Saturday, May 22, 2010

Paul Krugman: Think Exactly Like Me, or You Are a Racist

Paul Krugman, as a New York Times columnist, is supposed to operate independently of the newspaper's editorial policy, in that his columns are supposed to reflect his thinking and not be done in coordination with the newspaper's editorials. Of course, his latest attack on Rand Paul and the appearance of the paper's editorial calling Paul a racist just might be coincidence, but I have my doubts.

Why is Rand Paul a "racist," according to Krugman and his employer? He is a racist because he does not believe that the federal government should dictate anti-discrimination policies to private businesses via the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Keep in mind that Paul has not used racially-inflammatory language during his campaign or even brought up race at all. However, if he does not worship at the feet of the feds, then he is by definition a racist, or at least that is what they claim at the NYT.

Writes Krugman:
You know, if Rand Paul loses his Senate race, in a way I’ll be sorry. He’s been so much fun in such a short period of time!

Anyway, given the flap over his assertion that he wouldn’t support the Civil Rights Act of 1964, some Republicans are making the argument that they were the party of civil rights, while Democrats were the enemies. And there’s some truth to that: in the 1950s and early 1960s, the opponents of civil right were largely Southern Democrats.

But what happened to those Southern Democrats? They became Republicans. And I’m not just speaking metaphorically: many Republican members of Congress during the era of GOP dominance were, literally, former Democrats who switched parties.

The point is that today’s Democratic party is, effectively, the party of Lyndon Johnson, whose decision to push forward on civil rights cost the party the South, as he knew it would. Meanwhile, today’s Republican party is the party of Richard Nixon, who cynically exploited the backlash against civil rights to build a new majority.
Therefore, Rand Paul is a "Southern Democrat" who is a racist, like Theo Bilbo or George Wallace in his earlier years. Now, Krugman offers no proof that Paul is a racist; he just makes the connection.

Likewise, his employer declares:
In a handful of remarkably candid interviews since winning Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary this week, Mr. Paul made it clear that he does not understand the nature of racial progress in this country.

As a longtime libertarian, he espouses the view that personal freedom should supersede all government intervention. Neighborhood associations should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, he has written, and private businesses ought to be able to refuse service to anyone they wish. Under this philosophy, the punishment for a lunch counter that refuses to seat black customers would be public shunning, not a court order.

It is a theory of liberty with roots in America’s creation, but the succeeding centuries have shown how ineffective it was in promoting a civil society. The freedom of a few people to discriminate meant generations of less freedom for large groups of others.

It was only government power that ended slavery and abolished Jim Crow, neither of which would have been eliminated by a purely free market. It was government that rescued the economy from the Depression and promoted safety and equality in the workplace. (Emphasis mine)

Republicans in Washington have breathlessly distanced themselves from Mr. Paul’s remarks, afraid that voters might tar them with the same extremist brush. But as they continue to fight the new health care law and oppose greater financial regulation, claiming the federal government is overstepping its bounds, they should notice that the distance is closing.
Now, the editors don't explain how the government "rescued" the economy from the Great Depression, given that the rate of unemployment in 1939 was substantially higher than it was in 1930 or even 1931, and was close to the 1933 high of 25 percent. However, we are speaking of the NYT, the same newspaper that tried to claim that Duke lacrosse player Reade Seligmann simultaneously could be both at a bank teller and at a party miles away raping Crystal Mangum. This is a newspaper that believes its very words supercede reality.

Krugman makes one more interesting comment: "So yes, let’s honor the great Republicans of yore; I’m a Lincoln man, myself."

That is interesting. Lincoln was a self-proclaimed racist, whose Illinois did not permit free black people to live within its state borders. Lincoln also ordered his armies to loot, burn down whole cities and towns, and whose armies went pillaging and raping as they went along.

Thus, if I am to follow Krugman's logic (and the logic of his employer), then Krugman favors rape, racism, and destruction. Hey, if he is a "Lincoln man," then he has to favor what Lincoln did.


Sebastian said...

Krugman also seems to brush over his hero Keynes' associations with the eugenics movement. I'd like to see him intellectually contort himself making excuses for that.

SirThinkALot said...

It was only government power that ended slavery and abolished Jim Crow, neither of which would have been eliminated by a purely free market. It was government that rescued the economy from the Depression and promoted safety and equality in the workplace.

Never mind that Jim Crow laws were government enforced discrimination and the government actively supported slavery, through Fugitive slave laws, laws prohibiting educating slaves(thus decreasing slaves opportunities/capabilities) and masses of red-tape for slaveowners who wanted to free their slaves.

So, yes the government can 'fix' problems they themselves caused....

joe_z101 said...

Of course, it should be kept in mind that there is one word that is at the top of everyone of Krugman's columns. Here it is, in case you missed it: "Opinion". So are you saying he is not entitled to an opinion? That does not sound very libertarian of you.

"Therefore, Rand Paul is a "Southern Democrat" who is a racist"

And how you came to this conclusions is beyond the scope of any reasonable person, and yet another example of the many cognitive bias common in this blog.

Bob Roddis said...

Prof. Anderson:

Your comment on the Krugman blog was published here.

I recently had a comment published on the Krugman blog accusing Krugman of fraudulent misrepresentation of libertarianism and the oil spill. Although published at first, it has since been removed:

"This comment has been removed. Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ."

Paul said...

I'm going to hate myself in the morning, but since no one else appears anxious to point out the obvious, here goes. Joe, your comments don't rise to the level of a third grade argument. Please show us where Dr. Anderson stated that Krugman isn't entitled to his opinion. What he's doing is simply pointing out the ridiculousness of that opinion, much like what I'm doing to you.

In regard to your Southern Democrat comment, reread Krugman's accusation and tell us what other possible outcome someone would glean from those words.

Brent said...


You have shown your own cognitive bias on this blog in the not-so-distant past. I think you might be doing it again and, if you should re-read and re-think about what Krugman said vs. what Anderson said, I think you'll come to the same conclusion.

Bob Roddis said...

Joe's comment is about as dumb as they come. Of course Krugman and the NYT have freedom of speech to be free from coercion in publishing whatever opinions they like. Of course, they are "entitled to their opinion".

And when they give uninformed, fraudulent and misleading opinions, the proper response is not calling the cops but an informed response explaining the errors of their ways.