Bartlett: Revenge of the Reality-Based Community

Bruce Bartlett has written an excellent essay that you should read as soon as you can.  He is a prominent Republican economist who was exiled from the conservative world because of the conclusions he drew about the Bush administration and the Great Recession.

Among other things, he discusses the epistemic closure of the Right:

I was flabbergasted. Until that moment I had not realized how closed the right-wing mind had become[…] This was my first exposure to what has been called  “epistemic closure” among conservatives—living in their own bubble where nonsensical ideas circulate with no contradiction[…]

Among the interesting reactions to my book is that I was banned from Fox News. My publicist was told that orders had come down from on high that it was to receive no publicity whatsoever, not even attacks. Whoever gave that order was smart; attacks from the right would have sold books. Being ignored was poison for sales.

He also describes his grudging conclusion that Paul Krugman was right about this recession:

After careful research along these lines, I came to the annoying conclusion that Keynes had been 100 percent right in the 1930s. Previously, I had thought the opposite. But facts were facts and there was no denying my conclusion[…]

Annoyingly, however, I found myself joined at the hip to Paul Krugman, whose analysis was identical to my own. I had previously viewed Krugman as an intellectual enemy and attacked him rather colorfully in an old column that he still remembers. For the record, no one has been more correct in his analysis and prescriptions for the economy’s problems than Paul Krugman.

His whole essay is thoughtful and revealing.  I recommend you read it.

Related: Show Your Math


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