The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Politics of Nostalgia

Posted on | May 1, 2011 | 12 Comments

It turns out that “progress” involves a giant leap backward for a lot of progressives, including Paul Krugman.

This is the burden of Jim Manzi’s observations about Krugman’s nostalgia for the lost Golden Age of the 1950s and ’60s: It is Krugman’s idealized childhood that is the true destination of his allegedly progressive longings.

To the extent that I have anything to add, it is this: Blame LBJ.

In his effort to create “The Great Society,” Lyndon Johnson’s  policies ended up destroying a Pretty Good Society.

Say whatever you want about our problems today, or advocate whatever “solutions” you wish, but there can be no dispute that Johnson’s presidency was the Era of Error, the historic wrong turn from which we’ve spent nearly half a century trying to recover. That Johnson was himself a liberal, attempting to live up to the historic legend of his own youthful idol FDR, ought to tell us something — but it’s something Krugman probably doesn’t want to think too much about.

This all came to my attention, by the way, because Little Miss Attila sent me her post, which linked Megan McArdle, who linked Manzi.

I was briefly tempted to argue with Attila, but life is too short.


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