Archive for May 21st, 2008

Withholding knowledge in fear of its misuse

May 21, 2008

Dani Rodrik quotes Larry Summers:

Larry Summers, who recently assumed the chairmanship of Bergsten’s advisory committee, has it right when he points to the unhelpfulness of those who would argue that

economists should stick with the mantra “freer trade is good” and not acknowledge in newspapers the implications of their models for fear of emboldening protectionists. This is a dangerous game. It is ethically problematic to withhold knowledge in fear of its misuse. It is likely over time to undermine the credibility of the experts who fail to share all that their science knows. And most importantly as demonstrated by recent debates the strategy of sweeping distributional issues under a rug and simply insisting on various kinds of dislocation assistance has been a political disaster for advocates of freer trade.

It is one of the problems I have with framing too — namely, that its proponents some times seem to care more about how the enemy camp might misuse your words and actions than about the correctness and nuances of your claims.

By the way, this argument of withholding knowledge by saying that it might be misused is not uncommon; recently, I had a very serious disagreement with my father on the same issue, namely, if the right to information act is helpful only to the mischief mongers. My stand: information and knowledge should be free and be available to everybody without any restrictions — in fact, this is the only way any misuse can be curbed in the long run.

Seagal + van Damme = Unfinished explosions ! :-)

May 21, 2008

Over at McSweeney’s, van Damme endorses Obama; along the way, you get some insider information like this:

Earlier today, just after we had started filming Double Overtime, I got a call from my agent. It turns out he got me a part in a legitimate studio film. I’d be co-starring with Steven Seagal in Timecop 3 / Under Siege 3: Unfinished Explosions. Seagal’s character, former Navy SEAL Casey Ryback, and my character, the time-traveling cop Max Walker, would team up to fight a chrono-terrorist during the Civil War onboard America’s first ironclad vessel, the Monitor. The tag line would be “Two legends. One knows ships. The other knows splits. Together, the South doesn’t stand a chance.”

I turned it down. I think Double Overtime will be my last action movie. I shouldn’t have to wear a flag pin, metaphorically speaking, to have a career as an actor. So thank you, Barack Obama, for striving to rise above a political season as trite and predictable as the shittiest movie I’ve ever done. You gave this aging action superstar hope that there’s a better way, that there can be life after Replicant. If I could legally vote in the U.S., you could count on my vote—because this Belgian doesn’t waffle!