Brooks column got a big thumbs up from Prof Mankiw,
which is high praise indeed.
I'd like to introduce you to two friends of mine, Mr. Bentham and Mr. Hume.
Mr. Bentham knows everything. He went to Stanford, then to the Kennedy school before getting a business degree. He's got multivariate regressions coming out of his ears, and he sprinkles C.B.O. reports on his corn flakes for added fiber.
Mr. Hume is very smart, too, but he doesn't seem to make much use of his intelligence. He worked on Wall Street for a little while, but he never could accurately predict how the market was going to move tomorrow or the day after that.
… which prompted (however) David Harsanyi to write a response, and
I think it's pretty good too:
This week, New York Times columnist David Brooks introduced readers to his imaginary friends, Mr. Bentham and Mr. Hume, as a way of highlighting the nation's philosophical divide.Readers, make sure you read Harsanyi's depressing conclusion, and make your own call.
If only our ideological split were that complicated.
As it happens, I also have two imaginary friends (and boy, do I need them) named Mr. Hoover and Jim.
Mr. Hoover knows everything. He attended a high-brow graduate school and worked as a Senate aide before becoming a policy expert. (He even pretends to understand Jeremy Bentham.) He is a man who craves acceptance from the other smart people who surround him.
Jim is pretty smart, too, but hasn't squandered his talent working in Washington. Rather than theorizing about economics, Jim takes an authentic risk by starting a business. He ends up employing 20 people and creating the capital that helps pay for their health insurance -- as well as fund many of the social safety net programs that Mr. Hoover dreams up.
On a possibly related note: Instapundit offers a definition
of the shortest possible time period: the kleptosecond.
It's already making the rounds.