Anti-Elitism or Anti-Other-ism?

Econbrowser reader Manfred, in responding to my critique of the late Mr. Limbaugh’s use (or non-use) of statistics, writes of me:

…you had access to schools that many others in the US do not…

What could this remark mean? I have asked Manfred repeatedly what this statement means, to no avail: [1], [2]. Does he mean that since I had the benefit of a higher education, then it’s unfair of me to ask those debating public policy to have an understanding of what a mean, a standard deviation, and a standard error are? Without further explanation, I’m forced to conclude that somehow tagged in Manfred’s mind as a privileged elite, I should know my place.

In support of my argument, let me note this cri de coeur :

Phillip Swagel has a PhD in Economics from Harvard and an undergrad degree in Econ from Princeton.

Who knows, maybe this is not enough, for the august commentators in Econbrowser.
On the other hand, he is a garden variety white man, so, don’t know if he qualifies.
Because apparently, in this blog, that now matters.

This comment was on a post lauding the appointment of Dr. Swagel to head CBO. Here is Manfred’s comment on caudillos:

“Caudillos are quite seductive for the strongly disaffected…”
Oh yeah, AOC, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Andrew Cuomo, Emperor De Blasio, great caudillos, who lead their people brilliantly.

So, beware of critiques of “the other” masquerading as critiques of elites.



31 thoughts on “Anti-Elitism or Anti-Other-ism?

  1. noneconomist

    Add a quarter to Manfred’s comments , and they’re worth 25 cents. Maybe less, depending on inflation.

    1. rsm

      As opposed to yours, which pay me dividends? What’s the saying about opinions, and lower orifices, again?

  2. Not Trampis

    Surely it is not being elite to have an education and understand how to use it. or maybe some of you yanks need to learn english!!!

      1. Moses Herzog

        My first thought was that the word English should be capitalized, but hey, Australia really isn’t that bad. Only about 20% of them are descendants of criminals. With enough intelligent Asian immigrants, that should dissipate over time.

  3. rsm

    《it’s unfair of me to ask those debating public policy to have an understanding of what a mean, a standard deviation, and a standard error are? 》

    Ignored by economists?

    1. Barkley Rosser


      Some variables reported by the government have standard errors, but a lot do not, although you keep seeming not to get that.

      So, let us demand that whenever one of those variables that does have a standard error is publicly reported that error is also reported, and that if somehow Menzie reports on that he also reports on that error. My question to you is, so what? Do you propose that if the standard error is large the central mean estimate should not be reported? Should whatever government agency it is say, “Sorry, folks, we are not going to tell you what our estimate of the so and so rate because the standard error is too large”? I hate to tell you that the media will still want to know that number, and they and the public will not care about the standard error, even if it seems to be the only thing you can think about, even for cases where it does not exist.

      As it is, it seems that sometimes you seem to think that if the standard error is not being reported, even when it does not exist, this means the government agency in question, and maybe Menzie and the rest of us as well who have been massively ridiculing you for this garbage, are all part of a Deep State Comspiracy to “manipulate” the statistics to somehow look in some way that hurts the political positions you espouse.

      Again, this looks like the Trumpists who proclaim regarding elections, “If I win the system works, but if I lose the election was stolen.”

      I also remind you that where there exists a standard error that assumes a normal Gaussian distribution, which means that the estimated mean is also the mode and the median. It is still the expected central value, even if it might be not completely certain.

      Really, rsm, just which of these increasingly insane and silly lines is it that want to post with your increasing obnoxious and craxy posts on this?

  4. Moses Herzog

    Menzie doesn’t talk much about religion on this blog. It’s just as well because generally this is not the place for discussion of religion. If I was to guess I would only guess Menzie is basically an agnostic, because he probably believes much in Science and things which can be shown tangibly. But I would also, only guess Menzie also has some respect and regard to some of the tenets and values of the Bible, if only in a kind of passing or agreeable way. So I leave the following to my “internet friend” Menzie: When fools like Manfred take up more time in his thoughts than they should (we all do it, and we all let people “get to us” sometimes when we know better that they shouldn’t)

    Galatians 6: 4-5
    “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.”

  5. pgl

    Manfred was upset that someone would question whether Limbaugh should be considered a saint while he has decided that Merrick Garland is morally corrupt. When confronted with this level of troll-ism, do not be shocked at how low the conversation sinks. In other news – any Republican supporting infrastructure investment is a Communist!

    1. Moses Herzog

      For some reason, whenever you comment, I keep thinking of Dunning Kruger. You must think you are a genius at this point.

    2. noneconomist

      CovRev , the site’s MS (Master of Soybeans), blips backwards yet again. He’s a comedic gift that keeps on giving.

  6. Manfred

    Wow, Menzie, am I living rent free in your head?
    Just like Trump is living rent free in left wing progressive’s head?
    Evidently, you keep score, you keep details, very, very akin to an enemies list, ready to pull out and reply, answer and rebut.
    You see, most of us, have jobs, have a life, have families, have a life beyond commenting on Econbrowser.
    My comments to you stand – evidently you see racism and discrimination everywhere, like a good left wing progressive liberal.
    Oh well Menzie. I am glad you have so much time in your tenured hands.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Regarding my thoughts on Manfred’s thoughts, haven’t you already junked enough of my vulgarity to fill a lifetime?? You know, the time you take to educate and enlighten sad saps like me that you don’t get paid for—out of you and Professor Hamilton’s personal kindness to the world around you. To educate those who don’t always take the time to say “thank you”.

      2. Econned

        I’m a reader and I’ve decided. My decision is “yes”… Manfred is in fact living rent free in Menzie’s head.

    1. noneconomist

      Self described hard working family man Manny has a life beyond commenting (multiple times) on Econbrowser. There are are educators to be attacked (for being, oh, educated) and dececeased talk show hosts to be defended for ,oh, making lots of money and lying through their teeth while doing so.
      Such is the life of a modern Don Quixote whose destiny calls for defense of the otherwise indefensible while being a simple working man with tons of responsibilities and little time to waste here.

    2. pgl

      What is it with this rent free garbage? You should be aware that Econned has a copyright on this term. His attorney will be contacting you as you have infringed his property rights.

    3. pgl

      “evidently you see racism and discrimination everywhere, like a good left wing progressive liberal”.

      Hey – aren’t you running late for tonight’s KKK meeting? Discrimination exists but with you – it is a virtue. MAGA!

    4. Barkley Rosser

      Wow, Manfred, is Trump living rent free in your head and those of most Republicans out there? This is a man documented to have lied more than 30,000 times while president, and who is under serious investigation for a bunch of crimes, the first president in our history to try to overthrow a certified election result, with only one of the 61 lawsuits his team brought to support his claims being accepted, and even when his people did this fraudit recount in Arizona that was going to prove he won it came up with Biden getting 136 more votes. He totally occupies the heads of a majority of you. Are you ready to denounce his lies and make yourself look like something other than a drooling sucker and fool?

    5. baffling

      “Oh well Menzie. I am glad you have so much time in your tenured hands.”
      i since a bit of jealousy and resentment from manfred.

    6. Ivan

      So you have a busy family life. Yet you are not too busy to spew nonsense at the rest of us and our host. If you want to waste everybody’s time with comments, the least you can do is engage and explain yourself when you become incomprehensible. If you don’t have enough time to do that then what exactly are you doing here?.

  7. pgl

    The prosecutor is trying to cross examine Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse is dancing on the head of a pin with his little self defense claim but every time this prosecutor nears getting this little punk to contradict himself, the defense objects and the judge has the jury leave so the judge can lecture the prosecutor. The fix is in.

  8. Ivan

    If someone demands that you provide a standard error etc. it should be a minimum requirement that the person know what those terms mean.

    1. baffling

      i very much doubt rsm has raised the issue of gdp error when the trump administration provided estimates of current and future gdp. i would imagine he considered that data as accurate.

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