21 Aug 2014

David R. Henderson Praises Krugman on War; I Am Cynical

David R. Henderson, Krugman, Pacifism 25 Comments

Because he’s such a nice guy, David R. Henderson tries to praise Paul Krugman whenever possible. For example, David (a frequent contributor to antiwar.com) recently showered kudos on Krugman’s thoughtful essay on “Why We Fight.”

I realize I should just be glad that Krugman is at least writing a column with which I wholeheartedly agree, but, but, but…

Am I the only who finds it annoying that Krugman alludes to the Middle East aggression of the George W. Bush administration three separate times, and yet mentions Obama zero times? (The U.S. is once again bombing Iraq, remember.) Krugman also laments Putin’s bellicosity in Ukraine, without mentioning possible U.S. involvement.

This is why I adore Glenn Greenwald so much. I agree with people who say he (Greenwald) can be strident, but he actually stuck to his stated principles when officials in the Obama Administration were caught violating civil liberties in ways far worse than what Bush officials had done.

Last thing: David is awesome in the comments of this later post, on “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds. These fools are lucky they didn’t bet David $500 on the virtue of collateral damage.

25 Responses to “David R. Henderson Praises Krugman on War; I Am Cynical”

  1. Dan says:

    David R. Henderson writes,

    “it’s called “war” and y’all should be more familiar with the concept”

    Actually, I’m pretty familiar with the concept. I’ve been teaching warriors for 30 years and have written about it a lot. BTW, konshtok, I think that if the ISIS people spoke English with a southern drawl, they would, in addressing the issue of the innocent journalist killed, answer Glenn Reynolds’s outrage about the way you did. And it would not be to their credit.’


  2. Z says:

    Krugman is a robot, like all of us. His brain is programmed to think a certain way. It has no free will, it is at the mercy of the natural world around it to dictate his words or actions. Don’t be so hard on him, dear brother Murphy.

    • Major.Freedom says:

      Why bother “correcting” him then? Wouldn’t he be not wrong as a robot?

      Or is my sacrasm detector malfunctioning?

      • Z says:

        I don’t know man. I had no control over what I wrote there. Nor do I at this moment either.

        • Major.Freedom says:

          The fact you think you have no control is sufficient grounds for you to have transcended it. You would not have any clue what it would even mean to be pre-determined unless you weren’t, or at least are but you would have no way of knowing.

      • Grane Peer says:

        Sure he would be wrong but it wouldn’t be his fault it’s his programing. (you see what I’m getting at here?)

      • General.Freedom says:

        As your commander, I order you to stand down this line of questioning.

        • Major.Freedom says:

          As my own commander, no.

          • Grane Peer says:

            You will need to be promoted to Marshal.Freedom.

  3. Major.Freedom says:

    Like Piketty.

  4. Major.Freedom says:

    Anti-war leftists are not really anti-war. They are at most anti-foreign-war. Domestically they want a war of the state against homesteaders and free traders. A cold war is preferable, but they’ll support kidnapping and prison for the freedom fighting homesteaders.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      The leftists believe that the US government has magical powers to fix domestic problems. A person would only oppose the application of those powers because he hates the object of concern and does not want the problem fixed. A leftist can potentially see problems with the application of military force abroad but usually only because it’s being applied by a Republican. A Democrat, being wise and benevolent, can potentially apply the government’s magical powers properly overseas. Anyone who questions Obama’s application of force overseas is likely a racist.

      The Neocons and Republicans believe that the US government has magical powers to fix foreign problems using the military. A person would only oppose the application of those powers because he hates America and he supports and/or loves radical murderous Muslims.

  5. Ken B says:

    In those comments you praise David R Henderson also endorses the sentiment that if private US citizens want to foment, fund and fight wars in the middle east we should “get out their way.”

    • Ken A says:

      Yes, get out of my way, Ken B as I go to fight. Let the A Team handle this.

      • Ken B says:

        The implication of course is that if say an American anti-semite stocks up on Sarin and tries to go to Tel-Aviv, we shouldn’t stop him. I just think people should know this passes for sage moral wisdom around here.

        • Major.Freedom says:

          Yes, you’re here. Why continually insult yourself? Every time you denegrade or belittle “this place”, you as a frequent poster are included.

          Reminds me of that running joke/skit where the guy says he just can’t understand why all these gay men do romantic acts to him. Like they won’t leave him alone or something.

        • Razer says:

          But if a guy with a government badge does it, it’s perfectly okay. Great logic, Ken. No wonder you got booted out of here.

    • Major.Freedom says:

      You not only get out ot the way of the state doing just that, but you also believe, or is it just say?, that it shoud be a punishable crime for myself or other so-called “taxpayers” to refuse paying for it.

      Statist logic FTW.

  6. David R. Henderson says:

    Thanks, Bob, and good catch on Krugman’s difficulty in criticizing Obama. Baby steps. Really baby steps. 🙂

  7. J Mann says:

    1. Isn’t this a Krugman Kontradiction? I thought that PK believed that (1) the decrease in inquality after major wars was good, and (2) when we are at the zero lower bound, wars do in fact increase GDP.

    Yes, PK would presumably point out that more productive investments would produce even more GDP increase than a war under his model. Howver, as I understand him, if war is the only politically feasable way to massively increase spending while at the ZLB, then it’s GDP postive. Yet he doesn’t even examine whether the ZLB explains Putin’s actions in the Ukraine. Heck, if Russia and the Ukraine are both at the ZLB, then I think Krugman would predict that a war would increase BOTH nation’s GDPs!

    2. More seriously, Krugman is sloppy because he starts with the assertion that a war can’t increase a modern nation’s GDP, then leaps from that to war being irrational. A strong pacifist or libertarian would agree with Krugman’s conclusion, but his reasoning assumes that the only reason a nation might rationally go to war would be to increase GDP.

    – First of all, there might be valid reasons. For example, let’s suppose that in 1940, with German troops massing on the French border, the French were told “if you surrender to the Germans, the overall GDP in the area formerly known as ‘France’ will be higher than if you fight. I would posit that the French had motives that aren’t pacifist or strictly GDP-maximizing, but also not corrupt or irrational.

    – More generally, countries do lots of things that probably don’t increase GDP. I don’t think Krugman’s article is robust enough to tell us much about why they do them.

  8. Yancey Ward says:

    I found Krugman’s column puzzling, to say the least. Like Murphy, I agree pretty much with all of it, but based on Krugman’s past writings, the present essay seemed to me to be a change of heart on Krugman’s part about how war spending can affect the economy. Now, maybe Krugman really changed his mind, but he should have said so. I can’t help but think that Krugman sees the possibility that Obama is going to be drawn back into Iraq- back into a war that Krugman has spent the last 12 years criticizing as Bush’s biggest error (a point I agree with, too), and just doesn’t want to be put into the position of having to defend (or, or more likely, ignore) Obama in that case. So he is lending his voice now to discourage Obama from going deeper.

    • Mark says:

      Krugman still believes war to have all the positive effects mentioned previously; however, holding such a belief does not require one to become pro-war. Quite likely Krugman was only making an academic point in his previous writings concerning the economic effects of war, I.e., his policy prescription was not actually “let’s blow up some stuff.”

  9. Gamble says:

    I have a hunch. Government insider know the real economy. They know the gloom and doomers are 100% correct, even though they propagandize otherwise.

    Knowing the sorry state, they have positioned themselves to *fix* the economy the only way they know how. World war.

    The world is a powder keg and the fuse is already burning.

    Will sound money advocates stop the fuse in time?

    My son is 9, I have a feeling he will be drafted and die. The writing is on the wall.

  10. mickey says:

    I’m disappointed – as far as I can tell there hasn’t heen a widespread reaction against Reynolds.

    • Ken B says:

      Most people recognize a hyperbolic rhetorical flourish when they see one.

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