Friday, June 12, 2009

Polemics != Science

Once upon a time, Paul Krugman was serious economist. He did serious research in the area of international trade and eventually won a Noble Prize.

But those days are long past. Paul Krugman has abandoned his roots as a serious social scientist and has devolved into the intellectual equivalent of Rush Limbaugh.

Social Scientists attempt to use basic scientific principals to gain greater understanding of human behavior, be it in the psychological, social, economic or political spheres. A social scientist strives to make testable, positive observations about the phenomena he is studying. For example, in his 2007 book The Conciseness of a Liberal Krugman makes positive claims about the impact of Republican economic policy on the wages of the average worker - specifically, he claims that the so called "Treaty of Detroit" between the UAW and auto manufacturers led to a steady growth in wages of the average worker.

Now, as it happens, Krugman is probably wrong about his claim.

However, social science is a process that is not always only about being "right" or "wrong" - everyone makes mistakes in their conclusions occasionally, but what is important is that the claims must be positive and testable.

Krugman has moved way beyond the bounds of science. Today he makes wild claims about whatever he saw on CNN the night before.

But with the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic, closely followed by a shooting by a white supremacist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the analysis looks prescient.

There is, however, one important thing that the D.H.S. report didn’t say: Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.

The problem with trying to link the work of one crazy person with some sort of supposed "movement" afoot is that crazy people do crazy things whenever they feel like it. Because if a Democrat in the White House "caused" a "crazy right winger" - whatever that mean - to go crazy then how would that explain the murder or a Jewish radio host named Alan Berg during the Reagan administration?

Furthermore, how would that explain a shooting at the White House during the Bush administration?

Beyond the acts of lone gunman, all this recent focus on "Right Wing Terrorism" is nonsense anyway. While acts of "Right Wing Terrorism" seem to spark all sorts of comments from the likes of Paul Krugman there is little concern about the ongoing resource based insurgency going on within our inner cities.

I wrote about one such insurgency in my chapter in the upcoming 5th Generation Warfare Handbook, and occasionally the media reports on it in bits and pieces, but rarely do we get the full story.

Anyone who was truly concerned about "domestic terrorism" and actually knew anything would ignore both the words of idiots like Glen Beck and actions of crazy lone gunman and would instead focus on the need for a concerted grand strategy for Urban COIN in America.

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