Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Is Paul Krugman Mad?

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And Sydney Blumenthal?  And Al Gore?  Bret Stephens, writing in the OpinionJournal makes a compelling case that they are, and by extension much of the political left.

I can hear the wails rising even now – “how can you say criticizing (fill in the favorite right-wing punching bag of the day) equals insanity?  Defensiveness and insecurity in discourse is another hallmark of the leftist.  For the record – this is not about criticism – it’s about behavior.

Pace Stephens:

Mr. Blumenthal, for instance, is the man who described Bill Clinton’s presidency as the most consequential, the most inspiring and the most moral of the 20th century, only possibly excepting FDR’s. Mr. Krugman spent his first couple of years as a columnist writing tirades about how the U.S. economy was on the point of Argentina-style collapse.

What makes these arguments insane–I use the word advisedly–isn’t that they don’t contain some possible germ of truth. One can argue that Mr. Clinton was a reasonably good president. And one can argue that Bush economic policy has not been a success. But you have to be insane to argue that Mr. Clinton was FDR incarnate, and you have to be insane to argue Mr. Bush has brought the U.S. to its lowest economic point since 1932. This style of hyperbole is a symptom of madness, because it displays such palpable disconnect from observable reality.

If you have to go looking for outrage, the outrage probably isn’t there. That which is truly outrageous tends to have the quality of obviousness.

So here is one aspect of this insanity: no sense of proportion. For Mr. Blumenthal, Fallujah isn’t merely like Stalingrad. It may as well be Stalingrad, just as Guantanamo may as well be Lefertovo and Abu Ghraib may as well be Buchenwald, and Mr. Bush may as well be Hitler and Hoover combined, and Iraq may as well be Vietnam and Bill Clinton may as well be Franklin Roosevelt.

It used to be that people just thought they were Napoleon.

I see this myself in Massachusetts quite a bit.  The idea that “Bush lied, people died,” or that Ashcroft has “suppressed” free speech, or that America is becoming a “fascist” state under Bush are commonly believed here in the Commonwealth.  I watched the anti-war marches down St. James Avenue and saw the people carrying signs saying “Bush = Hitler.” That none of it has the slightest relation to reality is not important.

Stephens again:

The absence of proportion stems, in turn, from a problem of perspective. If you have no idea where you stand in relation to certain objects, then an elephant may seem as small as a fly and a fly may seem as large as an elephant. Similarly, Mr. Blumenthal can compare the American detention infrastructure to the Gulag archipelago only if he has no concept of the actual size of things. And he can have no concept of the size of things because he neither knows enough about them nor where he stands in relation to them. What is the vantage point from which Mr. Blumenthal observes the world? It is one where Fallujah is “Stalingrad-like.” How does one manage to see the world this way? By standing too close to Fallujah and too far from Stalingrad. By being consumed by the present. By losing not just the sense, but the possibility, of judgment.

This nails it, and sums up a great deal of leftie psyche.  It is axiomatic on the left, that George Orwell’s 1984 is about the political right. Clearly, anyone who believes that has either never read the book, or is delusional.  1984 is about the tyranny of the left, and the total disconnect from reality which the moral certainty of self-righteousness brings.  This is why deeds are unimportant.  This is why talking the talk is infinitely more important … nah, why bother?  Walking the walk doesn’t signify at all.  It is all about thinking correct thoughts and speaking correct speech.  If reality and history differ from the prescribed requirements, then they are altered to fit the pseudo-reality of the received dialectic. 

I don’t know if Krugman or Blumenthal are insane (I’m actually pretty sure about Gore), but I do know this:  they and the left are living in Oceania – not because Big Brother put them there, but because they took up residence all by themselves.

Written by martinipundit

June 23, 2004 at 11:13 pm

Posted in Liberals/Lefties/Progressives, MSM

Tagged with ,

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