Friday, January 2, 2009
Paul Krugman on the history of the Republican Party. Now he is a political historian as well. I have the greatest respect for Paul's work as an economist. Actually, that's not true. I just assume I should because he won a Nobel Prize. And I don't know him in the least, let alone well enough to call him "Paul." But that is what one is supposed to say, isn't it? But this column sets a new low. Though, it probably isn't a new low for those who read Herr Doktor-Professor Krugman regularly. The whole history of the GOP's opposition to big government is racism? As history and rhetoric, that claim really is beneath contempt. It displays an astonishing ignorance of American history and a shocking degree of personal animus as well. For what little it may be worth, I worked with economists and other policy makers of the Reagan administration during my year at the CEA, where I met plenty of people who really liked markets and were deeply skeptical of regulation, but I never encountered the slightest suggestion that any of it had anything to do with race or "Those People." What an appalling thing to say. Krugman has stooped to throwing around baseless accusations in a way that is a discredit to himself, the New York Times, Princeton and the Nobel Prize, and probably New Jersey as well. He ought to be ashamed of himself, assuming that is something he is capable of, which I am entitled I think to doubt. He may not believe in markets and be all excited about the coming New Age of big government, but he should get a clue about the market in reputations. He might want to consider that having won the Prize is not a lifetime guarantee against being considered a buffoon and flinger of scurrilous accusations. Nor does having done important economic work make him an expert on everything, as the profoundly ignorant assumptions and claims in the column linked to prove, if any further proof from his pen is necessary. I suppose the rhetorical counter-strategy in Krugman's case would be to make equally loathsome accusations of his bad faith, and attack the personal motivations of him and everyone else in his particular pocket of the left wing of the Democratic Party. But I have no way of knowing whether he is acting in bad faith, which would be bad, or else just holds anyone who disagrees with him in such contempt that he feels free to make poisonous and wild accusations in print. Either way, this guy is really a disgrace.