TGGP posted a high quality, superrich in content comment, that I'll do my best to respond to with my limited time.
"<i>The way to do this is to focus on where he's weak on meritocracy/technocracy.</i>
Do voters consider Obama insufficiently meritocratic/technocratic? The Republicans are trying to appeal to the median voter, not Hopefully Anonymous."
My Reply: My point is that it improves rather than impoverishes the commons, while not denying Republicans the opportunity to increase their share of power, if they challenge Obama where he's weak on competency, meritocracy, and technocracy. That's why those of us who care about that (or are insufficiently robust freeriders off the others who would advocate for it) should try to get technocracy types to compete and win in the republican primaries of the purple districts. No one claims Straussian tactics beats Rovian tactics in intrastate competitions (the argument would be for interstate competitions). Since Obama is moving in the direction of competing for political power without obliterating the commons (in contrast to Rove) I think Republicans should feel some slack to do the same. They'll likely gain with either strategy in 2010, so why not improve the commons?
TGGP wrote: <i>Also, empiricists seem not particularly motivated to puncture the myths both the protagonists and antogonists uphold In that way it reminds me of a differen magesteria.</i>
What empiricists are you thinking of here?
My Reply: Well Gelman is becoming sort of a symbol of the social science empiricist, with his latest book and whatnot, and I think he's laid down on some basic myths (most notably the first principles of the racial myths). But really, I mean just about all of them. Contrarian insights are rationed out sparingly, surrounded by huge heapings of myth conformities. I can think of no exceptions to that in any academic publications I've read. The closest exception is Hanson writing about health economics, I haven't seen anyone dismantle racial myths quite as comprehensively as he's come close to doing with myths surrounding the medical profession. Sure back in the day it was done with religion, and it's being done with free will now, but race seems to me to be low hanging fruit that nevertheless has empiricists in a death grip, preventing them from even seeming to desire to attempt a comprehensive dismantlement. It's more a fake dialectic, with "both sides" working in stylized ways together. Murray vs. Gould, etc. etc. etc.
For readers unsure of what Hopefully Anonymous is responding to, I asked how long elite lawyers have been technocratic mythmakers here:
I should add to that comment that I did come across a sociology paper that mentioned empirical criticism of Frankfurt school critical theory. Oddly enough, this paper was about the contrasting language used in the controversy over heavy metal and rap music in the late 80s.
My reply: Don't have time to read it. I have no idea how you have the time to remain so literate and hold down a 9-5 job. You may be the Chris Hitchens (in terms of the ability to be widely literate) of your generation and you might as well make a profession of it.
<i>I think the leading critical race theorists (Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Lani Guineer, etc.) are rather clearly mythmakers, and so are critical legal theorists generally</i>
I remember coming across Glenn Reynolds and Ann Althouse (ugh) discussing a conflict between critical legal theory and multiculturalism at a law school:
My reply: I like Ann. I don't run into that many women who in general are as myth-independent as her. She's a good candidate for being an ironic conservative (or whatever she is). Haven't seen that vlog. I'll try to look at it when I get the chance. ctc vs. multiculti sounds on its face like a classic fake controversy/fake conflict to me. Like they have a bunch of first principles in common and it would actually be more subservsive/enlightening to challenge the empirical basis of those principles.
<i>so is Scalia and Alan Dershowitz</i>
I just came across a post at Philip Weiss' on Dershowitz you might find interesting:
My reply: Dershowitz had an interesting google author's chat on his latest book. What's interesting to me is he like a lot of these elite law profs have the talent to really dig deep in empirical analysis and experimentation regarding rule-making. But they settled for something a lot more junky, in my opinion. It would be interesting to excavate how and why the discipline has gone in that direction. I'm interested if the napoleonic system went in a different direction with their greater reliance on experts rather than juries. Also what the current Chinese situation is, with the praise they're getting in international media for competent governance (when they're not being criticized or noted for speech and association restrictions).
Some off-topic stuff:
Bryan Caplan says "law is a shockingly phony discipline":
That reminds me of John Hasnas' "Myth of the Rule of Law":
My reply: I hope I find the time to read that. The first title is a great one. I hope the content lives up to it. The second title isn't very innovative, particularly if it points out the commonly accepted reality that we live mostly by customary law and transient informal social contracts.