The Krugman crack-up and the madness of the Left

There is a good case to be made that Paul Krugman is the ultimate liberal intellectual.  Sporting a Nobel Prize in Economics [actually the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, not established by Nobel and condemned by his progeny –ed.] for genuine achievement, a Princeton professorship, and a New York Times column, he hits all the bases as a certifiable smartypants.  Liberals who read his political punditry are comforted that they, too, are part of the intellectual elect, the class born to tell the rest of us how to live our dreary and humble lives.

So when Krugman spirals into wildly off base predictions and claims, with rapid rebuke by reality, it is a sign of a much broader problem for progressivism.  If the left is at a “dead end,” as Andrew Solomon writes today, then Krugman is trying to climb the walls at the end of an alley surrounded by brick warehouses. 

Krugman’s auto-beclowning began with an intemperate tweet after futures markets plunged with the early news of Trump’s victory.

Krugman chose to release a blog post in which he predicted these jitters represented a new permanent reality in the U.S. economy.

“It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?” Krugman said in his post. “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”

“We are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight,” he added. “I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.”

As Blake Neff of the Daily Caller noted, it took but nine hours for markets to refute the Nobel Prize [that is, Bank of Sweden Prize –ed.] winner.

A wildly wrong emphatic prediction is one sign of a man whose analytical framework is incorrect.  But more troubling is Krugman’s hasty embrace of the theory that Russia or someone hacked our election.  Daniel Payne has an eye-opening account in The Federalist of Krugman’s intellectual descent post-election:

I have to admit, I was surprised to read this particular rant by Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning economist and columnist for the New York Times (he won the Nobel for his work on economics, not his writing). Having read a New York Magazine piece that theorizes that some state election machines may have been “hacked,” thereby costing Clinton the election, Krugman declared:

[N]ow that it’s out there, I’d say that an independent investigation is called for…Without an investigation, the suspicion of a hacked election will never go away.

Really: “never?” Well. Krugman quickly backed off after Nate Cohn challenged this thesis (so much for “never”), but a number of hours later he shared a Vox piece: “The election probably wasn’t hacked. But Clinton should request recounts just in case.” Just in case!

It might be fair to say that Trump’s election kind of broke the brains of many people both left, right and center: nobody expected it and a great many people really didn’t want it to happen. But the Left seems to be taking it the hardest, and this is perfectly exemplified by Paul Krugman, a genuinely brilliant fellow who has started to sound like a tinfoil-hat-wearing neighborhood crank.

Payne’s theory is that Krugman and the left began their decline under the George W. Bush presidency:

Krugman’s flip-flop—from a denigrator of “crazy conspiracy theories” to an eager promoter of them—exposes perhaps just how fragile the political psyche of modern American liberalism is. The current American Left—the most prominent set of politicians, pundits, writers and academics working today—was forged in the fire of the Bush years, for the Left a time of paranoia, nonstop anger, smug self-righteous back-patting and intellectual balkanizing. These tendencies have been present among progressives for decades, of course, but it is hard to overstate just how much George W. Bush exacerbated them. Prominent among these liberals, of course, is Paul Krugman, who was a constant, sneering critic of both Bush and Republicans more generally during those years. (snip)

[T]here are few columnists on the scene today more intellectually closed and pompous than Krugman, a fellow who once wrote about a particular policy debate, “I…have been right about everything.” Even when you’re right about everything, you don’t write, “I have been right about everything.” Unless you’re Paul Krugman, that is.

I admit there is something quite delicious about watching a prominent mind so adrift, because it signifies the rudderlessness of the left.  But I actually hope that Krugman can develop the capacity to admit he may have been mistaken.  And with him, the left.  After all, in the end we want to persuade them to join us.

But that does not seem to be in the cards any time in the foreseeable future.  So my suggestion is to lay in a supply of popcorn and watch the reality TV show of the left going mad.

There is a good case to be made that Paul Krugman is the ultimate liberal intellectual.  Sporting a Nobel Prize in Economics [actually the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, not established by Nobel and condemned by his progeny –ed.] for genuine achievement, a Princeton professorship, and a New York Times column, he hits all the bases as a certifiable smartypants.  Liberals who read his political punditry are comforted that they, too, are part of the intellectual elect, the class born to tell the rest of us how to live our dreary and humble lives.

So when Krugman spirals into wildly off base predictions and claims, with rapid rebuke by reality, it is a sign of a much broader problem for progressivism.  If the left is at a “dead end,” as Andrew Solomon writes today, then Krugman is trying to climb the walls at the end of an alley surrounded by brick warehouses. 

Krugman’s auto-beclowning began with an intemperate tweet after futures markets plunged with the early news of Trump’s victory.

Krugman chose to release a blog post in which he predicted these jitters represented a new permanent reality in the U.S. economy.

“It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?” Krugman said in his post. “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”

“We are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight,” he added. “I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.”

As Blake Neff of the Daily Caller noted, it took but nine hours for markets to refute the Nobel Prize [that is, Bank of Sweden Prize –ed.] winner.

A wildly wrong emphatic prediction is one sign of a man whose analytical framework is incorrect.  But more troubling is Krugman’s hasty embrace of the theory that Russia or someone hacked our election.  Daniel Payne has an eye-opening account in The Federalist of Krugman’s intellectual descent post-election:

I have to admit, I was surprised to read this particular rant by Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning economist and columnist for the New York Times (he won the Nobel for his work on economics, not his writing). Having read a New York Magazine piece that theorizes that some state election machines may have been “hacked,” thereby costing Clinton the election, Krugman declared:

[N]ow that it’s out there, I’d say that an independent investigation is called for…Without an investigation, the suspicion of a hacked election will never go away.

Really: “never?” Well. Krugman quickly backed off after Nate Cohn challenged this thesis (so much for “never”), but a number of hours later he shared a Vox piece: “The election probably wasn’t hacked. But Clinton should request recounts just in case.” Just in case!

It might be fair to say that Trump’s election kind of broke the brains of many people both left, right and center: nobody expected it and a great many people really didn’t want it to happen. But the Left seems to be taking it the hardest, and this is perfectly exemplified by Paul Krugman, a genuinely brilliant fellow who has started to sound like a tinfoil-hat-wearing neighborhood crank.

Payne’s theory is that Krugman and the left began their decline under the George W. Bush presidency:

Krugman’s flip-flop—from a denigrator of “crazy conspiracy theories” to an eager promoter of them—exposes perhaps just how fragile the political psyche of modern American liberalism is. The current American Left—the most prominent set of politicians, pundits, writers and academics working today—was forged in the fire of the Bush years, for the Left a time of paranoia, nonstop anger, smug self-righteous back-patting and intellectual balkanizing. These tendencies have been present among progressives for decades, of course, but it is hard to overstate just how much George W. Bush exacerbated them. Prominent among these liberals, of course, is Paul Krugman, who was a constant, sneering critic of both Bush and Republicans more generally during those years. (snip)

[T]here are few columnists on the scene today more intellectually closed and pompous than Krugman, a fellow who once wrote about a particular policy debate, “I…have been right about everything.” Even when you’re right about everything, you don’t write, “I have been right about everything.” Unless you’re Paul Krugman, that is.

I admit there is something quite delicious about watching a prominent mind so adrift, because it signifies the rudderlessness of the left.  But I actually hope that Krugman can develop the capacity to admit he may have been mistaken.  And with him, the left.  After all, in the end we want to persuade them to join us.

But that does not seem to be in the cards any time in the foreseeable future.  So my suggestion is to lay in a supply of popcorn and watch the reality TV show of the left going mad.

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