March 21, 2011
Paul Krugman and The Know-NothingsBy James Lewis
Paul Krugman recently was quoted as telling the world he doesn't follow contemporary conservative news commentary. Krugman's open contempt for the dominant political philosophy of the Western Enlightenment, including most of American history, is incredibly revealing. It's not just one New York Times guru of Political Correctness. No, I've run into Krugman's mental lockbox among "educated" people all my life, people with advanced degrees who just mouth the platitudes of the left. In all their education they never learned to open their minds.
It is pathetic. Intellectually, Paul Krugman has just run up the white flag. That's how we have to see the self-censorship of the left. In a free marketplace of ideas they can't survive. It's our job to restore the free media and give Americans a choice again.
Liberal bunker mentality is constantly promoted by the media. It's the key to their stranglehold over our national discourse. The New York Times never has to think a new thought, because it never feels the need to enter a genuine dialogue with other Americans.
Think about that. The American founders were what we now call "conservatives." So was Abraham Lincoln and all US presidents until Wilson and FDR. Most of Western thought for the last 26 centuries is dominated by what are now called "conservatives."
Just twenty years ago, the more conservative, free market nations, led by Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and John Paul II, brought down the Soviet Union and all those shoddy Marxist tyrannies without firing a shot. The Soviet Union crumbled because its own people lost faith in Marxist delusions that impoverished them in so many ways. In the West it took leaders who were willing to express strong faith in our own political traditions. All three were targeted by leftist assassination attempts, and Reagan and Paul II were severely wounded. The Soviet KGB was complicit in the attempted assassination of John Paul II, a little fact the media seem to forget.
A generation before that, the same more conservative nations, led by Winston Churchill, FDR (in spite of the New Deal), and Harry S Truman, in a Devil's Bargain with Jozef Stalin, defeated Hitler and Tojo. And a generation before World War II the same political tradition beat the Kaiser and his Prussians.
Ever wonder why the left doesn't teach history? It's one disaster after another for them.
Until the organized left decided to purge our schools and universities of our own Western traditions, "conservatism" was called "liberalism," because it celebrated liberty of thought, liberty of speech and religion, freedom of association, and free ownership of productive assets, including the fruits of one's own labors. Today China, India and Russia have thrown off their Marxist shackles and their economies are suddenly thriving, and we can still see the wonders of South Korea right next to the Stalinist nightmare of the North.
But Paul Krugman, economist extraordinaire, just doesn't get it. What is it you don't get, Professor Krugman?
Funny thing, the Europeans are finally getting it and saying so. Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron have all called for a halt to the suicidal ideology of anti-Western "multi-culturalism," which claims there is no difference between civilization and barbarism. Then you see real barbarians at their bloody work, and you think ... Gee! I guess all that old stuff was true after all!
If you're not Paul Krugman, that is. Mr. Krugman just censors his own mind. Millions of liberals breathlessly await his new columns to keep their own denial systems intact: It's all the news they're allowed to think. What Krugman says today, his op-ed readers believe tomorrow, just like the old Catholic Church, or Stalin's Politburo.
Conservatism is thriving in the free media -- what you are reading right now. The left only controls Pravda and Izvestiya, the New York Times and the Washington Post, and they are losing market share. No one with a shred of skepticism believes the media today. Conservative thought flowers wherever people are free to express their feelings and thoughts. In China the Party has to persecute peaceful Falun Gong meditators for doing Tai-Chi exercises in public. Think about that. As for Vladimir Putin, he now calls himself a Russian Orthodox believer, and is photographed kneeling with the Patriarch of Moscow.
The radical left has had to jump into bed with reactionary oil sheikhs whose fanaticism hails from the Arabian desert twelve centuries ago, to buy and bully their way to control the Democrats and the creaky Old Media.
In Krugman's specialty of economics, he must be shutting out working economists in the free market tradition, a consistent build-up of evidence and theory stretching from Adam Smith to Milton Friedman. In international affairs Krugman is at least half-blind; and given the consistent record of dangerous failures by left-liberals in US foreign and defense policy over the last century, his ignorance is endangering our national security. If we believe Krugman, he also avoids reading Supreme Court opinions by Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts.
There's no serious field of scholarship where that kind of ignorance would be tolerated for a second. I don't know any mathematicians who boast about their ignorance of modern algebra. Their students would laugh them out of the room. Everybody has limits, but no sane person boasts about his ignorance.
A century ago the word "Bowdlerize" meant to literally delete any sexual references in Shakespeare and the great Victorian novelists. We don't Bowdlerize books any more. Our media just Krugmanize everything in sight.
Krugmanism means cutting off half your intellect and all your knowledge of history. Conservatives make up a larger fraction of the voting population than liberals, but like some spoiled toddler, the left pretends it's the only kid in the sandbox. Intellectually it's pathetic.
And yet, on the New York Times Op-Ed Page, the Valhalla of liberal politics, where dead Marxists go to drink dark ale and waltz around with busty Valkyries looking exactly like Helen Thomas, Krugman's self-inflicted brain surgery is applauded. Way to go, Paul! Keep cutting your brains away! I still see some smidgen of free market economics on your purified intellect. Have you been reading Robert Samuels again, Paul? Wipe that off, Paul. Stay pure.
Conservatives often wonder what happens when we try to talk to liberals. Now we know. There's no there there.
Facts and reasoning mean nothing, not when it comes to the blasted heath of their ideological pieties. The reason they can't answer questions is that they've made themselves mentally helpless. I've had an adult family member rush out of the room for fear I might gently mention a Politically Incorrect idea. (True!)
Imagine what Paul Krugman had to do to his own mind, to drown out the memory of those 100 million innocent victims of Marxism in the 20th century. Or the whole history of the USSR. Pol Pot, anybody? How do you explain three million dead Cambodians in a dozen years of Marxist rule? All they can do is shut out facts.
In a perverse way the left has performed a kind of miracle. How does Krugman get to the Times building in Manhattan every morning? Does he have a seeing-eye dog? If you see Paul bumping into brick walls on his way to work, be nice and walk him to the door. Help the handicapped.
It's the Progressive thing to do, I guess. Progressives are admired, not for their knowledge, competence or wisdom, but for how much reality they can shut out without actually bumping into glass doors or slipping on old banana skins.
Our president proves it almost every day. The smartest man in America just sent Hillary up the wall again with his bumbling over Mubarak and Libya. He's wildly ignorant on solar energy and global warming. He even explains in his two (!) autobiographies how he ended up with lifelong mind-lock: in college Obama restricted his friends and teachers to Marxists and Third World radicals, whose ignorance equaled or exceeded his own. It's a sort of self-made cult, a formula for a bunkered mind. That's how you get Obama walking into Larry Tribe's office at Harvard Law, and persuading him that Einstein's Relativity Theory is a big help for interpreting the US Constitution. In a closed mental cult, anything goes.
The left doesn't need official censors because they carry their own censors in their heads. But just to make sure, they also work to block the free flow of information to everybody else. That must be why the media have to witchhunt Sarah Palin and Clarence Thomas on a regular basis, a smart conservative woman and a smart conservative black man. It's why they have to keep smearing good and decent people. If their own followers ever figured out the scam the media couldn't compete.
Liberals are constantly telling their obedient flocks what not to listen to, like Fox News. I've never heard a conservative radio host tell the audience not to read the New York Times. Who would listen to that? We stay astonished by the Mind-locked Media, to see what kind of disinformation they pump out every day. The liberal media provide daily mind-food for conservatives, just like the old Kremlinologists who would look at air-brushed photos of Soviet apparatchiks standing on top of Lenin's tomb, to see who was in power and who got purged.
We criticize their ideas, while they go on poisoning the wellsprings. That's why they fell for global warming fraud and for con artists like Bernie Madoff. If you have no conscience and want to make a million bucks, try selling GM Volts to liberals. But sell them an expensive accident policy at the same time, for the inevitable moment when their motor buggy gets crushed on the freeway. You can get them coming and going, if you have no conscience. If you do have a conscience you can only tell the truth and hope.
Leftist censorship often seems like a source of power for the left, but it's also a great weakness, because reality keeps finding them out. Ever since he took office Obama has looked stunned that nothing works the way he expects. Maybe that's why he's playing so much golf, to get away from all the bad news. Baffled. Why don't the Muslims and Israelis do what I tell them? Why doesn't the economy rebound from my "stimulus"? He doesn't get it. The more things get out of control, the more confused he feels. It wasn't supposed to be this way.
Obama is a victim of the propaganda monopoly of the left. Harvard's ingrown political culture never prepared him for this. That's why the left had to completely revamp Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, still an amazing guide to conservative (i.e., Western) political thought. It's free on the web, and good ideas have not changed, in spite of Krugmaniacal self-censorship. Human nature is what it is. Conservatives don't have to write any new history books. All we have to do is insist on the truth.
Political philosophers have long argued about popular democracy, because they could see in their own lives how often people get suckered by demagogues. (Including themselves.) The American founders argued about it for years, and ended up with a Constitution with layers of democracy and semi-aristocracy, like the Senate and Judiciary, and the towns and states against the feds. It's not a bad answer -- but the best government starts to rot if citizens don't stay on their case. With the advent of mass electronic media several decades ago, with television and radio, the liberals seized centralized control of our culture. When all the news came from New York City and Washington, our open political culture crashed.
In the age of free media on the web, if conservatives lose the battle of ideas it will be our own fault. You now have a printing press at your finger tips and it's up to you.
Remember the story of Ben Franklin, walking out of Convention Hall in Philadelphia and being asked a question by the curious crowd in 1789 ?
I'll bet that Franklin looked pretty skeptical when he said it, and I don't think we know answer yet.
It's still up for grabs.