I think there’s a deeper problem here. Progressives see their ideology as being somehow more rational. Perhaps in some ways it is (although I’d argue not in all ways.) Then they assume those on the other side must somehow reflect dark irrational forces. Again, there are people like that on the right. But here’s what can happen when you start thinking that way. Tyler Cowen is probably the most reasonable, moderate, open-minded, thoughtful thinker on the right. The sort of voice that open-minded people on the left should welcome. He writes a column in the NYT that has a very balanced view of the issue of health care, coming out for a mixed public/private system. Saying there are no easy answers, etc. Then Aaron Carroll responds with a ridiculous post that accuses Cowen of making all sorts of claims that he never made. Pure fabrication. Perhaps Carroll assumed the worst because Tyler is on the “other team.” Anyone who read Tyler’s column and the Carroll post, would immediately see that it was completely inaccurate, not even close. That is anyone who doesn’t view the world through politically-tinted glasses. Thus Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong both linked approvingly to the Carroll post. This is really really sad to see. Especially because these two individuals are so brilliant, so talented at blogging. Krugman’s recently had great posts on everything from the Fed to the euro to noise in restaurants. But when it comes to politics he becomes completely unhinged.
Read the whole thing.
We do not and cannot discern the inner thoughts, motives, and intentions of others. They cannot even be deduced with any great reliability from their stated beliefs, the policies they support, or even, in general, their affiliations. Some people believe that you help people by giving them money. Some people believe that you help people by not giving them money. Both may have the same intention: helping people. There is a difference of opinion as to how to effect that.