Friday, March 09, 2012

Steven Landsburg Defends Rush Limbaugh. Brothers Under The Skin.

This is good Friday fun. Students at the University of Rochester are actually protesting Steven Landsburg's commments! Landburg is a wingnut economics professor, best known perhaps for this 2003 piece where he disseminates the view that having daughters is bad news for staying married. But I first learned about him as the guy whose economic textbook argues that polygamy (sharing one husband) is good for women.

Landsburg supports Rush Limbaugh's treatment of Sandra Fluke:
He said that that Fluke “deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered,” and that “Rush stepped in to provide the requisite mockery” with a “spot-on analogy.”
Landsburg went on to write that Limbaugh wanted to brand Fluke a “slut,” but said he disagrees with that characterization and that a “far better word might have been ‘prostitute.’ ”
However, Landsburg added, that word also doesn’t fit.
“She will, as I understand it, be having sex whether she gets paid or not. The right word for that is something much closer to ‘extortionist.’ Or better yet, ‘extortionist with an overweening sense of entitlement,’ ” Landsburg wrote.
All that is a bit odd, given that Limbaugh did call Fluke a prostitute, too, and not just a slut. Almost as if professor Landsburg didn't do his homework there.

Landsburg later argued that the question is "when some of us should pick up the tab for others’ expenses." But that's what insurance does. If professor Landsburg goes skiing, just for fun, and breaks his leg, then all the other customers of his insurance plan are paying for his leg to be fixed.

The same applies to the use of, say, Viagra. Or the treatment of alcoholism or the consequences of reckless driving and so on and so on.

Sure, we could discuss all those cases and thousands of other similar cases. We could introduce moral considerations into all of them! But that's not what any of this is about.