10 May 2013

Clive Crook on DeLong

DeLong, Humor 17 Comments

I don’t care so much about the actual argument they are having (over Krugman, no less), but I thought this was funny from Clive Crook (HT2 Scott Sumner):

Brad DeLong has commented on my beef with Paul Krugman. I’m reluctant to engage, to be honest, because his post exemplifies the intemperance I’m addressing. Once an admirer, I gave up on his commentary a long time ago. You get a sense of the problem from his post about me. He illustrates it with a picture of a clown. He also wants me fired. “Bloomberg has some house-cleaning to do,” he says — charming, and from a tenured academic, to boot.

DeLong’s fine under the supervision of a competent adult, as here (an excellent paper, which I praised at the time). But as an unattended blogger he regresses to intellectual adolescence, light on thinking and exhaustingly heavy on peevish belligerence. Not just uncivil, he actually disapproves of civility — today, as you see, I’m trying to meet him halfway.

17 Responses to “Clive Crook on DeLong”

  1. Major_Freedom says:

    Wow, talk about a comment cesspool under Crook’s article.

  2. The Existential Christian says:

    That sounds like a pretty fair description of DeLong to me.

  3. Yancey Ward says:

    I have always had the impression of both DeLong and Krugman as exceedingly bright children who were relentlessly bullied, and who have nurtured those resentments their entire lives.

  4. Joseph Fetz says:

    Yep, sounds about right.

  5. John says:

    I’m troubled by the following: Crook wrote a perfectly nicely toned piece that accused Krugman of politicizing the question of whether there ought to be stimulus in 2009. Brad De Long wrote a rather nasty piece observing that Crook’s article, despite its tone, was obviously untrue. Crook did not attempt to defend his original claim, but instead now argues that a piece Krugman wrote in 2010, which is about how to negotiate with very conservative Republicans, somehow justifies Crook’s original claim. I don’t think there’s much doubt that calling names does not advance the debate very much, and that seems like a fair criticism to me, and one you could level at both De Long and Krugman. But writing things that just aren’t true doesn’t advance things much either, and refusing to admit you were wrong is even worse.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      Weird, I thought that quote from 2010 sort of proved Crook’s point.

      • Bob Murphy says:

        MF, not sure if you’re just being sarcastic, but the claim is that Crook said Krugman politicized the initial stimulus debate, and DeLong went through every post of Krugman from January 2009 on the stimulus. Since Crook had to go to 2010 for his example, the idea is that Crook couldn’t find anything earlier, so at best Krugman politicized the debate over whether to RENEW the stimulus.

        • Ken B says:

          Good point Bob. I do not know if DeLong linked to all the Krugman posts, but I read 2 of them. The January 19 2009 post is overtly political and also includes some allusions to even more rancorous debates with code words. I recall Krugman attacking supporters of the Bush cuts prior to 2009, not always politely, and that is part of the context too.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          I’m not being sarcastic.

          The “claim” I get from Crook can be summarized in what Crook said in this paragraph:

          “Krugman says his opponents are motivated by politics. “Am I (and others on my side of the issue) that much smarter than everyone else? No. The key to understanding this is that the anti-Keynesian position is, in essence, political. It’s driven by hostility to active government policy and, in many cases, hostility to any intellectual approach that might make room for government policy.”

          “Talk about lack of self-awareness. Does Krugman imagine that he isn’t motivated by politics? His own views are equally driven by support for active government policy; in many cases, they are also driven by support for any intellectual approach that might make room for such government policy. Like any politician, he expresses certainty where he knows there is doubt. He’s more than happy to simplify and exaggerate as the cause demands.”

          Don’t you yourself make this exact point over and over again?

          Where are you getting the notion that Crook’s article is nothing but a complaint about Krugman’s politicization of the 2009 stimulus? I get Crook to be making a more universal argument on Krugman’s method.

          • Ken B says:

            Bob is noting that is John’s argument.

            • Major_Freedom says:

              But John’s argument isn’t applicable to why DeLong got huffy at Crook for saying Krugman politicizes despite him accusing “the other side” of politicizing while he himself allegedly does not.

              John’s claim that Crook’s argument concerns only the 2009 stimulus, I think misses the mark. Crook’s point is more general. A type of “Kontradiction” post.

              The fact that he pointed to a 2010 article was to just show DeLong that yes, Krugman does politicize. Inferring from this that Crook couldn’t go any sooner, which somehow proves DeLong’s response as valid, is a double midsunderstanding.

              • Ken B says:

                I agree his point is too narrow, like aside from that Mrs Lincoln how did you like the play. I’m just clarifying Bob’s point.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                I’m not sure “the claim” Murphy referred to was John’s. It doesn’t make much sense that way.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                I wasn’t saying it was a great point, but Ken B. is right, MF, I was saying that the claim of the people responding to Crook, is that he originally said the stimulus debate, and so they want a smoking gun from Krugman when the stimulus was first proposed. In that context, then, Crook going to 2010 for a quote shows that his original claim was incorrect.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                I think I know what is going on. I was looking at a different Crook article, one that didn’t say anything about “the” stimulus.

                My bad.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                I got confused because the May 6th article is titled “A little more on Krugman”, and the May 9th article is titled “Krugman, DeLong and Radical Centrism.”

                I reversed them.

                No valid excuses though.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                No problem. And I just feel funny taking the side of “Crook.”

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