Dynamist Blog


Evidence that extreme partisanship didn't begin with blogs or 24/7 cable news:

Those who either attack or defend a minister in such a government as ours, where the utmost liberty is allowed, always carry matters to an extreme, and exaggerate his merit or demerit with regard to the public. His enemies are sure to charge him with the greatest enormities, both in domestic and foreign management; and there is no meanness or crime, of which, in their account, he is not capable. Unnecessary wars, scandalous treaties, profusion of public treasure, oppressive taxes, every kind of mal-administration is ascribed to him. To aggravate the charge, his pernicious conduct, it is said, will extend its baleful influence even to posterity, by undermining the best constitution in the world, and disordering that wise system of laws, institutions, and customs, by which our ancestors, during so many centuries, have been so happily governed. He is not only a wicked minister in himself, but has removed every security provided against wicked ministers for the future.

On the other hand, the partizans of the minister make his panegyric run as high as the accusation against him, and celebrate his wise, steady, and moderate conduct in every part of his administration. The honour and interest of the nation supported abroad, public credit maintained at home, persecution restrained, faction subdued; the merit of all these blessings is ascribed solely to the minister. At the same time, he crowns all his other merits by a religious care of the best constitution in the world, which he has preserved in all its parts, and has transmitted entire, to be the happiness and security of the latest posterity.

When this accusation and panegyric are received by the partizans of each party, no wonder they beget an extraordinary ferment on both sides, and fill the nation with violent animosities.

From David Hume's essay, "That Politics May Be Reduced to a Science"


Historian Jerry Z. Muller, whom I interviewed for the Hayek piece, has an excellent article on TechCentral Station surveying the moral arguments for markets.

One of the delights of my work is talking with people like Muller, who must be a great teacher. He's an exceptionally lucid writer, who makes complex ideas clear without losing their nuances. I haven't read all of his book The Mind and the Market, but reading the chapter on Hayek makes me want to read the rest.


Thanks for all the advice on my browser problems. Reader Russell Hanneken located some advice here, on the thread "IE 5.2.3 won't open." I reproduce his advice, because it worked for me and might help other readers encountering similar problems

The standard advice seems to be to move these files to the trash:
~/Library/Caches/MS Internet Cache
(The tilde stands for your home folder.)
and then try loading IE again.

For those looking for a comprehensive guide to Mac browsers, here's a note from reader Sandy Smith:

What version of Safari do you have? (Safari->About Safari) Have you upgraded to OS 10.3? If not, I highly recommend it, as it comes with a later version than the publicly downloadable one (it depends on some technologies included in the OS). I'm using v. 1.1.1 and Safari handled MSNBC much better than even Camino. I've also had better Java experiences with it--be sure you run Software Update to make sure you have the latest Java releases.

Anyway, there are a plethora of browser options available on the Mac:

Camino (I highly recommend downloading the latest nightly): Mozilla-based browser with OS X-native widgets. Handles bookmarklets--I use one to submit pages to the W3C's validator tool while I'm testing them. MSNBC is broken all over the place.

Mozilla: Open source version of Netscape, same engine that powers Camino. Comes with all the bells and whistles of the old Netscape Communicator suite, so they created...

Firebird: Browser-only version of Mozilla

Omniweb: Used to be the Web browser on NeXT computers, the OS that OS X is descended from and that Tim Berners-Lee used to create the first Web server and client. Now based on Apple's Safari engine. Version 5.0 is supposed to be a fairly big feature-focused release with more OSX-like elements than even Safari. OmniGroup have a good history at producing that sort of thing.

iCab: ick, but it's there. Completely home-grown engine.

I haven't ever used Internet Explorer for Mac regularly as my default browser--some things worked, but so many didn't. I'm familiar with it though, because we officially support it at work.

My default browser is Camino, because it's still the fastest renderer of the bunch, though Safari is now neck-and-neck as of v.1.1.1. The lead developer who did most of the initial work on Camino (then called Chimera) was Dave Hyatt, who then went to work for Apple on Safari:

PS - in Camden, SC we were allowed to talk (quietly) in the halls between classes and at lunch/recess. This was the mid-Seventies.

One thing everyone seems to agree on is that the MSNBC redesign is a disaster. What were they thinking????


TomPeters.com has a new interview with me about The Substance of Style. Unlike the other ones I've done, this was conducted orally and it shows.

I've updated the book tour page, with more appearances to come in the next week. Thanks to reader demand and an invitation from the University of Denver's real estate school, it looks like I'll be making a Denver appearance in early May. Details to come.


For unknown reasons, my Internet Explorer completely broke down on Monday, so I turned to Apple's Safari browser as a backup--if only to download a new version of Explorer. The new version didn't work either, so I had several days to try out Safari. It has many nice features, including a much better way of organizing my many, many bookmarks. But, contrary to Apple's boasts, I found that it handled Java very poorly and sometimes not at all. Most annoying, I couldn't use Movable Type's "bookmarklet" feature, which allows you to easily create a blog entry from the page you want to link to. (This feature would be a lot more useful if it would allow you to automatically create links to more than a single page.) Bottom line: I was happy when, as mysteriously as it broke down in the first place, Explorer started to work again when I clicked on a link in an email. I'll probably use Safari from time to time, but Apple needs to do some more work before it becomes my standard browser.

A side note: Neither browser handles MSNBC.com's accursed new design well. I used to love that site as a quick news source. Now it takes forever to load and blinks on and off repeatedly before it's done.

UPDATE: I quit Explorer, and now it's broken again. As soon as it launches, it quits. Aargh. So I'm back on Safari.


Blogger Tim Sandefur is outraged that aSouth Carolina elementary school banned talking at lunch and between classes. All I can say is that it's an old SC tradition. There was no "between classes" in my elementary school, but we did have a rule against talking at lunch. Plus they served collard greens. (Via the Volokh Conspiracy.)


Lileks draws on years of newsroom experience to explain how liberal media bias really works. It's not a plot. It's an attitude. And, though Lileks doesn't say this, I'm pretty sure it's most concentrated among copy editors.

The "liberal" bias usually manifests itself as a certain comfy sort of groupthink. Most people in the newsroom are Democrats. They vary wildly from issue to issue, perhaps, but there are some tenets that bind the tribe, and a good number of them are based in certain attitudes about conservatives that were quite possibly formed at birth. Certainly in college. My favorite example: years ago I wrote a book review about a study of free speech on American campuses. It wasn't one of those thinly-documented screeds; it was written by college educators horrified by PC speech codes, assaults on campus newspapers, and academic freedom. The copy editor had a question about one of the author's names. I wandered over and read it to her. The author used all three names--first, middle, last.

"F*cking Republicans," she said.

I was a bit surprised, and asked her what she meant. She seemed startled and suddenly a bit abashed, and said that the three names were pretentious. Like Hillary Rodham Clinton?

The book in question is obviously The Shadow University by Alan Charles Kors and Harvey Silverglate, who went on to found the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Pretentious is not a word anyone who knows them would use.


My editor at the Globe says that as of this morning, my feature on Hayek was the Globe's website seventh most often accessed piece, even though the top stories are usually the morning's main news: "not bad for a mustachioed Austrian!" Keep those links coming...

UPDATE: The piece is #4 as of Tuesday noon.


Karen Lehrman has a well-illustrated analysis on Slate. Aside from a brief mention of fashion ads, she doesn't consider what the magazine market has produced in response to the bad photography in the prestige glossies: red carpet photos of stars in In Style and catalog-style views of the stuff in Lucky. Neither is photographic art, but they're both more pleasing than the typical fare in Vogue.

I agree, btw, that Bazaar had great photography--and graphic design--in the mid-'90s. But it took about 30 seconds to read. Aside from the photos, it had no content. (Thanks to Reason's Jeff Taylor, a veritable clipping service, for the tip.)

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