Friday, January 14, 2011

Krugman Watch: Can We Tolerate This Rhetoric in a Free Society?

Paul Krugman, economist, today is Paul Krugman, moralist.

Our Republic divided, per Krugman, between exactly two views of morality. They are mutually exclusive, and one is the source of violence.

We are not making this up. Krugmanesque logic proceeds as follows:

One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.

The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That’s what lies behind the modern right’s fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty.

There’s no middle ground between these views.

This is the kind of mind that teaches our nation's elite students and writes for our nation's paper of record.

Fun exercise: read Krugman's column to note the point where he explicitly acknowledges the actual existence of common ground further down.

And it is a move of logic and rhetoric that found its way into BHO's speeches as well, except that in his the middle ground was always what he occupied. In BHO's rhetoric there are three choices, his self-evidently the only rational one. In Krugman's, the choices are two.

Mothers, teach your children logic, and don't let them grow up to be columnists for the Times.

And to spoil the sarcasm in this post's heading by answering the question: yes, even illogical elites have the right to free speech.


Dr. Love said...

"All authority is violence." — Bulgakov

CDW said...

This website and a quick glance at recent Economics course offerings at Princeton lead me to wonder how many elite students Krugman is actually teaching: