On Tenure and Civility When the Stakes Are High

Economist Paul Krugman rightly whacks Tyler Cowen for demanding he grant people far more respect than they deserve based on their idiotic and harmful opinions (boldface mine):

Cowen apparently wants me to make the best case for the opposing side in policy debates. Since when has that been the rule? I’m trying to move policy in what I believe to be the right direction — and I will make the best honest case I can for moving in that direction.

Look, economic policy matters. It matters for real people who suffer real consequences when we get it wrong. If I believe that the doctrine of expansionary austerity is all wrong, or that the Ryan plan for Medicare would have disastrous effects, or whatever, then my duty, as I see it, is to make my case as best I honestly can — not put on a decorous show of civilized discussion that pretends that there aren’t hired guns posing as analysts, and spares the feelings of people who are not in danger of losing their jobs or their health care.

This is not a game.

If conservative academics had to actually function in anything like the free-market environment they claim to support, they would be unemployed. And millions of people would be better off.

Krugman is right, this is not a game. There is no time to spare their feelings.

Good for him.

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