‘Puter is currently driving, otherwise, I’m sure he’d take a shot at responding to his not-so-favorite NY Times columnist, Paul Krugman’s latest opinion piece. First, kudos to the NY Times for recognizing this as an opinion piece and not placing it elsewhere in the paper.
Krugman’s piece is filled with biased, generalized, and hypocritical trash that I think I need to pull on my waders to make my way through it. He starts with the following premise:
…it offers a window into a reality few people, certainly in the news media, are willing to acknowledge: the bad faith that pervades conservative discourse.
if you’re looking for systematic gaslighting, insistence that up is down and black is white, you’ll find it disproportionately on one side of the political spectrum
Is Krugman really saying that few people at MSNBC, CNN, etc. haven’t reported that conservatives debate issues in bad faith? I think many of my liberal friends would, at least, tweak this statement to say that Fox News doesn’t acknowledge it, but the rest do in varying degrees. Of course, this argument is complete hypocrisy, illustrated by my favorite “bad faith” examples:
- The way the PP-ACA bill was constructed and passed by the democrats to include closed door meetings with special interest groups, promises that “you can keep your doctor if you like your doctor”, and the whole it’s-a-tax-not-a-tax deal. And, in a completely not-bad-faith move, we have democrats airing TV commercials in 2011 depicting Paul Ryan pushing a elderly person over a cliff.
- In 2007, Nancy Pelosi, upon being sworn in as the Speaker of the House, stated that the democrats will lead the “most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history” – I think many will agree that this was not the case…and never the subject of a Krugman opinion piece.
He continues his piece by focusing on an issue with a Stanford professor:
And the same kind of bad faith can be seen in other arenas — very much including college campuses. Which brings me back to the Stanford story. [Professor] Ferguson is, as it happens, one of those conservative intellectuals who hyperventilate about the supposed threat campus activists pose to free speech
Let’s get some facts and anecdotes out there to set the stage:
- In a review of voter registrations at the top 40 U.S. universities, democrat faculty members outnumber republican ones 23 to 2. According to 25 years worth of data cited in this article, it is as high as 28 to 1 in New England.
- According to Neil Gross in the LA Times: “Do liberals predominate on faculties? They do. Back in 2006, sociologist Solon Simmons and I conducted a national survey of professors’ politics. Advocates of reform such as psychologist Jonathan Haidt, political scientists Jon Shields and Joshua Dunn, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof have used our findings to characterize college campuses as bastions of progressivism.”
- “Ben” in the article from the first bullet describes his experience in college: “I think it’s a shame,” he tells me. “A lot of people have negative preconceived notions about conservatives…we’re intolerant, racist, homophobic.”
- In 2016, the Yale Daily News, Yale University’s student publication, reports that nearly 75 percent of Yale’s student body believes the campus community is an unwelcome environment for conservative opinions.
- In 2015, the Harvard Crimson reported that many conservative students at Harvard feel that their political opinions were unwelcome and disrespected. The College Fix, too, reported recently that a Columbia student believed he would be “physically assaulted” if he wore clothes with conservative images or slogans.
Maybe Mr. Krugman is trying to have a nuanced definition of “threat[s]…to free speech” by which I mean he thinks that the opportunity exists for free speech and nothing that the majority (or super-majority) liberals in the school are doing would limit a conservative’s speech. I think the above examples highlight the atmosphere, but we can look at some concrete examples of how universities have handled “free speech”:
- Melissa Click, an assistant professor was fired after assaulting a student journalist trying to cover a protest. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported: “Everything she has come to stand for since the video came out — intolerance, anger, mouthiness, and dismissiveness — is exactly the opposite of who she says she really is. Focusing on her behavior, she says, is a way to take attention away from the demands of Concerned Student 1950, the group of protesters.”
- At Los Angeles Pierce College, a student was attempting to distribute copies of the U.S. Constitution and recruit new members for their Young Americans for Liberty chapter when he was approached by a Pierce administrator who told him that “literature” could not be distributed outside the designated free speech zone. This sanctioned area for freedom of expression consisted of a tiny plot of land measuring approximately 616 square feet and comprising about .003 percent of the total area of Pierce College’s 426-acre campus.
- According to this WaPo piece, “A fifth of undergrads now say it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful statements.” and “Astonishingly, half said that snuffing out upsetting speech — rather than, presumably, rebutting or even ignoring it — would be appropriate. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to find this response acceptable (62 percent to 39 percent), and men were more likely than women (57 percent to 47 percent).”
Dovetailing of that last quote, Krugman drops this nugget without any sort of substantiation:
But more to the point, conservative claims to be defending free speech and open discussion aren’t sincere. Conservatives don’t want to see ideas evaluated on their merits, regardless of politics; they want ideas convenient to their side to receive (at least) equal time regardless of their intellectual quality.
I think this is patently false. In fact, one could argue that many “conservative” ideas haven’t been tried, let alone evaluated on their merits by liberals. And one could argue just the reverse: liberals don’t want to evaluate ideas like serious welfare program reform such as means-testing Social Security or limiting the reach of the PP-ACA. There are countless examples of Sen Harry Reid blocking republican ideas during the PP-ACA passage from even coming to a vote.
Mr. Krugman’s closing line goes as follows:
So you need to remember that this claim is made in bad faith. It has nothing to do with fairness; it’s all about power.
So now consider the facts presented above and the insinuation that Krugman is making: conservatives are pushing for college campus reforms and more conservative voices in the faculty in order to gain power. Right? Focus on that. Now ask the following: who is currently “in power” then according to Krugman’s perspective? Liberals. So following his own logic, however subtly presented, Krugman is fighting for liberals to retain “power” on college campuses.
Krugman is nothing more than a liberal with failed ideas and prognostications (check the economy now) that has Trump Derangement Syndrome. GorT is no fan of Donald Trump, wanted a different GOP candidate, and thinks Trump’s approach could be different. But it has been effective against liberals like Krugman. I’m not arguing for 100% equality in political identification in schools, and other fields. I’m just pointing out the glaring hypocrisy and alternate reality in which a liberal like Paul Krugman lives.