Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Monday, July 5, 2010

That Damn Krugman

Over at TGGP's stinky blog, in response to one of my comments to one of his posts, he directed me to this piece of drivel from the Econ Journal Watch, by Brett Barkley.  Well, we can see how qualified he is.  I wish him well in his career in the theater, since he's obviously strong on make-believe.

Here is my comment in response.

This is not the first time I’ve seen an EJW article that attacks PK, in an entirely invalid way. I’m not going to wade through 38 Pgs of Brett Barkley bullshit, but I did skim the Krugman section enough to see what he’s doing. Barkley’s unstated underlying premiss – that all deficits are created equal – is either abysmal economic ignorance, in which case the EWJ should have rejected it, if THEY were honest, or mere sophistry – so, clearly, they aren’t. I’m convinced it’s the latter. Though, who knows, BB might be as dumb as this makes him look.

Krugman was against Republican – specifically Bush II – policy because it was unsound, irresponsible, and possibly idiotic. As far as I know, no other regime in the history of the world ever simultaneously cut taxes and went to war.

It’s clear, even from Barkley’s cherry-picked quotes (and note he omits Krugman’s response – whatever it might have been – to Russert’s question) that PK recognizes when and how to have and not have deficits, and why the differences are important. One thing I often see in right wing regressives is a suggestion that policy doesn’t matter. Of course, they turn this on and off as a matter of convenience.

One of the things that inspires PK confidence in me is that his critics are always like this. They misquote, quote out of context, and use all sorts of propaganda techniques to deceive their readers.

The other things I’ve noticed about right wing regressives is a total tone-deafness to irony. Barkley’s Adam Smith quote as a header to his hatchet job is absolutely brilliant.

As I’ve said repeatedly, it’s fine to disagree with PK. In fact, it would be great to see someone actually prove him wrong. But please use real facts in their intended context, and valid logic. Meanwhile, I’m not holding my breath.


Here is the aforementioned Adam Smith quote, from his Theory of Moral Sentiments

A true party-man hates and despises candour; and, in reality, there is no vice which could so effectually disqualify him for the trade of a party-man as that single virtue. The real, revered, and impartial spectator, therefore, is, upon no occasion, at a greater distance than amidst the violence and rage of contending parties. To them, it may be said, that such a spectator scarce exists any where in the universe.  Even to the great Judge of the universe, they impute all their own prejudices, and often view that Divine Being as animated by all their own vindictive and implacable passions. Of all the corruptors of moral sentiments, therefore, faction and fanaticism have always been by far the greatest.

Update:  There is more to the discussion at PDDB's place.  Follow there if interested.

1 comment:

TGGP said...

Apologies for my tardiness in replying. The conversation continues.