Monday, April 29, 2013

How Not To Apologize - Krugman Edition!

So, the master of never wrong tries to apologize... NOT. This is the worst article on dealing with criticism of the opposition. He not even leaves them a shadow of a doubt. He goes even so far that they are not even nice people. Why I have done the same in the past, I think I have come a long way to be more courteous to the people on the other side of the debate.

I try not to attack them personally, except if they start it and even then I am more sad than angry that they can't argue without throwing ad hominem attacks. if they want to persuade you that way than they are not a good judge of people and gravely mistaken.

But please read this wonderful piece yourself and then come back here for some nasty dissection.

One criticism I face fairly often is the assertion that I must be dishonest — I must be cherry-picking my evidence, or something — because the way I describe it, I’m always right while the people who disagree with me are always wrong. And not just wrong, they’re often knaves or fools. How likely is that?
But may I suggest, respectfully, that there’s another possibility? Maybe I actually am right, and maybe the other side actually does contain a remarkable number of knaves and fools.

And yet there are a lot of posts out there that actually think that Krugman did that - cherry-picking. He often discards evidence to the contrary or supposes that the people who supplied the evidence are not trustworthy (which is the worst kind of argument).
Well, the knaves and fools could also be on your side. In general both sides have the same amount of knaves and fools, it is a statistical distribution in most cases. However, let's see whats his evidence to that.

The first point to notice is that I do, in fact, perform a kind of cherry-picking — not of facts, but of issues to write about. There are many issues on which I see legitimate debate, from the long-run trend of housing prices to the effects of immigration on wages. And in happier times I would probably write more about such issues than I do, and the tone of my column and blog would be a lot more genteel. But right now I believe that we’re failing miserably in responding to economic disaster, so I focus my writing on attacking the doctrines and, to some extent, the people responsible for this wrong-headed response.

Only issues to write about, but how then do you get criticism from many authors: Henderson, Kling, Cowen or Anderson. Funnily, they can criticize Krugman without stooping to tthe level of calling anyone a dumb idiot who is willfully misleading people. In general, these people assume that Krugman is actually a person of good-will and thus should be considered of worth to at least not think he wants evil. Of course, he in return nearly never assumes the same.
And if he doesn't attack he attacks doctrines, but not always substantially, but rather with sleight-of-hand spoof words, like Austrian nutcases and such. This is not the level of debate one would assume in a nobel prize winner.

But can the debate really be as one-sided as I portray it? Well, look at the results: again and again, people on the opposite side prove to have used bad logic, bad data, the wrong historical analogies, or all of the above. I’mKrugtron the Invincible!

Really, Krugman? What about your idea of the Hoover years, which was filled with plot-holes or your imaginative story about the great depression. They are not proven wrong, instead he neither engages them nor rebutes them. Instead he just says they are wrong without much of an elaboration; just because they follow a different ideology (one he chooses not to like).
More often than not, there have also been logic holes in Krugman's pieces or at least over-simplifications. He sometimes even contradicts himself from a few years back. I have no problem with changing your stance, but then you have to explain why you were fore it then and why you aren't now.

No. The key to understanding this is that the anti-Keynesian position is, in essence, political. It’s driven by hostility to active government policy and, in many cases, hostility to any intellectual approach that might make room for government policy. Too many influential people just don’t want to believe that we’re facing the kind of economic crisis we are actually facing.

Or he is delusional in believing that other people are that stupid. He could also believe that they others see something he doesn't and try to understand what that might be. Then he can still criticize them. Krugman is even more political than most other commentators on the other side. He openly conflates some thinkers on the libertarian side with Conservatives or the Republican party. Also, a hint if you don't know it till now, the Republican party is for him the source of all evil.
There are a dozen posts where the Republican equals evil meme is repeated, so many that you can't say it was a one in a million event. So much for being himself a-political.

Also, he contradicts himself a bit here. If one position is political then it is such a position that advocates the use of government for its ends. While many of his opponents think that using the government less than him, it makes him more political, because he demands the use of the political domain for his gains.

I know, the critics will respond that I’m the one who’s being political — but again, look at how the debate has run so far.
The point is not that I have an uncanny ability to be right; it’s that the other guys have an intense desire to be wrong. And they’ve achieved their goal.

I must politely reject this absolutist notion by someone with so low a skill of self-reflection. The debate actually favors more and more concepts as shown by Sumner or Kling and less and less those of Mr. Krugman and his ilk. While he can capitalize on the sheer media status he has, most of his opponents have more thoughtful posts that do not attack other people. He rarely posts one without a bad word about anyone else.

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