The other Nobel Prize winning, administration advising, progressive MIT economists seem to be eerily quite in defense of Dr. Gruber. It must make for awkward moments in the faculty dinning hall.
Speaking of Jonathan Gruber, watching him testify before the Congress I had two thoughts, “How can you tell he’s lying? Answer: his lips are moving,” and “Now he knows what the Christian’s felt like in the Coliseum.” I thought the name card with MR. and putting PhD below the name was a nice touch. For an economics professor the concept of taxes as a part of the ACA seemed to mystify him. Apparently MIT does not set the same standards for its economists, as it does for its engineers working in Cambridge.
The greatest excuse for delaying a test since the invention of excuses “I am traumatized by the Ferguson and Garner decisions.” In my opinion, this ranks up there with “My dog ate my homework” for great excuses.
I see a lot of opinions about the report on torture. There are those who condemn the report, those who support the report, those who condemn torture and those who support torture. I suspect I am in a minority among my peers, but to be honest I don’t subscribe to the idea of consequentialism. I don’t believe the ends justify the means, for how can you know with certainty what is the end? If you defend torture what defense for it do you have but this, and if this is your rational position then you cannot argue with other’s who take the same defense when they argue for the elimination of your civil rights in then name of security.
Man has attempted to civilize what is ultimately the most uncivil of acts. Both Western and Eastern nations have signed accords and understandings to restrict the violence of the state on the individual. These accords have been routinely violated, e.g. Japan and Germany in WW2, Korean and Vietnam and Iraq in the recent conflicts. In each case the US was quick to condemn, and had the moral authority to carry forward with that condemnation. Who will listen to our protestations when we are at the same level as those we condemn?
I will leave you with an old joke, oft attributed to Winston Churchill or W.C. Fields, but apparently predating them both.
The great A.B. was tremendously jostled the other day in going down to the House. A.B. didn’t like it. “Do you know who I am?” he said; “I am a Member of Parliament and I am Mr. A.B.” – “I don’t know about that,” said one of the roughs, “but I know that you’re a damned fool.” – “You’re drunk,” said A.B.; “you don’t know what you’re saying.” – “Well, perhaps I am rather drunk tonight,” said the man, “but I shall be sober tomorrow morning; but you’re a damned fool tonight, and you’ll be a damned fool tomorrow morning.