John Goodman on Projection in Political Debates

by Reihan Salam

I enjoyed John Goodman’s meditation on how we characterize the arguments of those with whom we disagree. And I have to say, I think that Uwe Reinhardt should be embarrassed at having written the following:


A long ideological war fought over the distribution of economic privilege in this country, a war that has been raging unabated for over three decades now.

One side in this war believes that the current distribution of income and wealth in this country is fair, as it rewards generously those who contribute commensurately to the economy and properly gives short shrift for those who do not — e.g., unskilled workers…

The opposing faction believes that the current distribution of income and wealth no longer is the product of a genuine meritocracy, and even if it were, that health care, education and legal care are so-called social goods to which rich and poor should have access on roughly equal terms, regardless of their own ability to pay.

This reflects so profound an intellectual failure on Reinhardt’s part that I’m left sputtering. Goodman, thankfully, is more than capable of offering an insightful reply.

The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.