Man Without Qualities

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Invasion of the Soul Snatchers

Paul Krugman has been reduced to saying people he doesn't agree with are funny animals - Rhinoceroses, actually. That's not too disturbing. Any three-year-old can do it - it would be hard to find one who didn't do it.

What is a little more disturbing is that Mr. Krugman suggests that these people, including independent and perceptive, even quirky, types like Mickey Kaus, have succumbed to "conformity and the authoritarian impluse (sic)," in Mr. Krugman's words, an impulse apparently thought by Mr. Krugman to be roaming the world, seeking the ruin of souls.

And why does he stop where he does? Why not complete his thought and assert that Mr. Kaus and such types just fell asleep at an inopportune time and succumbed to absorbtion by alien plant pods? If one feels the need to sweepingly degrade one's intellectual opponents the way Mr. Krugman does here, by suggesting they have mental processes reflective not of their own personalities but of "conformity and the authoritarian impluse (sic)," why stop at the perimeter of the animal kingdom? Bean them, Mr. Krugman!

Except for Brad and Josh, of course, since of the thousands and thousands of bloggers out there, only these two bear reading today.


Mr. Krugman also says:

"The most memorable scene is one in which the hero's friend (famously played by Zero Mostel) begins making excuses for his neighbors - maybe it's not so bad to be a rhinoceros, after all - and, as we watch, turns into a rhinoceros himself."

When he wrote this, Mr. Krugman surely was thinking about the many people who hae observed that Mr. Krugman began as a serious economist, but has now largely completed the conversion to empty polemicist.

Rhinoceros, anyone?

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