Thursday, January 13, 2011

Paul Krugman - the Joe McCarthy of Our Times

John Steele Gordon at Commentary magazine posted a piece yesterday calling Paul Krugman the "Joe McCarthy of our times." I find this not a little ironic, though not in the sense of necessarily disagreeing with Gordon.

Joe McCarthy was a very bad man but the threat he was focused on -- communism -- was real and serious in the 1950s. The Soviet Union during that time was expansive, hostile, and actively engaged in many operations aimed at undermining and then destroying the US. I think few alive today have a sound understanding of how serious the threat from the USSR was in the 1950s.

McCarthy's response to that threat and the use he made of it was reprehensible in the extreme, easily approaching the level of the Soviet threat itself, had he not been stopped. But McCarthy's dangerous activities do not diminish that threat.

In contrast, the threats Krugman opposes are the opposite of those McCarthy claimed to have opposed; he is in fact on the other side of the argument. Krugman is not, to the best of my knowledge, a communist, but neither was Stalin. Stalin was a totalitarian and that is what Krugman is.

I find it ironic the "Joe McCarthy of our times" is in essence the very thing Joe McCarthy was warning us about.

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