Paul Krugman, The Anti-Haidt

I don’t bother with New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman here, for the most part. He constantly discredits himself by intentionally misleading his gullible readers, hiding the ball, engaging in deceit as an advocacy tool, over-stating and hyping and generally bolstering his progressive opinions with a nauseating combination of intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy and condescension. I have no patience with such columnists, or any publication that inflicts them on its readers.

A parallel in the sportswriting field is the much lionized Thomas Boswell, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who writes for the Washington Post. Boswell has written several books, and is regarded by many as a deep thinker about baseball. (My wife and I once were friends with a couple that socialized with the Boswells, and invited us to join the four of them for an evening. I told them that I could not stomach being in the same room with the guy.)  Many years ago, Boswell was writing about the individual talents of the Boston Red Sox, a topic I know at least as much about as he does. In assessing then-Sox catcher Jason Varitek, Boswell noted that “Tek” led the league in passed balls, leaving the impression that this demonstrated a serious flaw in his catching abilities. But I knew, and more importantly Boswell knew, that the Red Sox  had a regular rotation starting pitcher, Tim Wakefield, who was a knuckleballer, and was the only starting pitcher in the league who threw that confounding pitch.  If a catcher regularly catches a knuckleball pitcher, he leads the league in passed balls, usually by a large margin. Always. It has nothing to do with how good a catcher he is, and Varitek was a very good catcher. Yet Boswell deliberately cited the statistic without explaining to his readers what it meant in Vartitek’s case. He did this because he was trying to argue that Boston had defensive problems. This is unethical advocacy, and unethical journalism.

After that, I only read Boswell’s columns to document his dishonesty. I was never disappointed. He’s a cheat, relying on the ignorance of his audience to deceive them.

Paul Krugman is like that. After I posted the quote from Jonathan Haidt’s speech in which the professor perfectly described the ideology-driven betrayal of the culture and our democracy by institutions of higher education, I recalled a recent Krugman piece in the Times that I had instantly dismissed as classic deceit. One passage was literally the anti-matter version of Haidt’s hard truth regarding the rot in our colleges, a deliberate lie that denied the existence of the problem in order to further Krugman’s perpetual attack on Republicans and conservatives.


Even as old prejudices return, we’ve clearly entered a new age of politically potent anti-intellectualism. America built its world pre-eminence largely on the strength of its educational system. But according to Pew, 58 percent of Republicans now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, versus only 36 percent who see a positive effect.

And I don’t believe for a minute that this turn against education is a reaction to political correctness. It’s about the nasty habit scholarship has of telling you things you don’t want to hear, like the fact that climate change is real.

I honestly don’t know how even the most biased Times reader could read this junk without thinking, “What an asshole!”

1. So accurately criticizing colleges and universities for doing a miserable job while charging students a fortune makes one “anti-intellectual,” does it? Today’s college students graduate infantilized, marinated in identity politics,  under-informed, and indoctrinated in socialist and anti-American propaganda. College campuses are hostile to free speech, diversity of ideas, and due process. Harvard is being sued for discriminating on the basis of race, against Asian-Americans, and it is the tip of an ugly iceberg.  Dozens of schools divert scarce funds to sports programs in which coaches are paid more than any professor. Most college students graduate with minimal knowledge of U.S. history, a dearth of instruction in Western Civilization, pathetic writing and reasoning skills, and no ethics training at all.  For this, an outrageous proportion of them enter the workforce with crippling debt. Meanwhile, lowered standards of admission, affirmative action, diminished rigor in the classroom, useless course options and grade inflation have rendered college degrees nearly meaningless as genuine credentials.

I think Krugman knows all this, too.

2. Only 58 percent of Republicans now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country? Wow, Republicans really are ignorant! 100% of Republicans should know colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, because rather than teaching our rising generations how to think, they teach them what to think. Democrats don’t acknowledge the negative effects because the students are being indoctrinated to think like them.

3. Then Krugman stoops to the most transparent straw man he can find. Right, concerns about higher education are just about “political correctness,” that’s all. That’s what American with their eyes open object to about higher education, colleges declaring certain words taboo and the campus hostility to conservative positions. Political correctness is one consequence among many of the conditions I just listed.

4. No, Paul, it’s about the nasty habit biased and hyped scholarship has of demanding that students capitulate to partisan and ideological positions and accept propaganda as truth. A college should give students the skills and tools to examine, say, Al Gore climate-change agitprop, and critique it, not bow down to it.

Again, Krugman knows what he is doing. He’s very smart, well-read and  informed. He knows that “climate change is real” is a misleading and simple-minded reduction of the legitimate skepticism about the new progressive religion and proposed policies regarding it. OK, it’s real. Now what? How significant is it? How predictable? What will be the effects, and when will they occur? Are the proposed policies practical? Affordable? What are the alternatives? “Climate change is real” isn’t education, it’s a protest sign. It’s about the level of enlightenment students can count on for their five figures a year, too, and Krugman says that expressing criticism indicates a rejection of scholarship.

What an asshole.

24 thoughts on “Paul Krugman, The Anti-Haidt

  1. ”It’s about the nasty habit scholarship has of telling you things you don’t want to hear, like the fact that climate change is real. (bolds mine)

    Mercifully, it hasn’t compromised his inclination to live like a Pharaoh.

    See any solar panels?

  2. This great article from the Manhattan Contrarian explains the root cause of the problems in the American academy right now: Affirmative Action.

    Placing kids who can’t compete in prestigious schools is causing them to fail. Rather than try to help them compete, the schools are lowering their standards to make them feel better. As a result, everybody loses, but hey, black lives matter.

    • You are actually wrong about them failing. There was a great series of articles on MLive about this. What do you do when you have affirmative action admits with ACT scores of 22 and the mean ACT of the students at the school is 30? Well, a 22 ACT is probably not going to do well. You can say “they can just work harder”, but that is insulting the 30 ACT students (by suggesting THEY don’t work hard). You can’t fail the 22 ACT students or you will be accused of racism. So, you create special majors just for them. Let’s call them African-American Studies, Wymyn’s Studies, Latino Studies, etc. The other students won’t take those classes because political correctness will tell them they aren’t allowed and those majors have no employment opportunities. The major will spend the whole time telling the students that all of society is biased against them. When the students graduate and they find that they have $100,000 in student loan debt and no one will hire a African-American Studies major with a 1.6 GPA, the students won’t blame the school, they will blame institutional racism.

      • Sure sounds like failing to me, MR. But yes, they are shunted off into dead end majors. Which end up creating faculty positions that must be filled by minority candidates. Then those profs in those intellectual ghettos complain they are disrespected by the dean of the faculty or the board of trustees and they proceed to shake them down for more deans of diversity and special programs and the administrations kow tow to them.

        • ” they are shunted off into dead end majors.”

          Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t do either, Lefty Activism. Too much of a moron for Lefty Activism? Commodify your…um…identity, weepily identify your rungs on the Grievance Ladder, and pursue the Diversity Leviathan.

          If you think THAT ain’t the place to be, guess again!

          Glenn Harlan Reynolds (“The Higher Education Bubble.”) fleshes it out a tad.

          “Even as the once-mighty University of California system slashes programs and raises tuition, it has created a new systemwide ‘vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.’

          “This is on top of the already enormous University of California diversity machine, which, as Heather Mac Donald notes, ‘includes (but likely isn’t limited to):

          *the Chancellor’s Diversity Office,
          *the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity,
          *the assistant vice chancellor for diversity,
          *the faculty equity advisors,
          *the graduate diversity coordinators,
          *the staff diversity liaison,
          *the undergraduate student diversity liaison,
          *the graduate student diversity liaison,
          *the chief diversity officer,
          *the director of development for diversity initiatives,
          *the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity,
          *the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues,
          *the Committee on the Status of Women,
          *the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion,
          *the Diversity Council,
          *the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center,
          *the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and,
          * the Women’s Center.”

          “While the UC system loses top cancer researchers to Rice University, it is creating new chaired professorships in, you guessed it, diversity studies.

          “Likewise, in North Carolina, UNC-Wilmington is combining the physics and geology departments to save money while diverting more funding to campus diversity offices.”

          Oy; we’ve gone from bad to diverse!

          • UC system headed by… wait for it… lesbian princess…Janet Napolitano of the Philly Democratic machine (her father) via, of all places, Phoenix, Arizona and Lewis and Roca and John (“Miranda Warnings” Frank). Ugh.

            • God, that list of UC people is horrifying. Even Leland Stanford and all the SoCal/Union 76 barons must be spinning in their graves.

      • Michael, you and Other Bill have managed to articulate what I have been trying to say, unsuccessfully, for months. Colleges and Universities USED to teach people how to make a living, in a chosen field, after graduation. And they did so without putting them in crippling debt. My largest student loan at the University of Texas was for $340, which I paid out of my next Veterans Benefits check, or out of my first pay-check, as I was working for UT as a projectionist. On the other hand, I got an undergraduate degree in Psychology and was working towards a Doctorate in Educational Psychology. I was living with my grandmother, did not throw wild weekend parties in my student-loan paid-for apartment, and found time to develop a serious relationship with my now-ex-wife. My goal, established early, was to become a practicing psychologist, which I achieved. I also managed to earn a graduate degree in an employable field with $0 in debt (well, not entirely…I bought a car along the way). So, I’m back to my original stance…if all you want to be is an activist, unemployed and unemployable, then you don’t get a student loan. And you probably shouldn’t go to college. You don’t have to go into debt to learn how to smash windows and set fires…and threaten people. My student loans, four of them, all came from Financial Aid at UT…NONE came from a private lender and NONE were government backed. And it just occurred to me that there is both our problem and the solution. Get the Fed totally out of the educational system, from grade school to Ph.D. No guaranteed student loans, and I will bet you that “Underwater Basketweaving”, Black Studies, ‘Wymyns’ Studies, etcetera will disappear as if by magic. And we might even find “Brake Mechanic”, “Diesel Mechanic” and “General Mechanic” coming back into the curriculum.

        • A truck dealer client explained to me probably twenty or so years ago that mechanics are no longer mechanics, d-d, they are “technicians.” Hah. And good for them. At least they have a valuable skill and keep truckers on the road delivering stuff from China to the local Walmart.

        • You are forgetting one of the other big problems, athletics. It seems that athletics account for about 1/3 of college costs at many schools. The average cost of college is $20,000/year. The average student takes out $7000/year in student loans. You generally take out loans LAST, after you can’t pay any more. Therefore, on average, the student loans are only paying for college athletics. A $1.4 trillion student loan debt to pay for sports. Of course, this is a simplistic argument, but it has some validity. It does means that if we got rid of college athletics, we could get rid of the need for student loans at most institutions. Although some students take out no loans and other students take out a lot of loans, most colleges discount tuition based on income and need. Basically, if you got rid of athletics, the listed tuition would stay the same, but people would get more need-based ‘scholarships’ (discounted tuition).

  3. What an asshole Krugman is. Yea, verily. I never read his stuff. He’s turning into an honest to God lunatic. Look at those eyes. d-d, or John Billingsley: wouldn’t a patient presenting with those eyes at his age raise some red flags? Incipient mania?

    • I haven’t examined him, therefore the Goldwater rule prohibits me from speculating as to a possible diagnosis. I will say that his photo, especially the eyes and impish smile, reminded me of someone else who was in the news recently.

      • Let’s be honest: he looks like I imagine Satan would look when he comes up to bargain for souls. He comes off as so odious when he’s been on TV panels that they seldom ask him any more.

        • An EA blogger died and arrived before St. Peter, who explained, “We have this little policy of allowing you to choose whether you want to spend eternity in heaven or in hell.”

          “How do I know which to choose?” he asked.

          “That’s easy,” said St. Peter. “you have to spend a day in each place before making a decision.”

          With that, he put the blogger on an elevator and sent him down to hell.
          The elevator doors opened and he found himself in a sunny garden, where many former friends and colleagues warmly greeted him. He had a great time all day laughing and talking about old times. That night, he had an excellent supper in a fantastic restaurant. He even met the CEO, named Krugman, who turned out to be a pretty nice guy.

          Before he knew it, his day in hell was over and he returned to heaven.
          The day in heaven was okay. He lounged around on clouds, sang, and played the harp. At the end of the day, St. Peter came and asked for him decision.

          “Well, heaven was great and all,” the blogger said, “but I had a better time in hell. I know it sounds strange, but I choose hell.”

          With that, he got in the elevator and went back down. When the doors opened, he saw a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and filth.
          His friends, dressed in rags, were picking up garbage and putting it in sacks.

          When Krugman walked over, he said to him, “I don’t understand. Yesterday, this place was beautiful. We had a delicious meal and a wonderful time laughing and talking.”

          Krugman smiled and said, “Yesterday we were recruiting you. Today you’re staff.

          Ba-dum-pum, don’t forget to tip yer waitress!

        • Yet the left defer to him like a god, no matter what he speaks on, because he taught at Princeton and won the Nobel Prize in economics. They also deferred to polemicist Howard Zinn before his death and still defer to lifelong academic in the field of linguistics Noam Chomsky. Those same lefties, ironically, scoff at the words and credentials of those who achieved high military rank or won awards for valor, or who graduated from Ivy League schools with better grades than their liberal opponents, or who actually built successful businesses. You see, like everything else, the value of credentials increases or diminishes depending on the politics of the holder, at least as far as the left is concerned.

          The left hang on every word of disenchanted members of the military like John Kerry, former members who go too far the other way like George Zabelka, or those who embrace their way like Colin Powell. But the words of the military conservative faithful like Tommy Franks (who rose from less than stellar beginnings to become the only US general to hold the top command in 2 successful wars) or Paul Tibbets (who maintained to his dying day that he would fly the Hiroshima mission again), they scoff at. The left emphasize the Harvard and Yale sheepskins of their best and brightest, but they sneer at similarly credentialed conservatives like GWB and Ted Cruz, because we all know no conservative gets into those seats of great learning without dad pulling strings or slipping enough payola into the system to make it happen, and once they’re there, they do nothing but party when they’re not pinching coeds on the backside (because no coed in her right mind would think a young conservative was anything other than a creep) or harassing gay classmates. The left applaud the success of the Al Gores and Hillary Clintons, who build multimillion and multibillion dollar foundations based in large part on selling access and peddling influence to the highest builder, but they turn the business successes of conservatives like Mitt Romney and Donald Trump into their indictments, portraying them as heartless plutocrats who will do anything to turn a fast buck and ruthlessly step on anyone who dares put so much as a pinky toe in their way.

          I could talk about the value of the credentials themselves being diminished by those who grant them – like the Nobel committee giving Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize before he had even done anything, essentially for not being George W. Bush, or how higher education made a murderous domestic terrorist like Bill Ayers or a convicted traitor like Chelsea Manning respected figures, but I think the point is made. The left pollutes everyone and everything it touches to the point where its value fades away and those polluted by it see bad as good and good as bad.

      • Thank you very uch John. I tried to frame my question in a manner which would allow you to steer clear of the Goldwater Rule. What a name and what a provenance. Fairly ironic, particularly after having lived in AZ since ’81 where Barry is considered one of the Founding Fathers.

        • I wasn’t old enough to vote when Goldwater ran but I did go to hear him speak in Louisville when he was running and would have voted for him. He was also a fellow ham radio operator.

          • Ham radio operator. I’d forgotten about that. An interesting guy. Scion of the Goldwater dry goods family, Jewish provisioners to the miners of Arizona. Married into a well to do Episcopal family (as did all the mercantile Jews in Phoenix) and studied the Native Americans of Arizona. Aviator and flight instructor during WWII. Neat guy. Pure Arizona and America. Despised by the left. C’est la vie.

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