Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Broad Smear Brush of Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman, not surprisingly, has taken the dishonest attack by Representative William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) on Tom DiLorenzo and used it to smear anyone who doesn't support the Paul Krugman/Ben Bernanke view of the world.  And I mean anyone.

Bill Anderson does yeoman's work on explaining the attack on DiLorenzo, the Mises Institute and Ron Paul, here.

But Krugman ends his smear post with this curious sentence:
I presume that Amity Shlaes is already working on her Lincoln assessment, The Even More Forgotten Man.
What's this all about? Well, first it puts the nail in the coffin that Krugman wants to smear anyone he can with Clay's dishonest attack. To associate Shlaes in any way with DiLorenzo or the Mises Institute is as  bizarre, as it is dishonest.

There's a positive review of Shlaes book, The Forgotten Man, at the Mises web site, and there is a mention by a Mises blogger that he spoke to Shlaes at a book signing (Now there's a deep connection between MI and Shlaes!). Beyond the book review and a blogger attending a Shlaes book signing, there's no mention of Shlaes on the MI web site.

Krugman's smear logic here is that DiLorenzo, because he is associated with MI and has done revisionist history work on Lincoln, he is somehow connected to Shlaes, since she wrote the book, The Forgotten Man, which is about the Great Depression and suggests that FDR policies were terribly failed policies.

To Krugman, if you think FDR policies were failed policies (as does the Mises Institute), then you are part of the MI circle.

How's that for a tight connection?

In truth, as far as I know, and I know the Mises group fairly well, I don't think any of them know Shlaes personally. And, there is probably a good part of the group that don't know her work at all. So why is Krugman making the broad swipe to link Shlaes to the dishonest Clay attack, when the linking is absolutely absurd?

It's because Shlaes is a member of a group that Krugman is very much concerned about keeping in line with the Ben Bernanke view of the world. Shlaes is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. What's more, she is starting to have an impact at the CFR with her positive view of Hayek and Mises. That's a major problem for Krugman and his former Princeton colleague Bernnake.

Just recently, maybe a week or two ago, I talked to a very senior person at the CFR who brought the name Shlaes up to me. This person mentioned Shlaes positive views on Hayek. Further, Shlaes was described to me as, "a serious scholar." In other words, she's having impact, and Krugman is desperate to stop it, regardless of what absurd smears he needs to use.

Bill Anderson is absolutely correct:
Don't kid yourselves about what Krugman is doing.
Krugman's insane link of Shlaes to the absurd attack by Clay on DiLorenzo is proof of that.

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