The Corner

America’s Least Plausible Populist?

Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist, Nobel Prize winning economist, Princeton professor, and Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics has a beach house in St. John and two cats named Doris Lessing and Albert Einstein. He has written that the reason he got into economics in the first place is “because I read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, in which social scientists save galactic civilization, and that’s what I wanted to be.” I don’t think I am venturing into ad hominem when I say he has a well-earned reputation for having a very high self-regard and a pronounced tendency to denigrate the intelligence of those who lack the proper credentials or who simply disagree with him.

In his column today he goes after “policy elitists” whom he describes as “self-appointed wise men, officials, and pundits in good standing” who go around “lecturing the rest of us.”

I thought that use of the word “us” was the funniest thing I’ve read in a while.

Update: Some readers and commenters are complaining that I’ve defended elitism in the past and that I failed  to address the substance of Krugman’s article.

Meh.

Sure, I’ve defended elitism in the past. And I’ll do so again in the future. I’m not attacking Krugman for being an elitist. I’m laughing at him for trying to sound like he isn’t one. I kind of  thought that would be obvious.

As for the substance of his argument. You’ve got to be kidding. The substance of his argument is the same junk he’s been screaming about for years. Bush — chiefly through his tax cuts and the Iraq war — is the source of all of our problems.

My critics who think I’m ignoring this argument may have a point. But they miss why I’m ignoring it. I’m ignoring it because it is stale beyond words. He is correct that the policy elite has been behind the curve, but only someone blinded by his deep-seated and utterly conventional liberal-policy-elite passions would point to the tax cuts and the Iraq war as proof of the point or, more importantly, pretend that it is a novel insight.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Other Case against Reparations

Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for slavery and Jim Crow, sins of which few living Americans stand accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former ... Read More
Politics & Policy

May I See Your ID?

Identity is big these days, and probably all days: racial identity, ethnic identity, political identity, etc. Tribalism. It seems to be baked into the human cake. Only the consciously, persistently religious, or spiritual, transcend it, I suppose. (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor ... Read More
Culture

White Cats and Black Swans

Making a film of Cats is a bold endeavor — it is a musical with no real plot, based on T. S. Eliot’s idea of child-appropriate poems, and old Tom was a strange cat indeed. Casting Idris Elba as the criminal cat Macavity seems almost inevitable — he has always made a great gangster — but I think there was ... Read More

‘Silenced’

Someone tweeted this cartoon today, which apparently is intended to depict me. A few thoughts: I love the caricature. It’s really good. I may steal the second panel and use it for advertising. I hear this line of criticism fairly often from people who are not very bright or well-informed; in truth, I ... Read More