Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

1/28/2005

What the hell is Keith Burgess-Jackson smoking?

Anal/Conservative "Philosopher" Keith Burgess-Jackson, J.D., Ph.D. (which is how he displays his name, so you know he's an asshole) takes issue with Paul Krugman's latest column, completely misrepresenting it in the process. Burgess-Jackson, J.D., Ph.D. writes:

Any philosopher will tell you that there can be more than one rationale (justification) for a given action or policy. An act of promise-keeping, for example, can be justified on both consequentialist and deontological grounds—because of the kind of act it is and because of its consequences. So why does Paul Krugman consider it morally problematic for President Bush to have—and assert—more than one rationale for Social Security reform?

So, the Krugman column is about how bad it is for Bush to offer multiple rationalizations for his Social Security "reform", right? Nope. Krugman makes exactly one reference to the mulitplicity issue:

Social Security privatization really is like tax cuts, or the Iraq war: the administration keeps on coming up with new rationales, but the plan remains the same. President Bush's claim that we must privatize Social Security to avert an imminent crisis has evidently fallen flat. So now he's playing the race card.

Krugman then uses the rest of the column to make a detailed refutation of the rationale in question -- i.e., that Social Security as it is is somehow unfair to African-Americans. Nowhere does Krugman assert that it is "morally problematic" for Bush to offer more than one rationale for his plan.

To the extent that the above quote implies a criticism of Bush for using multiple rationales, it does so in light of the further implication that, as with the Iraq war, none of the offered reasons for his plan is truly the motivation behind it.

Which in and of itself doesn't mean the plan is bad; the motivation would be irrelevant, if the reasons given to the public really were convincing. However, as Krugman's column demonstrates, the "unfair to blacks" reason won't fly, and neither has the "social security is in crisis" reason. What we have is clearly an administration that decides what it wants to do and then flails about trying to find a rationale.

If Burgess-Jackson, J.D., Ph.D is going to criticize Krugman, he should do it in an intellectually honest way.


UPDATE: Sigh. I am forced to retract these comments somewhat. See here for details.

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