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Showing posts from January, 2007

John Holt on Milton Friedman

When and to what degree should we citizens be allowed to protect ourselves against the crooked and incompetent, to decide what we will buy or use, or who we will work with, and when should we be protected whether we ask to be or not, and if so how, and by whom? Beyond that, is our present system of giving licenses through S-chools a good way, or the best way, or the only way of doing this? I think it is none of these. Too often the protectors don't protect, but turn themselves into a new conspiracy to exploit and defraud the public. We could probably protect ourselves quite well against many (but not all) dangers, if we were not early in life made into expert-worshippers, and if we could easily find out the truth about the dangers. Thus, the conservative economist Milton Friedman has said that even medical doctors should not be licensed. If someone thinks he can heal others, let him say so, and get what clients he can. But require him to make open to everyone both his method

John J. Pierce in the New York Times

This weekend, the New York Times book review had a couple of letters in response to a previous review of John Scalzi's novels which commented on one of science fiction's most perennially controversial novels, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. One of them is by John J. Pierce, who points out the long history of contention over the book and how Heinlein liked Joe Haldeman's The Forever War despite the latter being a direct critique of his book. It's an example of how irreverent and open debate is encouraged in the genre; as Gregory Benford put it, while in "serious fiction ... proceeds from canonical classics that supposedly stand outside of time, deserving awe, great and intact by themselves", science fiction books constitute "immense discussions, with ideas developed, traded varied; players ring changes on each other — a steppin'-out jazz band, not a solo concert in a plush auditorium." Pierce is recognized among science fiction fando