Charles Murray is a Bullshitter: Wine Edition

The waiter pours him a taster from the bottle of Gavi di Gavi, an Italian white wine. “Mmmm, it’s like a good Montrachet,” Murray says. “I think it’s an excellent choice.” Every minute or so for the next few, Murray declares how excellent the pasta is. “Oh, this is lovely,” he observes mid-mastication. “Yes, really delicious.” I ask him what kind of wine a Gavi di Gavi is. Murray discloses that it is a “varietal”. I nod as though I know what that means. It certainly tastes nice. “Varietal means expensive,” he adds.

Before Felix Salmon gets here… what the fuck? That is from a longer article quoted by Brad DeLong. What follows is irrelevant as anything other than character assassination in certain circles.

Murray is a bullshitter, classically so, someone who doesn’t even care if what they say is true.

So, lets dissect what Murray says about the wine he is drinking.

First of all, we must note, Gavi di Gavi is objectively nothing like Montrachet. If you don’t have an opinion on it, that’s fine, but if you’re pretending to know about wine then this Gavi must be fairly unique.

Gavi di Gavi is from Italy, is made from the grape varietal (I’ll come to that) Cortese. Montrachet is a village in Burgundy making wine from Chardonnay.

Gavi is light-medium bodied should be crisp, with orchard fruits and maybe white peach and unoaked etc. Montrachet is full boded, oaked usually has a lot more stone fruit dominant when young and more nutty, earthy flavours when mature.

“Varietal” means grape variety, it couldn’t be a word any less relevant to cost. Even in context Murray makes no sense, Gavi di Gavi is a geographic region and Cortese is the varietal.

Either Charles Murray is a bullshiter, that article has its tongue firmly in its cheek or the FT copywriters don’t know jack about wine.


They looked from pig to man and man to pig…

Prime Minister David Cameron has said “gaps” in national security must be plugged but there was “still time” to meet civil liberties concerns.


Time was when governments wanted to take away our freedoms we  would at least get some rhetoric about how dangerous our enemy was, you know, imminent nuclear annihilation by an ideological enemy.

We had to fight the creators of brutal gulags, fight to free people were held in violation of habeas corpus. We had to liberate people from repressive police states where the criminal justice bureaucracy lobbied for more people to be locked up just to keep the money rolling in. The enemy was the snooping Stasi who pretended to need ever more powers. That’s not to mention the prevalence of secret trials and overseas, secret, detention and torture.

Of course, facing all those things we the citizens of the free world needed to take action… so now what do we do?

The ECB is not even at the ZLB

Eurozone interest rates have been left unchanged at the record low of 1 per cent by the European Central Bank as the 17-country region struggles to return to economic growth.

To everyone calling for fiscal stimulus in the Eurozone, purlease, start directing your ire at the European Central Bank.

Arguably, when the central bank has cut rates to zero it become much less effective at helping depressed economies. But the ECB has not hit this Zero Lower Bound. It can cut rates, lots!

By not doing so they are screwing everyone and everything in the world. Causing preventable deaths, preventable defaults, preventable capacity underutilisation.

It is no exaggeration to say that these people can be described as criminally negligible. Although they are successfully keeping inflation close to if not below 2% they are also successfully destroying the Euro, if a central bank’s staff kills a currency I’d say that’s a crime.

In 30 years time they will look from Trichet and Draghi to Greece and Italy and think “how could that happen” in the same way we look at Weimar children playing with wheelbarrows of worthless currency. It is a monetary screw up of similar, if opposite, proportions.