Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How to Tell the Think Tanks from the Hacks

It looks like the commonest term for “regulatory capture” (discussed here) is “rent-seeking.” Since it's likely any hack would be allergic to discussions of rent-seeking behavior, a think tank which mentions the term very often is almost certainly not corrupt or even lazy enough to pass on press releases. Think tanks that mention the term moderately often are unlikely to be corrupt but might be lazy. A think tank that mentions the term rarely should be regarded as on probation. (This is not something I would have expected but maybe they're trying to avoid offending hedge-fund managers.) As for alleged think tanks that never use the term “rent-seeking,” the less said the better.

Why We Need Think Tanks

There's a discussion of “stereotype threat” going on at Mixing Memory. In a comment, agnostic wrote:

All the elite schools had Jewish quotas (not to mention the vile caricatures of their group in the larger culture) -- but rather than wimp out, Jews formed "de facto Ivies" like CUNY that beat the snot out of Harvard, etc., in math competitions, did respectably in Nobel Prizes, yadda yadda yadda.

This is also a huge counterexample to the claim that sheer lack of numbers will cause members of the underrepresented group to shy away in a non-trivial amount. How many eminent Jewish physicists and mathematicians were there before 1900? Not many. What about by 2000? Tons. This is a good "reality check."

In response, in another comment, Tyler DiPietro wrote:

I agree with agnostic completely. In fact I would extend his hypothesis to include martyrs like Larry Summers. When driven from academia by the all pervasive cult of political correctness, they should emulate Jews and start their own universities. Don't roll over like a wimp, YOU GET OUT THERE AND KICK SOME FEMINAZI ASS!

That's what think tanks are for.

Now all they need is some students …


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