Friday Shortcuts and The Process

The Process. Whether or not you care about basketball, Sam Hinkie’s resignation letter is a joy to read. It’s so honest and raw for a resignation letter of someone in that kind of position. I love it. My favorite line is the part about how to succeed in business, you must be both “non-consensus and right.” The 76ers have been an epic disaster over the past few years, but Hinkie has engaged in a fascinating experiment that makes us all question the purpose of sports. So much about sporting culture is conformist and fearful – Hinkie was neither and followed his process without apology. I have tremendous respect for that, whatever the short-term or long-term results of his experiment.

In Defense of George Mason Law (Sort Of): My former law school classmate and blogging head Ian Milhiser recently laid into George Mason for accepting a large donation from the Koch brothers to rename the law school the Antonin Scalia School of Law. He accuses George Mason of being a “conservative policy shop.” Ian and I probably shouldn’t be too judgmental about the names of other people’s law schools, however, seeing as how we received our law degrees from an institution named after barons of the tobacco industry.

I’m not intimately familiar with all of the school’s faculty, but two of my favorite bloggers are Robin Hanson and Tyler Cowen, both of whom teach part time at GMU law. They are both sprawling, innovative thinkers. If you watch this or read this, it’s obvious that any accusations of linear, dogmatic thinking are groundless. And if anyone is vulnerable to criticisms of linear, dogmatic thinking, it’s Mr. Milhiser.

That said, I could imagine that such close ties to the Koch brothers and the naming of the school after such a polarizing figure could lead to a decrease in intellectual diversity there.

Ideology is Not the Movement. The brilliant Scott Alexander wrote two excellent pieces this week on religion. The piece about how political movements are often not about ideology is particularly instructive. Reminds me of the joke about the atheist in Belfast.

An atheist walks in to a bar in Northern Ireland.

Bartender says, “Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?”

Man says, “Neither, I’m an atheist.”

Bartender replies, “well then, are you a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist?”

FollowFriday#: If you love history, and you’re not following my friend Mitch Fraas on twitter, get on it.