I gather Comrade Krugman has been compelled by progressive activism's Piety and Purity Patrol to publicly confess his accumulated transgressions of political reality-recognition. He ends his initial show trial of a column today in a fitting outburst of self-critical despair:
In pointing out that we could be doing much more about unemployment, I recognize, of course, the political obstacles to actually pursuing any of the policies that might work. In the United States, in particular, any effort to tackle unemployment will run into a stone wall of Republican opposition. Yet that’s not a reason to stop talking about the issue. In fact, looking back at my own writings over the past year or so, it’s clear that I too have sinned: political realism is all very well, but I have said far too little about what we really should be doing to deal with our most important problem.
As I see it, policy makers are sinking into a condition of learned helplessness on the jobs issue: the more they fail to do anything about the problem, the more they convince themselves that there’s nothing they could do. And those of us who know better should be doing all we can to break that vicious circle.
Dear members of the ideological court, ladies of piety, gentlemen of purity, allow me, if you will, to be brutally but counteroffensively blunt here, in Comrade Krugman's defense.
His intentions were pure, during his recent and rather extended lapse of political realism. He meant no harm. He had only come to accept -- because of immovable reactionary forces -- that braying in each and every column about what should be done to reduce unemployment, when it was so thunderingly conspicuous to anyone paying any attention whatsoever that nothing would be done since it can't be done (see hyphenated clause) was all rather pointless.
You see, ladies and gentlemen of the Progressive Purity Court, it had dawned on the Nobel mind of Brother Paul that he was beginning to sound like one of those most pitiable political beasts known to thinking man: No, it wasn't that he was sounding like a cable-TV progressive activist, although in that there would have been tragedy enough; no, it was much worse than that; yea, he was beginning to read like a progressive blogger, always belching and bloviating that we should do this and we should do that, while never pausing, not even for a singularly sobering breath, to acknowledge that that's not merely improbable, my friends, but unfuckingbelievably impossible. Conclusion: So what's the point?
Aye, you see, what occurred to Brother Paul, if I may speak on further behalf of my enormously chastened client, is that progressives must stop blathering about what should be done and they must start explaining instead how they can achieve a political launching point from which certain progressive things can be done. And that, of course, means toning down the progressively pious evangelism and cranking up the pragmatic trench-warfare of political reality.
Ah, I see from your aghast faces that my defense of Comrade Krugman's brief immersion in such reality isn't likely to carry the day. I know, I know, reality isn't much fun: it harbors few opportunities for transcendent self-righteousness and absolutely none for hallucinatory utopianism. My apologies.
Brother Paul, you're on your own. Go back to groveling.