26 Apr 2019

Rothbard on the “Sustained Sneer”

Contra Krugman 5 Comments

Ryan Griggs alerted me to this footnote in Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State (p. 975 of the Scholar’s Edition)in which he describes Galbraith’s rhetorical style when dealing with opponents:

92 Galbraith’s major rhetorical device may be called “the sustained sneer,” which includes (a ) presenting an opposing argument so sardonically as to make it seem patently absurd, with no need for reasoned refutation; (b ) coining and reiterating Veblenesque names of disparagement, e.g., “the conventional wisdom”; and (c ) ridiculing the opposition further by psychological ad hominem  attacks, i.e., accusing opponents of having a psychological vested interest in their absurd doctrines—this mode of attack being now more fashionable than older accusations of economic venality. The “conventional wisdom” encompasses just about everything with which Galbraith disagrees.

As Ryan asks, sounds familiar doesn’t it…?

5 Responses to “Rothbard on the “Sustained Sneer””

  1. George Thoroughgood says:

    Yes: it sounds like Rothbard! For instance, see his “review” of K. Polanyi’s The Great Transformation.

    • Clayton says:

      Can’t say I disagree. I remember being struck by that when listening to the recently published “The Progressive Era”. I was shocked at the constant allusion to lesbians supporting this or that policy, as though that was a deciding factor on its value. I eventually had to stop listening.

  2. Josiah says:

    Yeah, Rothbard was my thought too. I’m sure that’s not who Bob has in mind, but I’m not sure who he did mean.

  3. Transformer says:

    Can’t remember his name but there is a guy who writes stuff for the NYT that sound s a bit like Bob’s description.

  4. Jackson Mejia says:

    Sounds like MMTers on social media. I guess Galbraith the Younger is a bit of an MMTer himself.

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