Monday, June 19, 2017

Pat Lang — Invincible folly? - US policy and mass delusion

Col. Lang explains at some factors in the crazy.
There is a pernicious fever of Russophobia that is now wide spread among active and retired officers of the US armed forces. Many officers, however intelligent and well educated are extremely rigid in their thinking. This is a professional defect that was rewarded in the long process of competitive service leading to promotion. It was thought to indicate reliability and firmness of character. The Army's Russian studies graduate school at Germisch, Germany has, IMO, contributed to this Russophobia by inculcating an attitude toward the USSR and now Russia that is one of implacable hostility. The officer graduates of that institution have imparted this attitude to many others in the US Army. Retired US Army officers are now heard on Foxnews saying that the Russians must be "pushed into submission." This is crazy. Russia is not a minor power. They spend a tenth of what we do on military forces but their missile silos and submarines are full of weapons....
So if it seemed to you like craziness, it is.

There's more.

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Invincible folly? - US policy and mass delusion
Col. W. Patrick Lang, US Army (ret.), former military intelligence officer at the US Defense Intelligence Agency


Matt Franko said...

Seems like Trump is drawing some hard property lines with no right of ways or common access...

Perhaps trying to establish his Safe Zone...

Unknown said...

Somebody should correct Pat Lang on the following -

which we borrowed from our future with the result that our posterity will have at least 20 trillion dollars in public debt with which to cope.

Waste of real resources - yes, but this - no.

Matt Franko said...

Unk, good catch.... scratch off another one...

Tom Hickey said...

Unk, good catch.... scratch off another one..

Here the good colonel is talking outside his field of expertise.

It's common. Economists do it all the time.

This is a problem for even some or maybe most MMT economists. The only MMT economist that has demonstrated meta-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and inter-disciplinary competence along with disciplinary expertise is Bill Mitchell. Others may have but I haven't seen it demonstrated like Bill does regularly.

Meta-disciplinary knowledge is the recognition that reality and life are an indivisible whole that can be analyzed into systems only at the expense of the whole, since the whole is beyond ordinary human comprehension.

Trans-disciplinary knowledge is knowledge that reflects consilience, that is, the integration of the entire body of knowledge at a the latest point in time, or as close to it as possible.

Meta-diciplinary and trans-disciplinary knowledge comprise the ontological and epistemological limits representing the ever-receding horizons of human knowledge.

Inter-disciplinary knowledge relates to how the disciplines are interconnected and influence each other.

Even disciplinary knowledge itself is too complex for a single human to grasp entirely, so there is specialization, areas of specialization and areas of focus within those areas.

Most people with terminal degrees are only expert in their area of focus and maybe also their area of specialization.

Very few are able to meet the criteria that Keynes enunciated:

The study of economics does not seem to require any specialized gifts of an unusually high order. Is it not, intellectually regarded, a very easy subject compared with the higher branches of philosophy or pure science? An easy subject at which few excel! The paradox finds its explanation, perhaps, in that the master-economist must possess a rare combination of gifts. He must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher—in some degree. He must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular in terms of the general and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man’s nature or his institutions must lie entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood; as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near to earth as a politician.

— J. M. Keynes "Alfred Marshall, 1842-1924" The Economic Journal, (Sept.,1924), 321-322

MRW said...

Somebody should correct Pat Lang on the following

I have many times. Curiously, Lang doesn’t object to me explaining it when the topic has come up peripheral to the post topic, and he’s peppery about stuff he considers foolish. The majority of his commenters think I’m nutz. They’re all ‘free-market/smaller government rule” types; ex-soldiers, ex-intel, retired, etc. And a couple of them rage whenever I get into it, accusing me of being a socialist leftie.

There is only one guy who cheers—literally cheers in commentary—when I write that stuff, and he’s an old friend of Lang’s, who spent the 70s at Treasury and then something similar during the next decade. IRS? Don’t remember. He absolutely gets what I’m saying. I’ve always had a suspicion that Lang checked with him to see if I was half-cocked or insane; I think that’s why he’s been curiously silent over the past two/three years.

Lang doesn’t like thread hijackers, so I keep it to a minimum, and only in response to something said that I can’t let slip by.

But Tom is right: the good colonel is talking outside his field of expertise.” Lang was the model for the cigar-chomping George Peppard Captain in the 80s A-Team TV series, and he ran all the worldwide covert DoD and Foreign Service operatives when he was DIA.

And you know I agree with the last of Tom’s next three statements: ”It's common. Economists do it all the time. This is a problem for even some or maybe most MMT economists.”

”Unk, good catch.... scratch off another one…”

You don’t read Pat Lang’s blog for clarity on MMT. Or say scratch him off.

That’s like writing off Richard Wagner’s genius, saying he had no talent, or should be ignored, because he was a Hitler fan.

MRW said...

Like the Keynes' quote.