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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Krugman Paradox

Paul Krugman

Well, the expected Krugman backlash is here. We shall see where on its arc, this Monday evening on the day after, we find ourselves. Whether it shall be a minor kerfluffle or will have a lasting impact on the economist's career.

I mean, having a neocon war criminal like Donald Rumsfeld cancel his NY Times subscription should hardly give anyone the vapors.

What Paul Krugman has created is a paradox for his critics. In writing about the U.S. response to the September attacks, he said:
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

The reaction to his column is ironically mirroring the reaction he attempts to skewer here. If they had wanted to prove him wrong, they would have solemnly acknowledged his main point, thereby mitigating, or outright absolving these war apologists of the shame that they so should clearly own. Those who say, yes, Paul Krugman is right, are at the front of the very healing of our national shame.

If they were the majority, then Paul Krugman would, indeed, have been wrong in his 9/11 missive. But they aren't. Instead of declaring that we, indeed, felt shame for the havoc we have wrought - and therefore, paradoxically, could now claim some pride in having that shame, we aren't.

Even if Paul Krugman were proved to be wrong in this way, I still think it would be, paradoxically, right for him to have said it.

Because today, we would be having the sort of discussion about this aspect of the U.S. response to those September attacks that we so sorely need. Even if, on this day after, we were all lamenting that Paul Krugman is so very, very thickheaded about our national character. But we aren't doing that, are we?

Thank you, Paul.


  1. You and Paul rock Petro. The whole 9/11 memorial is a joke compared to Pearl Harbor, which no one commemorates (even in 1951). We've given up essential liberties for a little safety and saddled ourselves with a bloated military and spy bureaucracy which will eventually bankrupt us.

  2. Hey, thanks, eclecticdog (and thanks for swinging over to my place.)

    Judging from the comments in Ungar's Mother Jones piece, there's seems to be quite a few people who indeed "get it."

    (Thanks, Rogue Columnist for that link. Saw your pithy observation on that as well :), eclecticdog.)

  3. Oops, it was Greg Sargent's piece - Ungar was the main punching bag in the comments thread, tho'.


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