Wednesday, September 28, 2005

EconLog: Library of Economics and Liberty - Stereotypes
"If you really want to improve your group's image, telling other groups to stop stereotyping won't work. The stereotype is based on the underlying distribution of fact. It is far more realistic to turn your complaining inward, and pressure the bad apples in your group to stop pulling down the average.
Telling mainstream economists "The stereotype is false because some libertarian economists don't fit it - look at Milton Friedman!" is scarcely better than naked denial. Obviously, every stereotype has exceptions; stereotypes are useful because they are better than nothing, not because they are infallible."[emphasis my own]

This is good advice for any group who feel as though they have been victimized. Although I would also suggest that each group is specific as to their basic philosophy, so that one can determine who does and who does not fit under this category (particularly in today's media driven miniaturized information age, driven to fit encyclopedias into lunch pails so that a person can feel like he can understand "it all").

His last statement provides the crux of the argument, for however obvious this point should be, it is the problematic lack thereof that pricks people who are oversensitive to criticism. We can watch this difference on TV, as it is the turning point between philosophy and ideology.

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