I noticed a comment made by Sumner in his crusade on the Cantillon effect with which I disagree, although it has little bearing on the economics of his proposition. He said that rudeness is displayed in direct proportion to intelligence; that intelligent people can debate without being rude.
There is a difference between watering things down in order to not insult and talking about the naked truth; and it has very little to do with intelligence. I happen to believe that there is a time and place for everything under the sun, time and a place for doing a little evil to do a whole lot of good – even if it means making powerful people look at themselves in the mirror, warts and all, and falling on one’s sword for the good of all. It might be true, even likely true that I am not as intelligent as Dr. Sumner. It might also be true that I have not had the same exposure to the norms of intellectual debate or dedication to studying economic anomalies. Neither have most of the rest of the people who comment on his site.
Perhaps I am taking his point out of context because he used that example for people who were being rude to him in absence of having a valid argument. I think hooligans and rabble serve a purpose as a firewall, and they consist of people who have been victimized in many ways, economically and then intellectually. You have to get through those people before you can get to the real problem because those are the people who are supporting bad monetary medicine in the political sense – and unknowingly support things that are not in their interest while serving a purpose for the powerful. Without them, those powerful people making the huge mistakes would have no cover. It would not surprise me if the same powerful people were at heart of the propaganda these people hear every day; it enjoys participation by people of all kinds including intelligent sycophants such as Mr. Hubbard and others who have abandoned long established economic thought in order to justify the current state. I don’t know, maybe lying to misdirect blame for the largest economic calamity in 80 years isn’t rude. And maybe employing people to barrage the media with misinformation and perhaps even attack Mr. Sumner isn’t rude. I think it is rude at the very least, but it certainly isn’t a sign of lack of intelligence, but rather a misapplication of it.
When I talk about macroeconomics, probably the single largest problem in generations, my site hits go way down. Contrast that with when I was discussing Constitutional matters regarding ObamaCare and nullification, my site had some of its best days. People simply do not understand that ObamaCare is nothing compared to what the Bernanke Fed has done to us or that it is the driver of everything else we’ve gone through since the financial crisis, both monetarily and politically. And they want to read what they want to read.
Market Monetarists are losing the propaganda war and Mr. Sumner isn’t helping matters by calling people morons. It’s sad because Mr. Sumner has ideas that are to economics what a cure for cancer would be for medicine. Many of the people who are responsible for the calamity even admit as much as privately as possible with little shift in behavior and public attitude. We need something to counter the boatloads of propaganda that average people find interesting. Even Milton Friedman had the Reagan machine to help him get his point across – which came complete with as much propaganda favorable to his ideas as necessary to win the public debate. Without that, Mr. Sumner’s prophesy that NGDPLT won’t be implemented until the next crisis will become self-fulfilling.
Friedman said about the Great Inflation that we have inflation because people want it and support politicians who want it; and the way to get rid of it is to stop supporting it. If he was correct, which I think he was, we have to find a way to get average people to stop supporting tight money. It’s that simple.