Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Conservatives never learn


This morning, Paul Krugman wrote another article trying to understand why conservatives and moderates who are shown to be wrong time and again never reflect that maybe "all the people they know" just don't know very much. The specific target is John Hinderaker at Powerline Blog. Yesterday, he was channeling Chicken Little over an immanent economic crisis. Krugman disagrees of course, but also points back to 2005 when Hinderaker mocked Krugman for saying there was a housing bubble.

I went over and looked at that article, That Hissing Sound Is Krugman. In the article, he doesn't argue against Krugman. He just claims that Krugman is not making an argument—or at least that he doesn't understand it. This is odd, because the argument for the housing bubble was pretty simple: home prices have always risen at the rate of inflation; at that time, home prices were rising substantially faster than inflation. There was no underlying reason for prices to rise so fast other than that there was a bubble.



The basis of Hinderaker's argument is just that Krugman is a partisan. He writes:
Well, if we believed anything Krugman writes, we'd be worried all the time. Or at least until we have a Democratic administration, when everything will be rosy again.

So, not only is Hinderaker wrong about the housing bubble, he's also wrong about Krugman. He should have left out that second sentence. Of course, I don't think Krugman is pessimistic necessarily; it is just that in these times the rational, knowledgeable position is pessimistic.

But what is really great about John Hinderaker is that he is just as clueless as Krugman says. After being totally wrong about the housing bubble, Hinderaker added the following update to his original article today:

Wow. I see Krugman is at it again, nearly eight years after the fact! It’s time to move on, Paul.

No argument. No admission of being wrong. Just a statement that we need to move on. And as the years go by and there is no economic crisis, Hinderaker will again say it is time to move on. We don't want to spend any time thinking about how wrong we've been! That might cause us to rethink our conservatism.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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