in Kulturkampf

Krugman and Kulturkampf

Firebaggery does not become Mr. Krugman. This is what I expect of lesser minds:

More and more, it’s becoming clear that progressives who had their hearts set on Obama were engaged in a huge act of self-delusion. Once you got past the soaring rhetoric you noticed, if you actually paid attention to what he said, that he largely accepted the conservative storyline, a view of the world, including a mythological history, that bears little resemblance to the facts. (Emphasis mine)

Or, the president accepts that middle America believes things that aren’t true, such as the greatness of Reagan and the “need” for austerity. Maybe the president sees the actual self-identification demographics and understands the relative power of “conservative” and “liberal” and “progressive.”

Like the firebagging over single-payer, the frustration that shows up in Krugman’s post is really about the lack of power and traction empirical reality gets. Progressive taxation and single-payer are both demonstrably better than the alternatives, but neither has a powerful lobby in Washington or employs an army of talking heads to fill media with its narratives.

The idea that one man, however central, will either win the kulturkampf single-handed or ruin the nation with centrism is itself a mythology with no resemblance to the facts. If Krugman really wants to change things, he can quit bitching about the president and start a movement. It should have been building for decades, the way the right has done; but it’s so much easier to write clever criticism of those with actual responsibility for governance.

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