Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times:
Thereâ€™s something happening here. What it is ainâ€™t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people. …
When the Occupy Wall Street protests began three weeks ago, most news organizations were derisive if they deigned to mention the events at all. For example, nine days into the protests, National Public Radio had provided no coverage whatsoever.
It is, therefore, a testament to the passion of those involved that the protests not only continued but grew, eventually becoming too big to ignore. With unions and a growing number of Democrats now expressing at least qualified support for the protesters, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.
What can we say about the protests? First things first: The protestersâ€™ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.
Proving, once and for all, that our political opponents are not rational adults.
What we are dealing with is children, Walter-Mitty-role-playing in a fantasy filled with stereotyped images of mustache-twirling villains foreclosing Little Nell’s mortgage and sturdy workers and peasants protesting for land and bread.
What do you do with a Nobel Prize winner in Economics who thinks the American financial industry is “a destructive force?” I’d suggest calling the little men in the white coats to throw a net over the poor zany and carry him away for an extended rest period in the laughing academy.
How can you debate with insanity?
The haute bourgeois American left is so thoroughly invested in imaginary archetypes of injustice and oppression, of class struggle and revolutionary glory, that it looks at ordinary life, at people going to work in offices and doing conventional lawful business, and sees some kind of diabolical conspiratorial wrong-doing going on.
Its members look at their balding, pot-bellied establishment selves, sitting in expensive chairs in offices in some of the best real estate in the land, and they see youthful muscular workers and revolutionists getting ready to storm the Winter Palace.
These people are completely demented.
One fellow gets a degree in finance, writes some papers that make a splash, gets tenure, conducts some seminars, wins some prizes, and writes lots of angry editorials.
Another chap also gets a degree in finance, goes to work for a bank, writes the analyses used in some important deals, rises higher in management, receives some hefty bonuses, and isn’t angry with anybody.
So, the first guy is a righteous fighter for causes greater than himself, and the second guy is a fiend in human form who has climbed to the top over the corpses of the poor? What a crock!
I don’t take a lot of interest in the academic field of Economics. I majored at school in Philosophy. But I gather that, at some point in the past, Mr. Krugman did some worthwhile writing, offering useful explanations for the efficacy and service to humanity of trade and economies of scale. When you read him today, you seriously wonder if somebody has not dropped this poor man on his head.
But Paul Krugman is not alone. My college class is filled with similar upper middle class professionals, well-educated, affluent, and successful, who nonetheless have their heads full of bizarre prejudices against banks, corporations, “the rich” (artfully defined, of course, so as to exclude themselves) and with fantasy images of oppression, class warfare, and political struggle.
All I can say is, our educational system, which filled these whackos’ heads with all this nonsense, has a great deal to answer for.
I sometimes like to fantasize to myself what things would have been like if our colleges and universities and elite culture had been otherwise hijacked, not by the radical left performing its Gramscian long march through the institutions, but by nerds obsessed with Marvel comic books. Paul Krugman, for instance, would be editorializing from the perspective of Ironman or the Silver Surfer, not that of Piotr Kropotkin, hero of the workers’ revolution.