Monday, November 26, 2012

I Can't Believe That He Believes

Right now, I'm listening to Paul Johnson's Intellectuals. It's a glorious polemic of anecdotes, character analyses and flat-out ad hominem attacks on a variety of wacky braniacs including Marx, Sartre and Chomsky. I haven't gotten to Chomsky yet, but both Sartre and Marx reminded me of Robert Reich.

In the last Reich piece that I read, he scribbled this nonsense:
Europe offers the same lesson in reverse: Their deficits are ballooning because their austerity policies have caused their economies to sink.

The best way to generate jobs and growth is for the government to spend more, not less.
That bugged me at the time because it was so transparently false. Spain and Greece are undergoing austerity because no one will lend to them and interest rates have shot up. It's not like they had a choice. They had a choice five years ago and chose to do what Robert suggested. The result has been riots and financial chaos.

He certainly must see that, right? So what's the angle here?

Marx and Sartre wrote gibberish. Marx never bothered to actually meet the proles and his partner, Engels, doctored the facts to help Marx continue spouting trash. Sartre was a self-promoting egoist, blathering about "action" while he himself did whatever got him money and attention. It wasn't about the truth or developing a better understanding of the world, it was all about them.

So that's where I am with Robert Reich. His work is so transparently deceitful that the only thing I can think is that he doesn't actually believe it himself. He just loves to get his speaking fees and to appear on talk shows. He loves it when his books make the best seller lists. He loves it when he is quoted. I grant that he could be a little deeper than that. Like Marx and Sartre who talked themselves into believing at least some of their own idiocy, the little man might really be a Peronist fascist at heart.

If that's the case, is he really an economist after all, or is he a particularly data-driven propaganda minister?


Anonymous said...

Robert Reich is the new Krugman. Mentally unbalanced and rewarded by the left for being so.

Jeff Burton said...

One of my favorite books of all time. I've probably read it five or six times. I also enjoy reading the hate comments for the book on Amazon.

The book can be summarized this way: intellectuals love the people but hate people. If that sentence is confusing, read it more carefully.

K T Cat said...

Anon, I agree. Krugman is another case of the same thing - he's more of a self-important fantasist than a real thinker.

Doo Doo Econ said...

I blogged about a study a while back that showed Liberals hold a higher affection for "generic other" than "friends and family."

Dean said...

How wrong is Reich? He's like Paul Ehrlich-wrong. There. I said it.

IlĂ­on said...

"I blogged about a study a while back that showed Liberals hold a higher affection for "generic other" than "friends and family.""

It's the intellectualized take on "I love 'humanity' ... it's people I can't stand."