Arnold Kling  

A Woman of the People

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If Merle Kling Could Have Met ... I'll Shill for Hillary...

According to Reuters,


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Sunday dismissed the "elite opinion" of economists who criticized her gas tax proposal..."I'm not going to put my lot in with economists," Clinton said when asked to name an economist who backed her proposal.

"We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans," said Clinton, a former first lady who would be the first woman president.

Soon I expect to hear the Senator from New York promise to jump out of a tenth-story window and fly, to demonstrate defiance of "elite" physicists who doubt the feasibility of the project.

PLAGIARISM ALERT: I though that this was a commonly-used form of put-down. But then on my bike ride this afternoon I remembered where I saw it, and I was able to track it down to this post from Megan McArdle.


Science is the attempt to understand a phenomenal world that I'm going to posit actually exists, and actually has immutable properties. If you don't think this is so, I invite you to step out the nearest fourth floor window and then send me a report on the social construction of gravity.

I plead guilty. To plagiarism, that is. Not to believing that science is socially constructed.


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TRACKBACKS (3 to date)
TrackBack URL: http://econlog.econlib.org/mt/mt-tb.cgi/826
The author at In the Agora in a related article titled "Bookish Economics" writes:
    The Jill Long Thompson / John McCain / Hillary Clinton plan for a gas-tax holiday has run into a stumbling block, of sorts, namely, that every "economists, environmentalists, everyone who's thought about the issue for ten minutes, etc." has concluded... [Tracked on May 4, 2008 9:07 PM]
COMMENTS (8 to date)
John Fast writes:

I would encourage her to make such an attempt.

Chip writes:

'Soon I expect to hear the Senator from New York promise to jump out of a tenth-story window and fly, to demonstrate defiance of "elite" physicists who doubt the feasibility of the project.'

Nah. That is an issue in which the opinions of elite physicists and "common sense" are in accord.

Luke G. writes:

1. Something must be done!
2. This is something.
3. Let's do this!

Rob J. writes:

Actually, I think Megan McArdle got that line from Alan Sokal, from "Transgressing the Boundaries: an Afterword". In a footnote, he writes:

By the way, anyone who believes that the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. I live on the twenty-first floor.

John Fast writes:

Plagiarism, like gravitation, is a social construct of the oppressive ("dead-white-male") patriarchial hierarchy!

I explained all that in my own multimedia presentation on the Kurgan hypothesis and the Kolhar Fragment, "Transgressing the Boundaries and Speaking for the Goddess: Toward a Non-Hegemonic Feminist Interpretation of Herstory."

brian writes:

"We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans," -HRC

Why was this quote included in your post, Arnold? I'm confused by it--it seems to be the opposite of what she said right before (i.e. that elite economists don't understand that repealing the gas tax is actually a good idea).

Incidentally, it seems just like (part of) Bryan Caplan's thesis in The Myth of the Rational Voter, and in accordance with much of what is said on this blog.

Marcus writes:

"We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans," -- Hillary Clinton

Odd, she never says that about Global Warming.

brian writes:

Marcus: Huh?

I think you may have misread the quote. She's saying that it is wrong to think that elite opinion is always bad for the majority of Americans.

If global warming is real and significant, then fixing it would be good for the majority of Americans, which reinforces the idea that elite opinion is GOOD for Americans, as Hillary said. Even still, it's hardly an "elite opinion" when a large majority of Americans think it is an issue that needs solving.

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