Paul Krugman has been awfully lathered up lately. His fulminating resentment of conservatives for causing all the world’s ills (and worse, for disregarding his Olympian sagacity) has gotten downright pyretic, and in his twice-weekly tirades he seems — due, no doubt, to the July heat — increasingly indifferent to the need to clothe his recriminations in fact.
He was in fine form in his latest revilement, which appeared in yesterday’s paper, announcing that, among other things, the “Climategate” revelations had been “unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action.”
I have no idea what he could possibly be thinking, as this is simply not so, and was all set to upbraid him for it in these pages, when I saw that James Taranto had beaten me to it in today’s Best of the Web. We read:
Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman delivers the good news that 2010 is “the year in which all hope of action to limit climate change died.” Needless to say, he thinks this is bad news, but that’s not why we’re highlighting his column in yesterday’s New York Times. Instead, it is for this passage:
You’ve probably heard about the accusations leveled against climate researchers–allegations of fabricated data, the supposedly damning e-mail messages of “Climategate,” and so on. What you may not have heard, because it has received much less publicity, is that every one of these supposed scandals was eventually unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media.
Now, it would be one thing for Krugman to argue–wrongly, in our opinion–that the “supposedly damning e-mail messages of ‘Climategate’ ” were not actually damning. But no one has denied that they are genuine. Krugman’s description of them — and every other accusation “leveled against climate researchers” — as “a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action” is flatly false.
Nor is this the first time such a statement has appeared under Krugman’s byline in the pages of the Times. You may dimly recall this passage of his Aug. 17, 2009, column:
In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.
Again, a categorical statement: not “some of these stories are false” (which is probably true) or “these stories paint a misleading picture; although the British health-care system has its shortcomings, on the whole it is vastly superior to America’s” (which, as a statement of opinion, is at least defensible). If even a single scare story about Britain’s National Health Service is true, Krugman’s assertion is false.
If we were trying to mimic Krugman, we would mimic Mary McCarthy and assert: “Every word he writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’ ” But unlike us, Krugman doesn’t even have the wit to employ apophasis. Instead, he — sometimes! — includes statements in his columns that are so clumsily and obviously false as to open him to easy ridicule.
We’re grateful for the material, but we’re not so self-absorbed as to think that Krugman makes himself ridiculous merely in order to make our job easy. Why then?
Why indeed? The tone on the Left often seems to go beyond mere political opposition, to moral, and often personal, execration.
The same thought seems to have occurred to Dennis Prager, who meditated on the Left’s hatred of conservatives in a recent essay:
Of all the recent revelations to come out of JournoList, an e-mail list consisting of about 400 liberal/left journalists, perhaps the most telling is the depth of their hatred for conservatives. That these journalists would consult with one another in order to protect candidate and then President Obama and in order to hurt Republicans is unfortunate and ugly. What is jolting is the hatred of conservatives on display, as exemplified by the e-mail from a public-radio reporter expressing her wish to personally see Rush Limbaugh die a painful death — and the apparent absence of any objection from her fellow liberal journalists.
Every one of us on the right has seen this hatred. I am not referring to leftist bloggers or to anonymous comments by angry leftists on conservative blogs — such things exist on the right as well — but to mainstream, elite liberal journalists. There is simply nothing analogous among elite conservative journalists. Yes, nearly all conservatives believe that the Left is leading America to ruin. But while there is plenty of conservative anger over this fact, there is little or nothing on the right to match the Left’s hatred of conservative individuals. Would mainstream conservative journalists e-mail one another wishes that they could be present while Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi or Michael Moore died slowly and painfully of a heart attack?
As Finley Peter Dunne pointed out long ago, “politics ain’t beanbag”, and nobody expects it to be. But I can’t remember a time, not even during the Sixties, when the national mood seemed so bitterly divided.
Read the rest of Prager’s article here.