The class clown of the academic internet is beclowning again; must be he’s upset with my investigation into Elizabeth Warren so he attacks the only way he knows how. Rather than address the merits, he picks a three and one-half year old post of mine and calls me names. Class act.
So I thought I’d revisit the wise observation by Prof. Stephen Bainbridge of UCLA Law School:
I figured that out a long time ago. But now my friends Larry Ribstein, Jonathan Adler, JW Verret, and Todd Henderson have figured it out too. I won’t bother you with the merits of the argument, because you can’t have an argument–let alone a conversation–with someone with Delong’s consistent pattern of, as Adler puts it, “selective editing” and misrepresenting his opponent’s positions. To quote Adler again, “Yes, this is the same Professor DeLong who repeats baseless accusations against other academics and then, when asked to substantiate his charges, selectively edits his comment threads and then dissembles about said editing when called on it.”
I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who said “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”
Hence, I agree with Larry that “a discussion with the likes of Brad DeLong is not productive.” With luck, this’ll be the last time his toxic style of intellectual thuggery and execrable personality will be mentioned in these pages.
I’ll also revisit comments by Jonathan Adler and Logan Penza reprinted in my post, Nutroots Best and Brightest Isn’t:
Would you consider it sound for one academic to attack a paper written by another, calling it (among other things) “obviously erroneous” and “simply stupid,” based upon a third-party representation of what it says? And would you consider it responsible to use the third-party representation of said paper as Exhibit A for questioning why the author has a tenured job at a prestigious academic institution? You would if you were University of California at Berkeley economics professor J. Bradford DeLong, who has continued his series of attacks against University of Chicago law professor M. Todd Henderson. “I genuinely do not understand why Henderson has his job,” writes DeLong, pointing not to anything Henderson himself wrote but instead to what another academic blogger wrote about Henderson’s scholarship. [Yes, this is the same Professor DeLong who repeats baseless accusations against other academics and then, when asked to substantiate his charges, selectively edits his comment threads and then dissembles about said editing when called on it.]
A post at The Moderate Voice reveals the depth of DeLong’s vindictiveness:
#9 on DeLong’s hate-o-list is particularly striking. Yes, you read that right. DeLong believes that Henderson should be fired for no other reason than that DeLong disagrees with him strongly.It is terrifying that such a mindset sits in a prominent position at an elite university with power over who gets hired, who teaches what classes, and who is given the protection of tenure. Is there any doubt that DeLong doesn’t exactly place a priority on ensuring that Berkeley economics students hear dissenting views? The fact that DeLong used to hold high government office and may do so again gives additional reason to be concerned about his apparently authoritarian tendencies.
Looks like I’m onto something if J. Bradford DeLong is on the case.
Update: Compare the reaction of J. Bradford DeLong with the reasoned analysis of legal ethicist Jack Marshall of Ethics Alarms, who while not necessarily agreeing with all my conclusions, recognizes the seriousness of the issue regardless of the politics of those involved, Jury Summation: 20 Conclusions Regarding Elizabeth Warren’s Law License Controversy:
8. Prof. Jacobson performed a service to his profession and the public by raising the issue, and was behaving responsibly and fairly to do so. The fact that he opposes Warren’s politics does not diminish the legitimacy of his work.
9. Journalists should have done the work themselves, and reported Jacobson’s allegations. They had a duty to do so.
10. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that if there had been any question raised regarding unauthorized law practice by Scott Brown, Warren’s Republican opponent, it would have been reported in the Boston media and elsewhere with enthusiasm and gusto….
20. Outside of [Jonathan] Steele, and a few others, the reaction to Jacobson’s research was overwhelmingly influenced by partisan preferences and prior biases, by officials, pundits and experts who should know better, including me. I have defended Elizabeth Warren against unfair attacks, but I cannot deny that I found her conduct and statements regarding her dubious Cherokee heritage and acceptance of affirmative action status and benefits manipulative, deceitful and evasive, and that this predisposes me to regard Prof. Jacobson’s allegations as credible….
DeLong’s long history of vindictive childish behavior is one of the reasons people hate academics and academia. And if DeLong is the poster child, that hatred is well deserved.