Monday, August 8, 2011

What is the most evil column ever?

A tough question. I haven't done extensive review so I couldn't answer the question confidently. But I would think something like this - a 1929 screed by Joseph Goebbels. Refering to the title subject ("The Jew") Goebbel writes things like "He is a negative, and this negative must be erased from the German system, or he will forever corrupt it."

Yikes! That's evil stuff.

In fact I've read about half way through and it's so evil I honestly don't feel like finishing reading it.

I'd guess something like that is the most evil column ever.

Jeffery Tucker, of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, corrects me (thanks, Jeff!). Apparently "the most evil column ever" is a column by Paul Krugman where he gives reason to doubt the reliability of S&P, provides some arguments for how we ought to reduce the debt, and suggests that Congress is behaving less than admirably.

I would have thought inciting violence against Jews in Germany in 1929 beats this one out on evilness, but apparently not.

Keep in mind Jeff Tucker is particularly tuned in to newspaper evilness. It was only last Fall that a great New York Times piece explaining the intellectual backdrop of the Tea Party (unique amidst a lot of coverage suggesting there was no intellectual backdrop) was branded a hit piece by Tucker.

How can a guy that has bourbon for breakfast be wound so tight?

38 comments:

  1. S&P has so much power in large part because the federal government said back in the 1930s you banks, etc., you need to use the ratings of these handful of ratings enterprises. It is sort of unfortunate that we don't have a free market in ratings agencies.

    Anyway, the whining of Krugman isn't all that interesting; what is, hmm, "interesting" is how unbearably predictable (ideologically and as a matter of partisanship) the response to the downgrade by S&P has been.

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  2. Oh, and the most evil columns ever were of course written by Walter Duranty.

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  3. I think I know where to find the most smug blog posts ever...

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  4. Bob,

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s10e02-smug-alert

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  7. Der MenschenfreundAugust 8, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    This blog develops a nice atmosphere .. like the one in that cozy Cafe Hayek.

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  8. What do you think of Krugman's use of the word evil? In other words, what do you think when he un-ironically points out "evil doers"?
    -Ed

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  9. ya'll are so absurd, while I do not agree with Daniel on just about 90% of the stuff he writes, he at least tries to understand the opposing side. Critique Daniel on economics instead of calling him a whore for Krugman or a 'shlog'sucker....

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  11. I absolutely agree with Isaac.

    I would answer the critique of Daniel that he thinks it is absolutely wrong that Tucker calls his post "The most evil Column Ever" with one of Daniels most used quotes:

    "Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK

    I don't think it is appropriate to take every blog post title literally. Doesn't matter if you agree with the content of the blog post or not.

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  12. I can't believe it. From Mises.org to some stranger's blog to seeing someone mention that Zyzz is dead.

    The sky is officially falling.

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  13. This is the strangest comment thread ever.

    1. To all those getting bent out of shape - Tucker was wildly hysterical and it's not the first time Tucker has been hysterical and I pointed it out in a funny way. Get over it.

    2. Bob - if Krugman had a blog post calling Tucker the most evil person in the world and you wrote a post mocking his ridiculousness, you know I wouldn't be calling you smug - I'd be saying "yup - Krugman is being a real dumbass". Don't shoot the messenger. Tucker is being a dumbass and somebody had to say it. It was funny.

    3. Ed - you mentioned that the other day. Is that a specific reference or something? What are you talking about?

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  14. Oh - and the craziest thing about Tucker's reaction is it wasn't all that outrageous of a column from Krugman.

    - S&P doesn't have a great record
    - The market seems to disagree with S&P
    - We have a political problem rather than a debt problem

    If I were given twenty Krugman columns and asked which would be the one that Tucker would call the most evil column ever and would accuse Krugman of claiming to want to imprison people for hate speech, I don't think I would have guessed this column.

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  15. Anyway - absurd people in places of prominence should be mocked. It's a healthy thing.

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  16. Daniel,

    Do you really believe that there is only the free market that is affecting US Bonds? I mean who in their right mind does dare to openly bet against the Treasury backed by the FED with its (without any exaggeration) unlimited (Dollar)supply?

    The market factors the FED in (They saw the Greenspan video). And it is trying to profit from this situation, which in awaiting some more QE soon means buy US Bonds instead of risking your money in an overbought stock market...

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  17. If you're saying that without an independent monetary authority U.S. debt would be considerably more problematic, I agree with you.

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  18. I apparently missed some interesting commentary. ;)

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  19. Come on, Bob, you're really trying to say Daniel is as smug as ME? I'm going to have to work harder!

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  20. "Tucker is being a dumbass and somebody had to say it. It was funny."

    And then your actions backfire on you.

    Schooled by Esuric:

    http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/20375.aspx

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  21. I really hate this unnecessary bickering. I mean among Gene and Bob it appears to be (at least for the most part) like cultivated trash talking with at max a grain of salt.

    But those offensive insults really hurt me to read. And yet its people who are economists or at least interested in economics who don't understand that it is not very economical for winning the argument if you are hostile and offensive.

    Additionally written things tend to appear much more offensive than they were originally intended to be (my experience)...

    What a coincidence my random player threw at this moment the cover version of "What is love" by the Leningrad Cowboys into my player: "What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more!" Peace! ;)

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  22. skylien -
    I think I have a cultivated trash talk status with Bob too.

    But the Mises crowd really despises Krugman in a disturbing way. Bob is unconvinced by him. He points out "Krugman Kontradictions" that I think fall flat maybe 70% of the time, but that's fine - he's raising a point. There are a lot in the Mises crowd that really consider Krugman and Keynesians to be a threat to western civilization. In the comments at the Mises post I sorta gave Jeff an opportunity to scale it back but he definitely didn't take that opportunity.

    That's problematic I think. Maybe some peole think my reaction is offensive (or maybe you were refering to someone else), but I personally think it's helpful to mock that kind of virulence. Jeff Tucker isn't offering a good faith critique of Krugman's logic the way Bob Murphy does.

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  23. Daniel,

    So does the Keynesian crowd think of Mises ideas. One sees those issues mostly at the other side.

    I especially speak about direct insults like you have to hear all too often. But I also think Krugman exaggerated with his "S&P acts like a parent murdering child" (no matter how you mean it, this is bound to be understood wrongly. Not much different when Gene pointed to Oliva's post about killing a tyrant). But I agree I think Jeff also did exaggerate with his headline (Concerning his other arguments one can see it really from different angles), and I think you did too.

    So for the record. I highly respect you all: Daniel, Bob M, Gene C., Jeff T. Steve H., George S.,... And I hope you can keep up fruitful discussions and maybe once in a while a nice cultivated trashy line for your ideological counterpart.

    PS: I didn't mention Krugman above, because he does not really engage the discussion directly. So for me he is merely on the sideshow. (Although I bought a book of him now to really hear what he has to say as economist!)

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  24. "There are a lot in the Mises crowd that really consider Krugman and Keynesians to be a threat to western civilization."

    Well, central state planning, bad economics, etc., yeah, it's not crazy to think they pose a threat to civilization and life.

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  25. Stephen Kinsella,

    Well, Krugman favors the so-called "fairness doctrine" - that's really all you need to know about Krugman's view of the world.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/29/opinion/in-media-res.html?src=pm

    Besides the issues of free speech and free association, the fairness doctrine stultifies speech - it presents the world as if it were a simple dichotomy - liberal and conservative - and thus protects entrenched interests in the process. Indeed, calling for a reinstatement of the doctrine is further evidence that Krugman lives in a 1950s fantasy land where you have just a couple channels on television, just a few radio stations, and just a few newspapers in the city - as oppposed the massive increase in sources for information that we have today, many of which do not fall onto some simple left-right dichotomy that the fairness doctrine enforced.

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  26. Stephen Kinsella -
    I suppose the quality of anyone's economics is something we can debate - I think it's been fairly high quality. But I have to correct you on central planning. As far as I'm aware Krugman and Keynesians have never advocated central planning. If that ever did gain momentum in the West again it would indeed constitute a threat, but the idea of central planning is dead - and rightfully so.

    We may not agree on whether Krugman is a good economist but I'm glad you seem to agree with me that central planning doesn't have anything to offer civilized society.

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  27. Stephen,

    Central planning is a primary aspect of a mixed economy; so those who favor mixed economies favor central planning.

    Great article here about Krugman: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/04/sacred_and_profane

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  28. "Central planning is a primary aspect of a mixed economy; so those who favor mixed economies favor central planning."

    This is false, but if it were true, since all economies that have ever existed have been mixed economies, and they generally have mostly worked, it would demonstrate that central planning works. Was that what you were attempting to demonstrate, Gary?

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  29. "This is false, but if it were true, since all economies that have ever existed have been mixed economies, and they generally have mostly worked, it would demonstrate that central planning works. Was that what you were attempting to demonstrate, Gary?"

    This is a wrong conclusion, since it is not clear if the factor "Central Planning" is offset by another factor. This is only an appeal to experience ignoring the complexity of the issue.

    With the same logic one could have justified slavery until the end of 19th century and many other bad/stupid things.

    But the first problem seems to be what is central planning? As Daniel obviously does not see central banking as central planning. But I think this is stuff for a new blog post.

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  30. Gene,

    Actually, it is true. In the U.S. we're burdened with the centrally planned first-class mail service, just to give one example. In many countries in the West education is centrally planned; wherever the Ministry of Education exists that is where the decision making re: curriculum is made, and those decisions are filtered down through the bureaucracy to those meant to implement it (and of course in that instance all the physical structures, etc. are owned by the state). And yes, your logic is sort of faulty there.

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  31. skylien,

    Gene is basically making an argument from tradition; that assumption fails for obvious reasons.

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  32. "With the same logic one could have justified slavery until the end of 19th century and many other bad/stupid things."

    Whether or not central planning is *just* is a very different question from whether it can *work*. Libertarians usually say central planning is both unworkable and unjust. My reductio of Gary's statement is only addressing the workability part.

    If someone said, "Slavery: that could never work!" then it would be a perfectly valid rejoinder to say, "It worked quite well for millennium." That would not mean the person making the rejoinder thought it was just.

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  33. "Gene is basically making an argument from tradition..."

    Are you joking? Could you really possibly think that is what my argument is, or are you just trying to score rhetorical points?

    "that assumption fails for obvious reasons."

    What "assumption"? What the heck have I "assumed"? See my previous comment.

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  34. Gene,

    That's exactly the argument you are making. A classic argument from tradition.

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  35. Central planning works in the sense the Soviet Union worked: not at all. But the sluggish parasite in snuffed out sooner or later. And since Europe and America are on the brink of financial collapse....

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  36. ""Central planning is a primary aspect of a mixed economy; so those who favor mixed economies favor central planning."

    This is false,"

    Actually it's true unless your using a pet definition of "Mixed Economy". Also in Krugman's case he most certainly is advocating central planning in monetary policy. Why are you trying to argue otherwise?

    "since all economies that have ever existed have been mixed economies, and they generally have mostly worked, it would demonstrate that central planning works. Was that what you were attempting to demonstrate, Gary?"

    All economies that have ever existed have also consisted of murders. This doesn't mean murders are needed for economic success does it?

    "it would demonstrate that central planning works."

    If it's "working" then why do we constantly update it, correct it, change it, fix it, and argue over it? Could it be that your idea of what is working differs from someone else's? NO WAY! If it's workign why is it constantly being altered? Why would you want to change something that is working? The answer is of-coarse is that it has never worked. Your trying to find an absolute universal solution to situations where no such solutions exist.

    Frankly I think people here expect alot more from you Gene.

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  37. If internal combustion engines are working, why do we constantly update, correct, change, fix and argue about them?

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