Monday, June 21, 2010

Rhetorical Hoodwinking

There's a technique some people use to bamboozle other people when making arguments. They use rather esoteric references to create the illusion that they possess expertise in an area even though they don't.

So, for example, FLG could make some allusion to references to the "Good Old Cause" in Milton's writing, and if you've never heard of that then you think FLG knows something about the English Civil War and the literature of the period. In truth, however, he knows next to nothing about them.

FLG feels that is what Matt often does when writing about economics. For example, he began an explanation recently with this sentence:
There are a lot of merits to this, but one downside is that it still doesn’t do much of anything to alter the exchange rate impacts associated with so-called “Dutch Disease.”

Perhaps FLG is biased, but Matt's offered up some dumb economic writing previously. Things that make FLG think Matt is completely out of his element when writing about economics. It's kinda like he's said two plus two equals five in previous posts, but then brings up, I dunno, Taylor series, Gram–Schmidt process, or Dirichlet functions.

FLG's somewhat kinder explanation? The two plus two equals five that often comes up is Matt's own and the more complicated shit is lifted from somebody who actually knows what they are talking about, say liberal think tank economists, with little to no attribution.

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