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Lies vs. silence?

Summary:
That is the contrast in my latest Bloomberg column.  The claims about the Republicans are more widely circulated in educated circles, so here is the section on the Democrats: Given the greater deployment of intellectual argument, smart, educated people are exposed to a more persuasive case for Democratic positions. But there is a danger in this asymmetry: when Democratic ideas are not working or are poorly designed. Rather than constructing brazen untruths, the Democratic intelligentsia remains largely silent when it is unhappy. President Joe Biden’s recent Buy American plan is similar to protectionist ideas from Trump, but it doesn’t come in for heavy criticism on social media. If asked about it, most Democratic-leaning economists would be (correctly) critical. Yet for them this

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That is the contrast in my latest Bloomberg column.  The claims about the Republicans are more widely circulated in educated circles, so here is the section on the Democrats:

Given the greater deployment of intellectual argument, smart, educated people are exposed to a more persuasive case for Democratic positions. But there is a danger in this asymmetry: when Democratic ideas are not working or are poorly designed.

Rather than constructing brazen untruths, the Democratic intelligentsia remains largely silent when it is unhappy. President Joe Biden’s recent Buy American plan is similar to protectionist ideas from Trump, but it doesn’t come in for heavy criticism on social media. If asked about it, most Democratic-leaning economists would be (correctly) critical. Yet for them this shortcoming isn’t that big a deal, given what are perceived to be the greater sins of Republicans, including their “big lie” strategy.

The continuing problems of migrant children cut off from their parents at the border receive some criticism — but the noise machine is nothing close to what it was under Trump. The new inflation data seem to indicate that Larry Summers’s criticisms of Biden’s stimulus program were largely correct, yet few if any commentators are apologizing to him on Twitter.

There is much more at the link, including about Republicans.  And to be clear, when it comes to the Democrats, the “in fact this wasn’t left wing enough” is an almost obligatory form of self-criticism, serving also as a kind of repeated affirmation of relative moral superiority.  Or the “I/we was even more right than I had thought” criticism is common as well.  The actual self-criticism of “our value schema led us astray on this issue altogether”? — you almost never hear that one.

The post Lies vs. silence? appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Tyler Cowen
Tyler Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He occupies the Holbert C. Harris Chair of economics as a professor at George Mason University and is co-author, with Alex Tabarrok, of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. Cowen and Tabarrok have also ventured into online education by starting Marginal Revolution University. He currently writes the "Economic Scene" column for the New York Times, and he also writes for such publications as The New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and the Wilson Quarterly.

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