May 08, 2003
The Ancient Wisdom Literature of New York City

In correspondence, Suresh Krishnamoorthy proposes a powerful reason for agnosticism on how much William Bennett has lost. His argument is that statistics based on drawing colored balls from urns is fine, but that the world is full of surprises, of people thinking outside the box, and of apparently transparent situations which are full of mysteries and complexities. Could casino owners have decided that keeping William Bennett "close to even" would have been a force leading the Washington Virtuecrats to choose other targets than the casino industry? There are lots of other possibilities that we can think of... The way I prefer to state this point comes from the Ancient Wisdom Literature of New York City: specifically, Guys and Dolls,--the passage in which Sky Masterson quotes the advice his father gave him: Sky: "My father said, 'Son. Someday a man is going to walk up to you with a sealed deck of cards fresh from the factory, and say, "I bet I can make the jack of spades jump out of this deck and squirt cider in your ear." Son, when you meet this man, do not take his bet. For as sure as the sun rises every morning, if you...

Posted by DeLong at 09:30 AM