Diary Of A Libertarian Nerd

“I’ve had strong opinions probably since I was born. It makes you unpopular, but what can you do?”-James Watson

'What I really hate about this language thing is that anybody can get a hold of me at any time!'
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Let The Dying Languages Die

“What’s to be alarmed about? The disappearance of a language is not like, say, a local crop failure that augurs starvation. In other words, if some obscure language ceases to be spoken, it is not as if millions or even dozens of people will be unable to talk. All it means is that the people…

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Jinnah

Jinnah was quite clear about the role of Indian politicians. They must never mix religion with politics: one was a private matter, the other public service. Political differences should be settled by debate and not taken to the streets to create mob hysteria. The right to vote should be restricted to the educated tax payer and not be…

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Interesting Links

“Naipaul was not a bridge burner, he wrote, but a “mushy soul afflicted with a cruel streak, and like many severe men, something of a sentimentalist. He cried easily.” He was, said Theroux, also a mean freeloader who rarely paid his share of bills.” —VS Naipaul And Paul Theroux Why do so many famous men…

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Yes, Ma’am

“I am bogged down with this hourly need to consult you, and with the practice of selecting articles on the basis of whether you’ve been addressed as “Malini” or “Ma’am” in the covering letters.I am also sick of this constant play of yours: to pitch one person against another for one week, and then reverse…

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Order By Accident

It is interesting that the Satoshi Kanazawa’s book on conformism in Japan is titled “Order by Accident”. Of course, the social order in Japan emerges from coalition politics. Firms are coalitions that employees serve. Now, observe. As Kanazawa points out, firms are deviant subcultures. Order won’t emerge within firms through sheer co-operation. Much of co-ordination emerges…

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Bleeding Heart Libertarianism

I was apolitical before I became a libertarian. But, most libertarians were anti-capitalists. So, I have a theory about bleeding heart libertarians. When you accept the truth, you are compelled to admit error. It is not merely that you have to admit error, the truth will also make you socially unacceptable. But, when the bleeding heart…

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Protected: Notes To Myself

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Lousy Women

One afternoon, when I went out for “lunch”, I saw lots of fat women playing cards in the restaurant. I was not in a good mood. I felt giddy after Mr. Old Fashioned’s meeting in which people ordered many rounds of tea and snacks, while he repeated, “The problem with India is that the debates are…

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My Book List

This is not a list of the best books of 2014, but the books I read, or reread in 2014, and liked. —————————————– Steven Pinker-The Sense Of Style Alain de Botton-The News: A User’s Manual  Antonio Damasio-Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain  Gregory Clark-The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social…

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Why Do Men Find It So Hard To Keep Their Trousers Zipped Up?

In “Editor Unplugged”, Vinod Mehta hints that he was surprised how hysterically people responded to what is possibly a false rape accusation against the Tehelka editor, Tarun Tejpal. A lot of people called this a shameful admission, because Vinod Mehta admitted that Tarun Tejpal used to hit on women when he worked under him. This makes…

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False Rape Accusations

There were many news stories on women making false rape accusations against men, in the recent past. When this happens, most people assume that this might be rare. Why would a woman do this? Of course, in offices, what happens often can at best be expressed along these lines: The office harlot’s attempt to nail…

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Do You Understand James Watson?

I like novelistic autobiographies. James Watson’s “The Double Helix” is one of the most entertaining novelistic autobiographies I have ever read. He does not hesitate to question the motives of other scientists, and expose their pettiness—their manipulativeness. But, of course, a sentimentalist might claim that their motives weren’t as twisted as he claims them to…

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Why Do Intellectuals Hate Hindu Fundamentalists?

Everyone seems to hate the Hindu fundamentalists. I do not know why. The Hindu fundamentalists are the friendliest people I have come across, over the internet. This is true even in the real world. Whenever I write a blog post or column that they even remotely agree with, they treat me like an ally. If…

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Facebook, My News Editor

A decade ago, while debating capitalism and socialism in an Orkut forum, I shared a journal article of Murray Rothbard. This evoked response to this effect: “I don’t care about what some guy on the internet says about economic depressions.” It did not occur to them that Murray Rothbard was one of the greatest polymaths ever…

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Nabokov On Philistinism

Nabokov’s is the most nuanced and psychologically perceptive analysis of neurotypical communication I have ever read. This fits normal human beings to a T: “Philistinism implies not only a collection of stock ideas but also the use of set phrases, clichés, banalities expressed in faded words. A true philistine has nothing but these trivial ideas of…

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If you really are stupid, I would call that a disease.

I believe you are the kindest to people when you tell them exactly what you think, in the clearest possible terms, in the most uncompromising manner, without hostility, without manipulative intent. It is sheer evasion and malice that stops people from seeing this. Normal human beings find this very hard to understand, because they are cheap….

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Why Would Sachin Do That?

“Four years ago, while working with Chappell on his book Fierce Focus, I read his diary. It was exhaustively detailed. Chappell wrote it for himself, not for publication. He has not consented to my raising it now. But he has, it seems, been traduced, and ought to be defended. The diary records only one visit paid…

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How Inflation Fell

More than a year ago, I wrote: “In professions in which perceptions matter, real skills are not valued much. But, no amount of rationalization can change the fact that real skills do matter. In economics, theoretical competence matters. Intelligence and rationality matters. Raghuram Rajan is supposed to take charge as the Reserve Bank Of India…

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Should Jonathan Gruber Have Lied About Having Lied?

Once when I asked an economist how the government should cure the fiscal deficit, he said that the government should cut spending. “The government shouldn’t run schools and colleges. The government shouldn’t run hospitals. The government shouldn’t run the police and the courts. The government doesn’t do anything well—except perhaps running the NHAI roads.” Then…

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Why Parsis Love Classical Music And Why They Are Becoming “Extinct”

My father teaches Rohinton Mistry’s “White Hairs And Cricket” in college. Though I had heard from the people familiar with Indian English literature that Rohinton Mistry is the best Indian novelist, I have never really read him. Yesterday, I noticed that Rohinton Mistry is a Parsi, and remembered what Aakar Patel says about them: “Parsis…

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Is The World A Good Place?

The people who read the newspapers believe that people are at each other’s throats. But, the probability of I being murdered, or your child being kidnapped is way too low. The reason is, of course, that the media discusses journalistic concretes, but not fundamental abstractions. To answer the really complex questions, we need broad empirical evidence and abstract reasoning. This…

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