And at first in this conversation I got the impression he just didn't know what he was talking about. He was acting as if I had been arguing that low interest rates indicate a loose monetary stance, which of course they don't (if anyone doesn't understand why, please let me know). After a lot of back and forth I realized he is not dense... he's just a Sumnerian. And Sumnerians talk funny and it leads them to make these wild claims about Keynesians and Wicksellians generally that don't make much sense unless you assume that Keynesians and Wicksellians are speaking Sumner's language (which of course they aren't).
Anyway, I can't be the only one that's come across this sort of thing from Sumnerians, so I thought you might be interested in my penultimate response to him:
"You've gone around and around on this enough that it's clear you're coming from Sumner's perspective. If that's the case then you need to understand that most of this is semantics and you shouldn't be running around accusing people of not understanding that the level of interest rates is not the same thing as the tightness or looseness of policy.
Some people do genuinely make this mistake. Evan [Soltas] doesn't and I don't, but I bet you fifty bucks the Wikipedia page on "monetary policy" does. So it goes.
Now, if we set those people aside for a second there are two groups of people: most people who think in Wicksellian terms, and a small amount of people who think in Sumnerian terms.
The Wicksellians say that what determines the stance of monetary policy is the relation of the interest rate to the natural rate. You can have situations like right now where the interest rate is quite low, but it's high relative to the natural rate and so monetary policy is tight. We would like to have looser policy to close the gaping output gap.
Then there is this small cadre of Sumnerians who mash up the Wicksellian point with the NGDP point. This, I think, is a bizarre way to talk about things particularly if the degree of efficacy of monetary policy is an open question. It amounts to determining whether we've taken an action based on whether that action was successful, which is pretty stupid IMO.
If you want to make the case for talking like this, fine. But don't accuse a Wicksellian of not understanding that interest rates alone can indicate the stance of monetary policy. It makes you look like you don't understand the nature of the conversation."