benfell's blog

Unethical research

  • Posted on: 10 November 2018
  • By: benfell

Update, November 11, 2018: This entry has been changed since it was first published to include brief descriptions of anonymization and confidentiality among the ways that ethical research protects participants and to add that there is a lack of trust in the government to protect confidentiality.

Update, November 12, 2018: I have submitted my resignation to the U.S. Census Bureau. I am appending the text of my resignation to this entry.


  • Posted on: 22 March 2018
  • By: benfell

The idea of 'theory' is pretty basic stuff taught in undergraduate methodology classes. We speak of a circular process, in which observations lead to a hypothesis, which is tested, with the results forming new observations and a refined or revised hypothesis eventually developing into and being recognized as a theory, but with the circular process continuing. This is part of the positivist paradigm but forms of it can be found in non-positivist approaches to inquiry. If there's any controversy about this, I'm unaware of it.

The aggregate

  • Posted on: 6 March 2018
  • By: benfell

While political dysfunction has soared under supposedly, but not really, unified Republican control of the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, the economy is widely reported to be doing well, thanks, allegedly, to the cautious policies of the previous administration.


  • Posted on: 5 March 2018
  • By: benfell

The Human Science Institute conference is coming up in October this year and it looks like I might have something to present if, and this is a mighty big if right now, I can get it together in time. I do not know yet what the deadline will be for abstracts. I actually won't have to travel very far for this one, as it looks like it will be held in Berkeley, which makes it a lot easier, especially financially. According to the blurb I received,

'Reform' conservatism

  • Posted on: 9 January 2018
  • By: benfell

It is probably easiest to begin this with a passage from the essay I wrote for my practicum (at a point when I thought my dissertation would be a theoretical dissertation):

Thomas Frank (October 4, 2012) describes the objections of wealthy financiers to being vilified for the financial crisis that began in 2007:

The (not really) conservative case for single-payer health care

  • Posted on: 25 July 2017
  • By: benfell

Chase Madar offers a pragmatic case for single-payer health care, that he argues is conservative by reference to—get this—examples such as Winston Churchill and Otto Bismarck and, a little less unreasonably, pointing1 to Friedrich Hayek's acceptance that government may have to intercede to pr