Archive | October 7, 2007

Only Against Illegal Immigration?

Guest Blog by Jennifer McKitrick

There’s something fishy about some anti-immigration arguments.

NO AMNESTY - GO U.S.A.! - GO U.S. LAW! - GO HOME! They say “We’re not against immigration, we’re against illegal immigration.” OK, so the problem with immigrants is that they broke some laws. But are they good laws? If yes, they’re for laws designed to keep immigrants out, so they are against immigration. If no, then they should be for changing the laws. But they say changing the laws is either unacceptable “amnesty” for illegals that are already here and/or it would encourage more immigration. But the immigration that would happen then would be legal, so if they’re only against illegal immigration, they should have no problem.

So, I think I think that they are less than sincere when they say they are only against illegal immigration. Perhaps the right thing to say is that they only support the amount of immigration currently allowed by law. Which is pretty much being against immigration for the most part. But I suspect it’s really just lip service so they don’t seem so much like xenophobic racists. Of course, they want to protect American jobs, but preferring that companies pay higher wages to Americans rather than lower wages to needy non-Americans has no moral justification that I can see, and is probably based on racism as well.

Jennifer McKitrick is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and Vice-President of the Molinari Institute and Molinari Society.

Getting Negative About Positive Economics

[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]

Wrong again, Milton .... My QJAE article “Realism and Abstraction in Economics: Aristotle and Mises versus Friedman,” an Austro-Athenian critique of the late Milton Friedman’s 1953 essay “The Methodology of Positive Economics,” is now finally available online. (An early draft has been online for a while, but is now superseded by this final version.)

In response to complaints (e.g. from Austrians) that neoclassical economic models are unrealistic, Friedman had argued that economic models can’t be realistic because they must necessarily abstract from all the myriad details. I argue that Friedman’s reply is based on a confusion about the nature of abstraction that can be cleared up by appeal to the Aristotelean Scholastics’ distinction between precisive and non-precisive abstraction, a distinction revived in Ayn Rand’s theory of concept-formation as measurement-omission, and implicit in Ludwig von Mises’s criticism of Max Weber. I also make a few points about prediction vs. explanation and Friedman’s critique of apriorism.

Ice Ice Baby

Marvel Comics' 1979 portrayal of a young Adama (mysteriously white-haired even in youth)Galactica fans: as mentioned previously, a series of out-takes from Razor, next month’s BSG event (they’ll be included on the DVD but not in the televised version), are being made available, one per week I guess, on the BSG website. The first one is now up; go to this page and click “watch flashbacks.” (You may need to turn off your pop-up blocker.)

The clips deal with flashbacks to the first Cylon war and feature Adama as a young rookie pilot – pretty well played by Nico Cortez, who not only looks plausibly enough like a young Adama but, crucially, nails the voice.


The dialogue referencing the Cylons’ “building some kind of superweapon” on a “chunk of ice in the ass-end of nowhere” is perhaps a nod to the original series’ episode “The Gun on Ice Planet Zero.”

Strange Announcements

Our campus mail service recently announced, with no trace of irony, that any outgoing mail with an inadequate return address would be returned to the sender.

Oh well, I’ve seen worse. In my North Carolina days I lived in an apartment complex whose management used to issue notices like “February 12th is cancelled until further notice” (meaning that a meeting scheduled for that day had been cancelled) and “One-fourth of the residents will be exterminated each month” (meaning – one hopes! – that insect exterminators would visit one-fourth of the apartments each month).

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