The Corner

Mickey Kaus vs. Krugman

A nice rebuttal. He writes:

I’m not saying theocratic incompetents from the “700 Club” aren’t fanning out through the government. Maybe they are. I’m saying Paul Krugman is not convincing on this issue. He doesn’t even seem to be trying to be convincing. Why should he try? There’s always been a market for anti-hick editorializing in the New York Times, especially anti-Southern-hick editorializing (see Steve Oney’s account of the Times’ counterproductive crusade in the Leo Frank case of 1913, which presaged its more recent counterproductive crusade against Augusta National). Krugman’s select Times readers aren’t exactly going to demand rigor when it comes to attacking Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.

Me: I am very much open — indeed, somewhat convinced — that Bush has peppered the government with too many hacks. I’m just unpersuaded that it matters very much that some of them are Christian hacks. Though I should say that I am not one who sees Monica Goodling as some hero of the Republic for taking the Fifth. She may be brilliant, I’ve just seen no evidence for it.

Still, it would be interesting to hear from someone on the Christian right, with some serious experience both in government and among movement Christian conservatives try to parse some of these issues. Are there real consequences — good or bad — from using Christian colleges and the like as feeders for government service? Considering how much Ivy League bashing goes on the right, presumably it is a significant change when a Republican administration starts looking elsewhere for recruits. For me at least, it’s an interesting sociological question, not a theological or philosophical one. Kaus is right that NY Times readers aren’t going to demand rigor from Krugman when it comes to bashing this administration or wallowing in Christian panic. But it would be interesting to hear from a philosophically sympathetic but politically critical observer on the subject.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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