Posted by: CJ | December 12, 2009

Enlightened Enemies

The subheading for this blog is “Lord, Enlighten Thou Our Enemies.” It’s part of a longer prayer of John Stuart Mill’s for his opponents to be intelligent, thoughtful, and honest. It’s an important quality, and something worth acknowledging when you find it. Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution and Robin Hanson of Overcoming Bias, both George Mason economics professors, are certainly such people.

However, it’s taken me a long time to appreciate the inherent value of their honest thinking even when I vehemently disagreed. But Prof. Cowen makes a wonderful argument about the value of Robin Hanson as an intellectual, despite his obvious insane beliefs. It’s not whether Prof. Hanson is right or wrong, it’s whether you learn interesting things and have interesting thoughts when you read him. For example, four of his most recent posts are fascinating, regardless how much I disagree with his conclusions. They deal with topics of paternity testing for all children, comparison of how much a man is harmed by being cuckholded vs. a woman harmed by being raped, how wierd the viewpoint on resources of people within the medical world is, and how few times people who claimed to have been given date-rape drugs were actually drugged. And those are just his recent posts.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the praise! 🙂

  2. Huh. I’m sorta surprised you found this and bothered to comment. I appreciate it though, and that you’re able to look past me callously labeling some of your beliefs insane. Bad habit of mine. I’m looking forward to reading your blog more consistently!


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