Paul Krugman: “crazy,” “lunatic,” “irrational extremist”

I’m not calling Paul Krugman any names.  I am just quoting what Dr. Krugman  says about people who disagree with him on Congress’s requiring guaranteed issue medical insurance:

So why are so many people complaining? There are three main groups of critics.First, there’s the crazy right, the tea-party and death-panel people — a lunatic fringe that has moved into the heart of the Republican Party. In the past, there was a general understanding that major parties would at least pretend to distance themselves from irrational extremists. But those rules are no longer operative. No, Virginia, at this point, there is no sanity clause.

A second strand of opposition comes …

“Crazy, “lunatic fringe,” and “irrational extremists,” an implication of insanity.   Dr. Krugman does not bother to articulate opposing views, let alone refute them.  He prefers to impugns their character and psychological well-being.

Remember, Paul Krugman is Nobel Prize winner, a Professor at Princeton University, and New York Times columnist.  These are top credentials, as if you need the reminder.  Yet, I would expect to find his type of argument, or lack of argument, in a school playground or posted anonymously on an on-line discussion group.  What is more disappointing is that the New York Times editors consider such rhetoric “fit to print.”

Paul Krugman has avoided addressing arguments for years, as economist Arnold Kling noted in “An Open Letter to Paul Krugman” back in 2003. It begins:

Dear Paul,

You might remember me from graduate school at MIT. I would like to ask you a question about what constitutes a reasonable argument.

For example, suppose I were to say, “We should abolish the minimum wage. That would increase employment and enable more people to climb out of poverty.”

There are two types of arguments you might make in response. I call these Type C and Type M.

A hypothetical example of a Type C argument would be, “Well, Arnold, studies actually show that the minimum wage does not cost jobs. If you read the work of Krueger and Card, you would see that the minimum wage probably reduces poverty.”

A hypothetical example of a Type M argument would be, “People who want to get rid of the minimum wage are just trying to help the corporate plutocrats.”

Paul, my question for you is this: Do you see any differences between those two types of arguments?

I highly recommend reading the whole letter for examples of Paul Krugman uses “Type M” arguments.

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