One-Off: In Defense of Bullshit

One-Off: In Defense of Bullshit

Leon Wieseltier takes aim at FiveThirtyEight.

His distinction between analysis and advocacy is a little innocent. (Like the insistence of the man who went from the Times to ESPN that he is an “outsider.”) Is numeracy really what American public discourse most urgently lacks?

Mr. Wieseltier had a prime opportunity to approach the reoccurring theme of internet ‘debating.’ I enter argument, I throw some insults out there, and then I go to the proverbial “WhyIAmRight.com” before debating anew. If only indirectly Wieseltier comes close to making that point but at the last second ducks away to offer up some platitudes about inequality. Are we really lacking proper ‘numeracy,’ what a awfully pretentious word, Mr. Wieseltier? I do not know too many people who believe that inequality is absent from America. I do, however, see quite a few people–from all sides–defending themselves with the ‘need-not-be-said’ type of arguments. e.g. I vote for X, and it need-not-be-said that according to this argument concocted from these obscure and misguided numerals I am right. I know there is inequality, and it need-not-be-said that according this argument concocted from these obscure numerals I am right. And those are the worst type of arguments. They are not debates, the ‘debate’ is two people talking past each other.

Nevertheless, it makes for good, light reading. And anyone who mentions Isaiah Berlin deserves a bone.