The false note of a pseudo apology

Message

[From Bill Williams 13 February 04 2:00 AM CST]

As a citizen of the United State I am, as a formal matter, assured of the right of what is often, somewhat inaccurately, described as “free speech.” There, however, is a sour joke in academia that “…in America you can have just as much academic freedom as you can afford.” This jest has particular significance for the case of economists who are not entirely worshipful of capitalism.

I come from an intellectual linage that traces back in a direct line to Thorstein Veblen. Veblen’s life despite his scholarly productivity was made difficult by “the economic interests.” He was fired from Chicago and Stanford. And, he never attained so much as the rank of associate professor. Clarence Ayres, who has been widely regarded as having, been responsible for defending the Veblenian heritage, during a very

difficult period, had his career disrupted by academic disputes at the colleges Amherst and Reed. And, his position was seriously threatened at the University of Texas. My own mentor was fired from the University of Texas for opposing the goons of the Ford Motor company who were attempting to destroy labor unions in Texas. I was fired from the University of Kansas at Emporia for among other things teaching students

about the way banks plunder poor communities by the practice of “redlining.” So, there is a history here of interests outside the university intervening within colleges and universities to disrupt the lives of economists who’s thinking does not conform to a given economic orthodoxy.

On the CSGnet I have been opposing a crack-brained scheme based upon Bill Powers’ dad’s Leakages thesis. As a result of this dispute, in a recent post, David Goldstein (2004.02.12.1949 EST)] made a threat to my livelihood.

As David said,

"I am thinking of forwarding your comments to

your Department Chairperson, since you feel

very comfortable with them."

David, apparently, didn’t believe me when I said, that I was comfortable with people knowing what I was saying on the CSGnet. I do take pride in my opposition to the Leakages scheme. And, I regard a defense of Keynes from his ignorant detractors as something of an intellectual obligation-- even though I do not regard myself as a Keynesian.

The obvious purpose David had in mind when he made his threat was one of curtailing my right to free speech, by threatening my livelihood. David’s threat to punish me for the exercise of free speech follows Bill Powers physical threat to bite me, if I condescended to him.

Condescension for everyone’s information a part of the so called right of “free speech.” Biting people-- without their permission- is not among the catalog of “rights” even in a “free country.” It rather falls under the category of a threat of assault and battery. In this age

when people have become sensitized to renewed risk of sexually, and included in this masochistic, or sadistically transmitted disease, biting is a particularly loathsome mode of physical assault. But, anyway, …

David, in his threat, taunted me saying,

“Would you like to provide me with the name and address?” [That is of the department chairman of the economics department.]

David, as a result of having taught for a

time in an unfortunate situation in a small East Texas college, has a non-existent understanding of how a genuine university functions. Based upon this misunderstanding David seemed, initially to think, that he could successfully make a despicable cowardly threat, and intimidate me.

Does David apologize for having made this threat? No, he most obviously does not.

I provided David with the email address so that he could inform the chairman of the economics department of my activities. Apparently for

reasons known only to David, he decided not to carry through on his threat. He declines, however, to explain his change of mind. Neither did he supply me with his residential address so that if the conflict escalated I could know where to go to burn his house down.

Having made a threat that failed to intimidate me David says,

"I hope we all can move on to the business of the CSG list and “Let It Be.”

I am indifferent to where David goes. I hope that it would be someplace where his slimy soul would not disturb my view.

There is, however, a well known saying among economists that,

“There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

This is a world in which you don’t necessarily get to make threats, and then just walk away from them. No, indeed. And, David foolishly made his threat in writing. Good for him! I shall treasure it forever. It is going up today as sort of poster in a graduate student office.

David has blacken the reputation of the CSG far more than any, however, frequent repetition of the feared four and even seven letter oaths could possibly do. Rick Marken recently took me to task for being mean spirited-- Rick apparently found something I said emotionally

distressing. Once a long time ago, when I was attempting to persuade Greg Williams to attend a CSG meeting, I asked Greg,

“What would it take to get you to come to a CSG meeting?”

Greg’s reply was “Rick Marken would have to be dead.”

And, I asked Greg, “Would it be OK with you if we did him at the meeting?” It took Greg a moment to realize that what I had said could be taken as a joke. Greg has a nice laugh-- when he thinks something is really funny. But, back to

the present…

The moral I draw from David’s recent threat is that if you stand up to this combination of bullies and cowards in the CSG crowd, expect that when they run out of ideas, and their feelings have been rubbed raw as a result of their having been being shoved up against the evidence of their intellectual inadequacy, they will threaten your job.

                                            David, having I would guess arrived at the  conclusion that he isn't ready, at least right now, to go on to a stage in which we threaten to burn each other's houses down, says, and I repeat,

"I hope we all can move on to the business of the CSG list and “Let It Be.”

And, just forget about what David threatened? Not a chance. Let David slither away from this cowardly stunt for free? No way. David is such a God damn fool that he is dangerous. Dangerous that is if anyone takes him seriously.

Bill Williams

PS

Sturgeon I suspect is going to be disappointed.

When I told him to expect an email from David, he got a gleam in his eye. And, when I told him, I planned on supplying him with one of my

invaluable pairs of Princess Lady Diana’s sunglasses-- Right away, before I was ready for it, he started laughing. I was about to tell him that with Princess Lady Diana’s sunglasses he would be able to read the secret content of a message encoded in David’s email. And, that he wouldn’t necessarily have to run naked in the forest to do so. But, he started laughing before I got to what I thought was the joke’s punch line.

Sturgeon hasn’t yet stopped laughing. But we think that he is eventually going to be OK.

Revisions to my “Running Naked in the Forest-- the scholarly subtext.” have once again been delayed. But, I hope to get back to work soon. The problem seems to be that new material is piling up faster than I can process it.

···

----- Original Message -----

From:
David M. Goldstein

To: CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu

Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2004 10:36 PM

Subject: A note of apology

[From David M. Goldstein (2004.02.12.2323 EST)]

Dear CSG Listmates,

I apologize for participating in this exchange with Dr. Bill Williams. I can’t believe how unfriendly and unproductive the emails have become, including mine.

I will not respond to any more emails about the topic. The list is being distracted from the activity of focusing on PCT.

I have no intention of doing or saying anything further about his language or way of communicating on this list, or in any other format.

It is entirely up to him how he wishes to communicate and present himself in a public forum.

I hope we all can move on to the business of the CSG list and “Let It Be.”

David

David M. Goldstein, Ph.D.