Ralph Benko

Professor Paul Krugman, in his New York Times blog, says my recent column about him is, "funny and scary." Last week’s column here inferred that Prof. Krugman is leaving Princeton in quiet disgrace. It drew pretty wide attention.

It also drew over 150 comments. Many commentators merrily berated me. (Comes with the territory.) The column, quite flatteringly, even drew a riposte from Prof. Krugman himself, in his Times blog, entitled Fantasies of Personal Destruction:

A correspondent directs me to a piece in Forbes about yours truly that is both funny and scary.

Yep, scurrying away with my tail between my legs, I am, disgraced for policy views shared only by crazy people like the IMF’s chief economist (pdf).

One thing I’ve noticed, though, is how many people on the right are drawn to power fantasies in which liberals aren’t just proved wrong and driven from office, but personally destroyed. Does anyone else remember this bit from the O’Reilly scandal?

“Look at Al Franken, one day he’s going to get a knock on his door and life as he’s known it will change forever,” O’Reilly said. “That day will happen, trust me. . . . Ailes knows very powerful people and this goes all the way to the top.”

And people wonder why I don’t treat all of this as a gentlemanly conversation.

Prof. Krugman’s prestige, and the immense influence provided him by the New York Times, gives his opinions enormous political weight. What he writes has impact in liberal, and Democratic, quarters. Yet he by no means is infallible.

Ralph Benko

Ralph Benko, author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to transform the world. He serves as an advisor to and editor of the Lehrman Institute's thegoldstandardnow.org and senior advisor to the American Principles Project.