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Greg Mankiw is rightly exasperated with Paul Krugman’s propensity to write columns that “[take] a policy favored by the right, [attribute] the most vile motives to those who advance the policy, and [ignore] all the reasonable arguments in favor of it.” There are two possible reasons why Krugman likes doing this kind of thing:
- Krugman actually believes that the most vile motives should be attributed to people who advance policies that he doesn’t like, which indicates that Krugman is epistemically closed off from competing theories and beliefs; or
- Krugman knows that he is engaging in rhetorical excess, but does it anyway because rhetorical excess is what his fan base wants, and they love him for providing it on a regular basis.
Neither scenario makes Krugman look good. And neither scenario makes the New York Times look good for giving him a platform and refusing to check his worst impulses.