Nov 27, 2022

criticism as tribute

Ronald Ferguson’s recent tribute to Glenn Loury is an exemplar of beautifully specific criticism (and at a conference in Loury’s honor, no less), and Loury recognizes it as such:

Below I present Ron’s (very lightly edited) speech. As you’ll see, it’s not a breathless encomium but a mix of warm reminiscence and thoughtful critique. That may seem odd at an event meant to commemorate my contributions to economics and social commentary, but I feel, on the contrary, there could be no higher tribute than that of a brilliant colleague thinking hard about my ideas. Criticism, respectfully and honestly applied, can sometimes serve as a higher compliment than praise. It is entirely fitting that Ron, a man with whom I’ve learned, debated, and grown over the course of so many years, would take the opportunity not to sugarcoat his analysis of my views but to take them seriously. That’s all I’ve ever asked, and I’m lucky to have a friend who understands that about me.

The whole thing is here.