Mankiw has also commented on it. He starts with:
In a brief blog post on healthcare, Paul Krugman says that George Will and I are "either remarkably ignorant or simply disingenuous." I cannot speak for George, but I can attest that I am completely ingenuous. So I suppose I must be remarkably ignorant.The best would have been if Mankiw had not typed the sentence on how he must be remarkably ignorant. But, that is ok. He then discusses the content, with a bunch of hyperlinks--which is exactly how intellectual discussion ought to happen. At the end, Mankiw writes:
On the issue of tone, I again think I understand Paul's point of view. He likely believes that civility is overrated. He seems to think that in the blogosphere, and perhaps in the public debate more generally, you score points simply by insulting your intellectual adversaries. Sadly, I am afraid he may be right.Yes, that is the unfortunate case. Krugman, too, seems to have fallen into the attack the person style argument. Now, in case one thought that this was a casual blog post where Krugman made such an observation, well, in his published column he charged opponents of climate-change legislation with "treason." That was simply awful. I mean, to go down that Cheney/Bush/Rove road of labelling dissenters as traitors is not kosher at all.
John Cole notes:
I am a tad super-sensitive about this because I have simply had it with my colleagues whose preferred option was always the ad hominem route. They have succeeded though in completely silencing me. The success of this route is why university faculty use it, and so do newspaper columnists and Nobel-prize winners. And, of course, that is why the Grand Ayatollah uses it in Iran as well.
There needs to be some form of one of the corollaries to Godwin’s Law that applies to the word treason, in that anyone who accuses someone of treason for non-treasonous behavior automatically loses the argument. Yes, the climate change deniers are, in my opinion, wrong, and yes, they are making all sorts of ridiculous arguments, but after the last eight years, can everyone just knock it off with the accusations of treason? It is just a loaded term and does no good, and I assure you that even though Krugman is arguing for “treason against the planet” (whatever the hell that means), this will be used to justify future right-wing claims of treason because Dick Durbin mentioned Pol Pot and the US Army in the same hour, or some other nonsense like that.
Christ. Just stop it.
And I say this as someone who is hesitant to criticize Krugman, because every time I pop off at the mouth he turns out to be right.