Monthly Archives: February 2016

Scott Sumner: Fed should keep RGDP shocks from affecting NGDP

Scott Sumner:

Suppose you have a knife wound that leads to an infection. I consider those to be two distinct problems. The knife wound needs sewing up. The infection needs antibiotics. We need a monetary policy that prevents real shocks from infecting NGDP, because when they do so it causes additional problems for the economy, above and beyond the losses directly attributable to the real shock…

Brendan O’Neill on Safe Spaces on college campuses

Brendan O’Neil:

The most striking thing about Safe Spaces on campus is how unsafe they are…

Safe Spaces are ugly, authoritarian places…

Consider some recent examples from Britain…

a meeting of pro-Israel students was invaded by anti-Israel activists. They smashed windows, set off a fire alarm, threw chairs around. They chanted “Nazis!” at the attendees of the meeting. Oh, the irony of activists shutting down a meeting of largely Jewish students while shouting “Nazis”: a serious self-awareness failure.

A key justification given by student radicals for shouting down pro-Israel meetings is that such events are “offensive” or “distressing” to certain students. That is, they violate the Safe Space. So in the name of maintaining safety on campus, certain events can be violently interrupted. It’s Orwellian: war is peace, freedom is slavery, violence is safety…

Namazie is a stinging critic of Islamism. Some big Islamist guys turned up to her talk and hectored her, switched off her powerpoint, and created what could really be described as a hostile environment. And their justification was that they were maintaining their Safe Space against someone with problematic views. We have the Kafkaesque situation where a bunch of blokes can physically intimidate a woman in the name of saving students from feelings of intellectual intimidation…

we’re entering a new and quite terrifying era of censorship. Once we had ideological censorship, designed to elevate a particular political outlook by suppressing others. We had religious censorship, designed to protect a certain belief system through crushing blasphemy. Now we have therapeutic censorship — censorship which aspires to squash or at least demonise anything that any individual finds aggressive, uncomfortable, or wounding to their worth. It is a tyranny of self-regard.

This censorship is more insidious than the old censorships. It is vast and unwieldy and can turn its attention to almost anything…

a culture which treats individual self-esteem as more important than the right to be offensive; a culture that was developed by older generations — in fact by the fortysomethings and fiftysomethings now mocking campus censors as infantile and ridiculous…

Yes, we should mock these little tyrants who fantasise that their feelings should trump other people’s freedom. But we must go further than that. We must remake the case for robust individualism and the virtue of moral autonomy against the fashion for fragility…