Paul Krugman’s Intellectual Dishonesty
Always accuse the opposition of what you yourself are doing.
The discourse of today’s political left is invariably marked by jaw-dropping degrees of hypocrisy and psychological projection. Case in point: last week columnist Paul Krugman posted an opinion piece at The New York Times titled “Intellectuals, Politics and Bad Faith,” in which he strove to smear the political right as intellectually dishonest – exactly the same sin of which Krugman was guilty in his own column.
Nobel Prize-winner Krugman long ago ceased being reliable as an economist but has maintained his political stature among the left as a race-obsessed smear merchant who habitually demonizes conservatives in his Times columns. As noted in his profile at DiscoverTheNetworks.org, the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s encyclopedia of the political left, Krugman’s “view of Republicans and conservatives as hate mongers has been on display again and again.” As an example, when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and six others were shot in Tucson, Arizona in 2011 by an obsessed lunatic, Krugman falsely blamed it on “the rising tide of violence” in America stemming from “toxic,” “eliminationist” rhetoric “coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.”
In another instance, on Election Day in 2016, a bitter Krugman lashed out by attacking Donald Trump’s supporters as racist misogynists “who don’t share at all our idea of what America is about.” At least he got that last part right – Trump supporters most assuredly do not share Krugman’s Progressive vision of what America should be about.
More recently, this February he wrote that “America in 2018 is not a place where we can disagree without being disagreeable, where there are good people and good ideas on both sides, or whatever other bipartisan homily you want to recite.” Distressingly, there is much truth to this, but which side is largely responsible for this hostility and division? Which side is it that seems pathologically incapable of civility? Which side is it that violently seeks to shut down the free speech of its political opponents? Which side is it that has weaponized the culture – education, news media, and entertainment – and is waging a campaign of relentless partisan hatred through it? Krugman, of course, blames the right, and Krugman, of course, is wrong. More precisely, Krugman is lying.
In his most recent article, he decries what he calls “the bad faith that pervades conservative discourse,” the “systematic gaslighting,” the “insistence that up is down and black is white,” found “disproportionately on one side of the political spectrum.” This declaration stems from either a stunning void of self-awareness or unmitigated gall, because every day brings fresh evidence that the embrace of political irrationality and deception is disproportionately Progressive.
Krugman blames the media for not doing enough to expose the “dishonesty [which] prevails within the Trump administration.” He claims that Trump is an inveterate liar who perpetually complains about his treatment at the hands of the media, the fake news activists whom Krugman laughably calls “people who accurately report the facts.” He then goes on to snipe predictably at Fox News, which he asserts “has spent decades misinforming viewers while denouncing the liberal bias of mainstream media.”
Fox News is literally the sole, (barely) right-leaning mainstream media outlet, but that’s one too many for leftists like Krugman, who dismiss Fox as “faux news” while ignoring the blatant leftist activism of purportedly objective news sites like CNN.
In his Times article, Krugman targets right-leaning historian Niall Ferguson at Stanford University for having engaged in an email conversation with “right-wing student activists” in which he urged them to “unite against” campus Social Justice Warriors. By comparison to the nationwide campus collusion among leftist academics and their SJW minions, Ferguson’s indiscretion shouldn’t even rate a raised eyebrow, but Krugman treats it as an example of dangerous far-right subversion, all the while refusing to acknowledge the open, rampant totalitarianism of left-wing academic activism.
Krugman goes on to speculate condescendingly that there are few conservatives in the hard science departments of universities because “in modern America being a conservative means aligning yourself with a faction that by and large rejects climate science and the theory of evolution.” Then he makes the nasty insinuation that, for similar reasons of intellectual backwardness, there aren’t many conservative historians either, “which [Ferguson] takes as ipso facto evidence of biased hiring and a hostile environment.” It takes a special kind of intellectual dishonesty to refuse to concede that today’s universities are biased and hostile toward conservative academics and students.
Krugman then asserts that “conservative claims to be defending free speech and open discussion aren’t sincere. Conservatives don’t want to see ideas evaluated on their merits, regardless of politics; they want ideas convenient to their side to receive (at least) equal time regardless of their intellectual quality.”
This is not only a bald-faced lie but typical leftist psychological projection of their own characteristics upon conservatives. After all, a key Marxist tactic is to accuse the opposition of what you yourself are doing. It is the left that has been waging a full-court press against free speech precisely to control not only political discourse but all cultural discourse as well. It is the left that must resort to shouting down conservative speakers on campus (on those few occasions on which conservative speakers are actually invited or allowed on campus by violent protesters) because the left knows that their own ideas cannot bear objective evaluation on their merits.
Krugman condescendingly argues that conservatives do not deserve equal time because their ideas lack “intellectual quality.” If that is true, and if Progressive ideas are so demonstrably superior, why is it that the left resists debate and works so violently to shut down supposedly indefensible conservative ideas? If conservatism is so easily demolished on the intellectual battlefield, why don’t Krugman’s Progressive compatriots welcome that debate? Why not prove your philosophical superiority for all to see? Why is it necessary to argue, as the masked thugs of Antifa do, that conservative speech is a form of violence that must be countered with pre-emptive violence in self-defense?
Krugman goes on to make another ludicrous claim: that “conservative groups are engaged in a systematic effort to impose political standards on higher education.” This is yet more projection. Leftists absolutely have owned higher education because ever since their failed revolution of the streets in the 1960s, they have adopted a more subversive strategy, imposing their own political standards on the educational system and indoctrinating entire generations with their Marxist anti-Americanism. Conservative groups like the David Horowitz Freedom Center want to de-politicize the universities and get back to teaching students how to think, not what to think.
For many years Horowitz has proposed an “Academic Bill of Rights” to reform our universities by restoring balance and fairness in the classroom. Krugman states that such reform “has nothing to do with fairness; it’s all about power.” Still more projection on Krugman’s part. True conservatism is about preserving the rights and freedoms of individuals; true progressivism is about consolidating all power in the state. The left resists a code like Horowitz’s because they don’t want their own ideological stranglehold on the educational system loosened.
In short, to paraphrase Mary McCarthy’s jab at playwright Lillian Hellman, every word of Paul Krugman’s op-ed is a lie, including “and” and “the.” His column spews a litany of charges of crimes that his own side is actually guilty of: media disinformation, ruthless partisanship, an assault on free speech, political indoctrination in higher education, and a lust for power. You can’t get much more intellectually dishonest than that.
Krugman caricature by DonkeyHotey