UPDATE: Scroll to the bottom of this post for what Lauren Landsburg has to say.
I’ve been temporarily banned a number of times, but this one was the last straw. In this thread about James Hansen’s call for putting global warming denying oil executives on trial I assuaged Arnold Kling’s fears for his freedom by saying “The difference between oil executives and Kling is that Kling doesn’t matter. Also, he has less money.” This was ruled ad hominem, and since it was directed at the host and I had been repeatedly warned, I was banished forever.
I don’t see how noting that Kling has less money than an oil executive would merit that, as he has discussed high CEO pay and oil company profits on his blog. So the ad hominem part was that oil company executives matter and Kling does not. If carbon emissions cause warming, then the work oil executives do has a large impact on that warming. These executives have also been in the spotlight when Congress feels it ought to Do Something and they provide funding to people that spread their desired message. So we can say they matter. Does Arnold Kling matter on this issue? Is James Hansen aware of his existence? If he was, would it be worth his time to concern himself with Kling? My guess is no.
In some ways this reminds me of conversations I repeatedly have with Mencius Moldbug and Hopefully Anonymous. The former is talking about overthrowing the current system of government throughout the First World, a plan which now involves restoring the Stuarts. The latter wants to minimize existential risk and discover how to attain immortality, or something close to it. What I tell them is that you don’t matter, I don’t matter, and all the time we spend on the blogosphere will have no effect on the achievement of your goals. The latter at least will learn a few tips about common health and accident risks, but he’s not going to get a new Dr. Ishii cloning massive numbers of Aubrey de Grey and Nick Bostrum.
REPLY FROM LANDSBURG: I sent an e-mail when I found my comment was still up, here is the reply.
Hi, TGGP. > When I checked it out I saw that the comment I was > banned for was up. Is that a question? a complaint? a reminder? Yes, we left the comment up. Usually it isn't necessary to remove a comment altogether, even if it's the last straw or the final cause for permanently banning someone who has been warned repeatedly for crossing the line. A comment has to be exceptionally crude or disruptive to be removed. It was possible to interpret your EconLog comment in various ways, so taking it down didn't seem necessary. In fact, someone pointed out yesterday to me that you argue on your own blog that you intended it as illustrative. That argument seems perfectly reasonable. I probably picked the wrong comment of yours over which to ban you; but frankly, you've been gunning for getting banned for a long time. You've managed to drive your benefit/cost ratio for EconLog well below 1. Having to waste my time moderating someone does not exactly endear him to me. After someone receives multiple warnings, bans, and reinstatements, even a semblance of an infraction is enough to make it no longer worth my time to sort it out. Were you an iota as articulate and respectable on EconLog as you are on your own blog, almost surely you'd never have gotten moderated, much less banned. However, that's all water under the bridge. In your case, banning you doesn't mean I don't respect you as a thinker or as a writer. Quite the opposite, in fact. However, it does mean that you've not cottoned to EconLog's standards and style--not even after receiving two reprieves more than we give most commenters who violate the rules here. I look forward to continuing to enjoy reading your blog entries, as I have in the past. Best regards, Lauren