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Why Nancy MacLean Deserves Our Contempt

Summary:
Book/Article Reviews, Uncategorized In the essay below, Phil Magness documents just why Nancy MacLean’s behavior is so morally egregious. (Note that Magness has now uncovered evidence falsifying her story. The problem is not merely that MacLean provides no positive evidence that Buchanan favored segregation; rather, we know he opposed segregation as early as 1948, when he criticized it in his dissertation.) Read the whole thing here. The Epistemic Toxins of False Historical Claims If anything, Magness goes easy on MacLean. He doesn’t mention here how she has lied about our motivations in critiquing her, saying that there is Koch-funded organization attempt to smear her. (I’m not Koch-funded

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Book/Article Reviews, Uncategorized

In the essay below, Phil Magness documents just why Nancy MacLean’s behavior is so morally egregious. (Note that Magness has now uncovered evidence falsifying her story. The problem is not merely that MacLean provides no positive evidence that Buchanan favored segregation; rather, we know he opposed segregation as early as 1948, when he criticized it in his dissertation.) Read the whole thing here.

The Epistemic Toxins of False Historical Claims

If anything, Magness goes easy on MacLean. He doesn’t mention here how she has lied about our motivations in critiquing her, saying that there is Koch-funded organization attempt to smear her. (I’m not Koch-funded and there is no organized reaction.) He doesn’t mention how she has manipulated her readers to flood Amazon with positive reviews and then gotten Amazon to remove critical reviews.

It’s common for people of one political ideology to straw man and smear people of different ideologies. Libertarians straw man socialists, conservatives straw man liberals, and leftists straw man non-leftists. (E.g., recall Corey Robin’s nasty smear job of Hayek here, which Kevin easily refuted.)

One of the Left’s favorite ways of doing this is to accuse others of being racist. They do this almost reflexively. It’s rotten, but it’s strategic. By poisoning the well, they keep their side from engaging with and possibly being convinced by others. By accusing others of racism even when there are no obvious signs of racism, the leftist demonstrates heightened moral sensitivity and thus demonstrates that she deserves high status among her peers. (She is able to detect racism where others cannot; therefore, she must be especially virtuous and good.)  It also allows one to dismiss research one lacks the technical capacity to engage with. (Does economics have too much scary math for you? No worries; it’s racist!)

Jason Brennan
Jason Brennan (Ph.D., 2007, University of Arizona) is Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Chair and Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business, and by courtesy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, at Georgetown University, and formerly Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Research, at Brown University. He specializes in political philosophy and applied ethics.

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