Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Theorist Writes - Badly

john joseph jay" posts (14 February) on Summer patriot, winter soldier HERE:

demise of democracy? of the nation state? the demise of the democratic nation state?

“in addition, the nation state required the birth of a man seldom mentioned anymore, let alone studied, which is indeed unfortunate, as his thought was a vital step in establishing the intellectual premises towards creating and understanding the personal and economic freedoms underpinning the democratic state, and the process by which individual decision making powered economies and political groupings. i speak of course, of adam smith. his ideas and analysis are literally, in my view, the underpinnings of the view that individuals may determine their futures without recourse to higher political structures, and that, indeed, for humanity to flourish individuals must follow their own individual paths, guided by their prescriptions and not the notions of others. adam smith coined the concept of “the unseen hand” as guiding the progress of societies, in one bold indefinable stroke obviating the need for paternalistic oversight of human affairs in politics and economics. his is a lesson apparently soon forgotten
.”

Comment
An example of uniquely poor use of the English language as she is written.

It has a theatrical and affected prose style too: “the nation state required the birth of a man seldom mentioned anymore, let alone studied, which is indeed unfortunate”.

What is the science involved in a ‘nation state’ ‘requiring’ a specific birth ‘of a man’ to occur and this event occurring?

The answer is mumbo jumbo, mysticism, not science.

Adam Smith was conceived by his parents sometime in October 1722. His father was ill; he died in January 1723 (his Will is dated November 1722). Short of belief in an immaculate conception, that the future of the ‘nation state’ depended on a string of events implausibly linked to the fate of a nation or the world, is wildly improbable, and sheer hyperbole.

His was in inauspicious start; young Adam was a ‘sickly child’, tenderly cared for by his widowed mother.

his thought was a vital step in establishing the intellectual premises towards creating and understanding the personal and economic freedoms underpinning the democratic state.”

Again ahistorical misunderstanding. Adam Smith wrote of Liberty, not democracy. He didn’t have a vote under the existing franchise in Scotland.

his ideas and analysis are literally, in my view, the underpinnings of the view that individuals may determine their futures without recourse to higher political structures, and that, indeed, for humanity to flourish individuals must follow their own individual paths, guided by their prescriptions and not the notions of others.”

That may well be the ‘view’ of ‘John Joseph Jay’ about the most ‘mentioned’, discussed and ‘studied’ moral philosopher of all today. Never a day goes by in which Adam Smith is not written about somewhere in the world’s media – I know, I read most of it; sometimes 40 or more articles are published every day across all times zones.

adam smith coined the concept of “the unseen hand” as guiding the progress of societies

I won’t bother exposing this myth on this occasion. Down load from Lost Legacy's Home Page my paper 'Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: from metaphor to myth' (clikc on the red print)

John Joseph Jay has a theory; it’s quite long and, if you are interested, you should follow the link; its, er, more than quite long.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Curt said...

RE: "I won’t bother exposing this myth on this occasion. Down load from Lost Legacy's Home Page my paper 'Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: from metaphor to myth' (clikc on the red print)"

Tried desperately to find this document, used site search on google, and global search as well. Where can I actually find your article?

Thanks

12:28 p.m.  
Blogger Gavin Kennedy said...

Hi Curt
apologies for the difficulty.

Return to the Home Page of this Blog.

On it in red ink, you will find a notice in red ink, that at the end says 'click here', which oens a list of items, including:

"The History of Economic Thought 40th Anniversary Conference at University of Edinburgh: Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: from metaphor to myth: A Lecture by Gavin Kennedy".

Clikc (sic) that and that's it!

Gavin

7:46 a.m.  
Blogger john jay said...

sir:

other than criticizing my prose, perhaps legitimately, i do not see where your comments contribute very much.

what damned difference does it make that smith wrote "of liberty" and not democracy, and could not have, because he did not have the franchise. is all of that logically compelled? and, what damned difference does that make, ... , are you suggesting free market analysts, and propoents of the middle & merchantile classes, and democrats could not make use of smith's observations because he did not have the franchise.

and you poke fun of my "hyperbole" as being guilty of some sort of mindless determinism. you should maybe not be the kettle calling the pot black, in my estimation. the fact is, smith's birth and the exposition of his ideas were very necessary to the development of the middle class and notions of contract, and it very well might not have happened without his birth. the fact is, whether or not he exercised a franchise in his life time has no determination & absolutely nothing to do with whether his ideas were of utility to the devlopment of democracy, and the doctrines underpinning it.

just bombast, and a cheap shot at me. from an arrogant bastard.

is not liberty sort of essential to democracy, in the view of some, at least, as in "... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"

and, just who, at this point, cares a fig as to whether the "unseen hand" is properly attributed to smith, or is a "myth?"

the fact is, his thinking was very important to the notion that economic and political process did not requiring leading by monarchs, or collectivists, or intellectual thugs, and remains so today. i am sure even you are vaguely aware of that, since you read so much.

i will give you the observation on prose. i write hurriedly. and, it would benefit from adequate proof and review.

so what? i post at a blog, not subject to academic peer review, and not intended for scholarly journals.

and, i am not going to edit this. or clean it up. it will just have to sully your anti-septic pages, as is. laughing.

you like apples?

it is also my view, benighted as it may be from a "theorist's" view, that you are an anal, smug and sanctimonious prig, by all appearances. did i also mention smartass? i hate to leave that out. so there.

how do you like them apples?

john joseph jay
milton freewater, oregon usa

p.s. i am not a theorist. i am a federalist. for what it is worth.

3:04 a.m.  
Blogger Curt said...

John,
First, if you post an opinion as such, in the blogosphere be ready to defend it, or write in your diary.

Second, you've done little but prove the author's criticism. What to you is outlandish appears to others of us to simply be obvious.

While these topics have popular appeal, and many feel comfortable opining on them, the fact is that they are far more complex than you appear to be aware of. And you appear not to understand that the criticism of your writing is that you accept commonly held assumptions, oft repeated by many writers, that bear little semblance to the historical record, and attribute causality where it may not exist.
ASLL is dedicated, somewhat openly, to correcting statements made in Smith's name. And if I recall he reads some ridiculous number of references per day in his efforts to police them.

So, just as you desire him to treat your post in context, please understand his.

3:45 a.m.  
Blogger john jay said...

sir:

while we are discussing things, where did england go?

i see it on the map, but it seems absolutely uninhabited by brits. well, the soccer hooligans come close, don't they?

maybe you could tell me?

john jay
milton freewater, oregon usa

3:47 a.m.  

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