Megan McArdle

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Megan McArdle, being tall.
One of the

Pundits

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And a dirty dozen more
This is all technically true, and collectively nonsense.
—Megan McArdle, defining cognitive dissonance for us.[1]

Megan McArdle (also known as McMegan) is a libertarian[2] "econoblogger" who writes for The Atlantic Monthly. She is best known for her dismal argumentation style and being of above-average height.[3]

Contents

[edit] Background

McArdle started writing in 2001 under the nom de plume Jane Galt. She gained a reputation for her Objectivist reason and rationality claptrap. For example, in 2003 she made waves for her novel idea to curb violence during the anti-war protests:

That same year, she wrote a number of posts attacking Iraq War critics. Showing a true gift for prescience, she predicted that the war would cost well under a trillion dollars over the long run; casualties would be no more than a few hundred per side; that the war would bolster the economy and make oil prices drop; and that there would be no impact on the credibility of the United States government.[5] See Thomas Friedman.

With such insights, it came as a surprise when she started writing for The Economist in 2003; some might say that it's a bit odd that a magazine would make an "Economics Correspondent" out of someone who has no background in economics, but what those critics fail to take into account is that McArdle is very tall.[6]

[edit] At The Atlantic

In 2007, McArdle managed to land a spot on the website of The Atlantic Monthly. The Atlantic has a long history in American politics, having published "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," original works by Mark Twain and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." McArdle — clearly realizing the gravity of her new position — changed to a more sedate writing style, focusing on more serious topics like:

  • The status of her car[7]
  • The risks of using a Kindle in the bathtub[8]
  • Her being tall[9]
  • Her having a cold[10]
  • The trials of being a vegetarian (for a year)[11]
  • And, of course, this:
Early this morning, the Apple folks appeared with water for the needy liners...I imagine this is what it feels like to be a refugee — you sleep outside, and then smiling people in uniform hand you supplies whether you ask for them or not.[12]

This is not to say that she never tackled actual economics issues; however, when discussing economics, her knowledge really shined through... well, as in inventing statistics to support her theses.[13]

[edit] Issues

[edit] Iraq

As her history suggests, McArdle was a supporter of the Iraq War during both the run-up and the occupation. Since 2007, her remarks on the war have been scarce and mostly focused on casualty estimates. She has written a multi-part criticism of the Iraqi Body Count[14] and attempted to refute the 2007 Lancet study using a bizarre "macaroni and cheese" analogy.[15]

In 2008, McArdle finally broke down and wrote some very mild mea culpa posts. However, she was never able to fully admit any error, even having the audacity to claim that we should listen to the pro-war crowd in the future because they learned from their mistakes.[16]

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. "Matt Taibbi Gets His Sarah Palin On", Asymmetrical Information, July 10, 2009
  2. For certain definitions of the term "libertarian"
  3. 6'2" (188 cm), in case you were wondering.
  4. "Bring it On", Asymmetrical Information, February 13, 2003 (Incidentally, McArdle's defense for this was to claim that she didn't know how big a 2x4 was.)
  5. "How much is the war going to cost?" Asymmetrical Information, March 26, 2003
  6. This non sequitur is brought to you by The Atlantic Monthly. C'mon, guys.
  7. "Car Success!" Asymmetrical Information, January 11 2009
  8. "Taking a bath on the Kindle", Asymmetrical Information, December 10, 2008
  9. "They might be giants", Asymmetrical Information, November 13, 2007
  10. Apologies, Asymmetrical Information, August 11, 2008. (Note the date. During the bank collapses, the "econoblogger" — who works largely from home — made only a few posts a week on account of her "hideous lung infection.")
  11. "Defending Vegetarian honor", Asymmetrical Information, October 4, 2007. (Also, she still ate meat during her "vegetarian" phase.)
  12. "iPhone Relief", Asymmetrical Information, July 11, 2008
  13. The Atlantic's McArdle Problem, Tapped, September 2, 2009
  14. Everybody has to die of something
  15. The macaroni and cheese argument against the Lancet study, Deltoid, March 10, 2007
  16. "Are you talking to me?" Asymmetrical Information, March 26, 2008. (As an added bonus, this post contains yet another reference to McArdle's height.)
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