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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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I love it When Paul Krugman Agrees With Me

One of the things I say repeatedly, often to people who flat out refuse the message, is that the four pillars of conservative thinking are as follows:

False Choice
Magical Thinking

I didn't make this stuff up.  The first two are directly from the first chapter of Russell Kirk's massive paean to conservatism (and extended valentine to Edmund Burke) THE CONSERVATIVE MIND, where Kirk eagerly and openly embraces ignorance and prejudice, since they avoid all that tedious mucking around with actual thinking - which to a conservative has always been dangerous, indeed.  The last two points come from my interpretation of Kirk, and they are reinforced by what I observe as conservative (i.e. regressive)  thinking all over the blogosphere.

False choice often comes into play when you are debating a regressive, and they present some aspect of actual or imagined reality as a black and white either - or proposition, often mis-stating your position in the process.  Many regressives simply lack the willingness or ability to see nuance, and are riveted to rigid pseudo-alternatives.

Magical thinking includes all sorts of superstitions, and also manifests itself in many other ways, from confusing correlation with causation, to concluding that belief in a dogma somehow trumps reality.  This leads to cherry-picking of data, and simply denying anything that is contrary to the regressives pre-conceived notions. 

I've debunked the magical thinking (or flat out lies - sometimes it's hard to tell) of regressive economists here, here, and here.   Then, of course, there's this.

All of which is a very long-winded preamble to linking this post by Krugman.

I don't flatter myself to think that I influence him, or that he is even aware of my humble existence.  But this is the first time I've seen him allude to magical thinking in describing a regressive position.


Cirze said...

You rule, sweetheart!


wanderlust said...

Great post, love it.