Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman – The Conscience of a Liberal – NYTimes.com

Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman – The Conscience of a Liberal – NYTimes.com.

I’ve been following Krugman for years, now, well before he was progressive. His article on how he was reading opposing economists was actually bracing and encouraging, not because of the actual change of view the economists might evidence–they don’t, they are veritable sticks in the mud–but because he has the patience to read them at all. But this is normal. It’s in the course of academia, the requisite, that one must be able to tolerate those with whom one disagrees. The saving grace in academia is that it’s academic: it is about the abstract issues, not about the personal. One therefore can and indeed must evaluate the issues at hand dispassionately–without, that is, the embodied emotions that characterize other debates.

But I’ve always found that dispassionate distance difficult to reach. I’ve always been too involved in the argument I present. My position is simple(istic?)–I believe what I believe for reasons whose logic may be attacked and thus effect a change of mind, but which are by their logical force “true” and bound to me. 

Otherwise, why hold them? 

I miss the point–that the whole idea of the ivory tower is precisely to hold a cordon sanitaire that posits academic discourse outside of the familiar and personal. 

But then again I’m not in academia.