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Worth Reading, Mostly Economics for March 27, 2010

Hoisted from Comments: Robert Waldmann vs. David Gergen

Hoisted from Comments: RomneyCare Final Passage Aftermath Watch: No, the Republican Party Is Not Returning to Sanity Any Time Soon...: Robert Waldmann said...

I'd score round one of Luce vs DeLong as tied. I want round 2. It is honorable of you to open with an apology. You did quote him removing very necessary context. Importantly, he predicted the Republicans would be sane at some time in the future -- no Friedman units. Looking back Ford and (am I really typing this) Nixon seem pretty sane (sane people can be evil).

However, on quoting Gergen I think you are totally right and he is totally wrong. He says that Gergen is a prominent figure who advised 4 presidents. That does't mean that it is OK to quote Gergen's false claims without noting that they are false. The truth exists totally aside from the will of the powerful (not to mention Gergen isn't even powerful at the moment). You claim that Luce quoted a false claim without noting that it is false. He defends himself noting that the author of the falsehood is prominent. This actually happened. I think deep down Luce considers your reaction to Gergen to be unreasonable as would Gergen if he read this blog. In their view Gergen is not actually asserting that any Democrats claim that HCR solved all of our health care problems. He is just being ballanced (tm). Such false assertions are so common that they aren't even noticed. In fact, I'm sure Gergen had no sense he was being dishonest. He was saying the Republicans are being unreasonable. He added ballance without actually feeling that he was making an assertion about Democrats and without asking himself whether that assertion is arguably true of plainly totally utterly false.

By the way, one problem we have with health care is that there are some diseases that doctors can't cure oh and some morbidity which they can't prevent. Our problems with health care will be solved when we are immortal and remain youthful vigorous and healthy. Any seriousness at all would have made Gergen assert that some Democrats claim we have solved all of our problems with health care financing or health insurance or sometime. His statement about Democrats was not a real statement at all. It wasn't even a lie.

A note on editing. In the first draft of this comment I called Gergen's statement a lie. Then I found myself typing "Gergen had no sense he was being dishonest." I tried to remove the words "lie" and "liar" which assert that Gergen's statement has some relationship with an actual belief about actual reality. I don't really think that. I think he made a statement without any sense he was making a statement -- not even the sense of lying.