focus on maintaining their non-necessity life-styles by choosing to ignore a less fortunate person’s needs. I can’t wait to see him write his opinions about and arguments against the compassion of the Good Samaritan and of Jesus.

  5. Normally I agree with just about everything that comes up here – but people get a grip. She was a terminal cancer patient. It is not like another day or two or three on her ventilater would have made any difference to her. The ventilater was artifically extending her suffering. This is not a case where more money or more time would have saved her – she was terminal. The compassionate thing to do would have been to not put her on it in the first place. People have just got to stop being so over the top afraid of death. It is a natural part of life. Thank God this poor woman has finally been released from her suffering, just as Terry Schivao was. Is there anything more cruel and inhumane than forcing a terminally ill patient to keep going and going and going when all hope was gone long before??

  6. She was a terminal cancer patient. It is not like another day or two or three on her ventilater would have made any difference to her.

    I figured as much, but it was Landsburg’s “reasoning” that horrified me.

  7. His reasoning was crass, I’ll agree, but I can’t say that throwing money away extending someone’s terminal illness when it could be spent helping those who have a future is a compassionate action. He could have stated his case in a manner that didn’t rile folks up so much – but then who would have linked to him?

    Most of the blogosphere reminds me of little kids screaming ‘look at me look at me look at me!’. Would anyone pay any attention to Michelle ‘the whirling dirvish’ Malkin if she wasn’t trying so hard to be the next Ann Coulter? This guy is no different – he has an opinion and he wants it seen so he states it in a way guaranteed to get noticed. The underlying theme of not wasting money on extrordinary measures for those that can’t possibly benefit is sound. The whole ‘people need to plan for their own problems’ idea is okay to a point, but it doesn’t take into account the ups and downs of real life.

    What I have to wonder is if extending this womans life were so important then where was the Texas ‘culture of life’ crowd to help cover her bills?

  8. I prefer asshole: it’s universal and gender-neutral. Ann Coulter, for example, is not a dick but she’s a real flaming asshole.

    Just my opinion and you know what they say: everybody has one.

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