Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Methinks thou doth protest too much

Bob Murphy thinks I deserved my own entry in Noah Smith's bestiary...

...hmmm. I'm not the one that has a whole post series, set of you tube videos, and charity drive solely dedicated to trolling Paul Krugman, Bob!

It's true, I agree with Krugman often. I also disagree with Krugman (including in the comment sections of one of Bob's more recent Krugman posts where I claim that he makes a bad analogy between the Broken Window and the iPhone, which puts me in the company of that great Krugman-lover Robert Wenzel).

Surely agreeing with Krugman and putting forth arguments to that effect doesn't amount to "trolling", particularly since the only comment sections I regularly participate in these days are Bob's and my own (and occasionally I get in a tussle at Coordination Problem).

No, I don't think that's trolling.

Having a blog dedicated to arguing with Krugman? That's trolling.

Exposing yourself on youtube to try to get Krugman to argue (err... debate) with you? That's trolling (although it is a bit of trolling that I'd personally like to see come to fruition).

It is a very weird state of affairs when (for many people) calling Krugman an economically illiterate partisan hack is "engaging in honest discourse" and me raising the point that he's a decent economist that makes good points is "trolling".

Krugman fans may be a type of troll that plagues other blogospheres... maybe right or left wing political blogospheres. They are not a phenomena in the econ blogosphere. Krugman haters, though...


  1. I was already represented in the bestiary at least twice, possibly three times. And most people don't know they are trolls.

  2. Also Daniel, I said in that link that Noah Smith shouldn't have put in a pro-Krugman troll in his bestiary, because there really wasn't such a thing except Daniel Kuehn, and it would have been weird to just list you as a separate category.

    You described this situation as "Bob Murphy thinks I deserved my own entry in Noah Smith's bestiary..."

    This is what a troll does, isn't it?

    (I'm mostly kidding, though it is true that this entire post is based on the opposite of what I said.)

    1. Very true.

      I should have made clear that you only think I'm a troll, not Krugman fans generally.

      True - this post is something of a troll in itself (or is it a response to a troll?). But it's really trolling you (if it even is one), not a Krugman adoration troll.

      This is the other thing about trolling. One person's measured response to a troll is considered a troll by the troll (who thinks he's providing a measured response).

      Still, I'm not willing to grant complete symmetry here.

      If I say a celebrated economist says something right about economics, and explain why, it seems quite different from someone who says that a celebrated economist is an ideologue that botches economics.


      I would gladly apply that paragraph to the way people talk about Hayek as well. Knee-jerk Hayek-haters are their own brand of troll.

      I do not think people who defend Hayek in comment sections are Hayek-fanboy-trolls.

  3. "Having a blog dedicated to arguing with Krugman? That's trolling"

    Let me spam you with some Mises...

    "We call contentment or satisfaction that state of a human being which does not and cannot result in any action. Acting man is eager to substitute a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory. His mind imagines conditions which suit him better, and his action aims at bringing about this desired state. The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness. A man perfectly content with the state of his affairs would have no incentive to change things. He would have neither wishes nor desires; he would be perfectly happy. He would not act; he would simply live free from care."

  4. Not that anyone cares at this point, but it should be "thou dost". "Doth" goeth with the third person singular.


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