The Cult of Krugman

Sometimes an idea is so foreign to the thinker that a meltdown ensues upon exposure. Such is the case with Paul Krugman. Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning economist and columnist for the New York Times, has suggested that the press is at fault for being “balanced and fair.”

Let me give you a second to clean up the coffee you just spewed all over your monitor. Done? OK. First, you and I both know that the press has rarely been at fault for being too fair and balanced, present case included. Krugman’s judgment in this case may be annoying, but it is benign. Each of us has our own views of bias and fairness.

What is not benign is the black ooze coming from Krugman’s editorial pores. He is incensed that anyone dare question the idea that his solutions for the economic crisis are sound or that Democrats just might be just a tiny bit at fault for the whole thing. Failing to gain traction by sound argument, Krugman comes awfully close to suggesting that the press should enlist itself in one side of the argument–his.

I have thought for years that the use of the word “fascist” was injudicious except in reference to actual Nazis. But, as George Will once remarked on a news show in reference to Pat Buchanan, fascism is more of a sensibility. It is reflected in the undertone of people like Paul Krugman, who appears to want the Tea Party not just voted away, but eliminated from the discussion. It is also reflected in Krugman’s premises about government itself as a benevolent master. By its very definition, fascism is all about the state–what it can and should do to herd people in the same direction. Opponents cannot be tolerated by anyone whose deepest emotional reactions resemble Krugman’s.

Fascists have a way of ending up insane. At its heart, fascism is psychological isolation from the opinions and feelings of others. It is a visceral exercise in dominance and a creepy sense that the world must follow a One in order to be whole. What must the sheer weight of embodying the world feel like? What poisonous vermin roaming around the fascist’s brain causes him/her to drift into megalomania and ultimately incoherence?

That we do not know, but we do know the early signs. Krugman and his ilk are showing them. They cannot believe that some members of the Republican Party actually think spending is the problem. They cannot fathom that anyone would resist sending our fiscal problems down the road until they truly are insoluble. Their disbelief is not based on fact or principle, but on a gut reaction to individuals asserting their birthright of freedom. And so they lose their composure, first in private, and then in public.

Krugman embodies the Unraveling Man, the one who snaps and for some becomes a fount of clarity. He reaches deep into the darker recesses of their souls and pulls out a loathing for all that stands in the way of his Weltanshauung. For the rest of us, he is a menace, but one who is often recognized too late. We are at risk because we cannot get inside his mind. We are too sane to feel the same convictions and share the same vision of what is right for humanity.

The lover of liberty always plays defense. He/she does not want to lord over others, but wants only to be left alone. By the time a true threat materializes, the libertarian is usually well behind in raising an army. Thankfully, we are becoming more aware of the real motives of the Krugmans of this world and we are losing our innocence about them. We see that this is becoming a real fight and that the stakes are higher than any of us can imagine. Let us call them out by exposing them for what they are– tyrants in the making.

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About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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