Krugman’s Blog, 3/7/13

One post yesterday, “Bushifying the Berlaymont:”

Busy day today, so no blogging until late. But a quick thought in passing: reading what the three tweeters of Brussels had to say, it struck me that they have a habit of mind that, to my mind, is more disturbing than a bit of incivility here and there. In fact, they sound remarkably like George W. Bush.

What do I mean? Well, one of the truly awful things about the Bush years was the deliberate conflation of the person sitting in the White House with the nation. If you criticized Bush, you were anti-American; if you denounced the Iraq war, you were attacking the troops.

And the reach of this kind of argument seemed limitless. Yes, there were Republicans arguing that you had to support Social Security privatization for national security reasons, because the president was advocating it, and the president’s credibility was essential to the War on Terror (TM).

Of course all that changed as soon as a Democrat was in the White House. But it was an object lesson in the wrongness of confusing respect for the institution with unthinking support of the people currently running the institution.

So, look at what the Brussels tweeters are saying — namely, that an attack on the wrongheaded economic doctrine of Olli Rehn is an attack on Europe, that anyone who criticizes the hash they are making of policy must be an American who hates Europe. Um, no.

As it happens, I’m very much pro-European; I consider the European project, the path of peace through prosperity and integration, one of the best things to have happened to humanity over the past century. I’ve seen the good work Europe has done in promoting democracy.

My problem isn’t with Europe, it’s with the bad policies that are ripping Europe apart, and with the officials who for whatever reason — intellectual inflexibility, ideological blinders, or, I suspect, sheer personal vanity, an unwillingness to admit that they were wrong — have refused to consider any modification of these policies despite years of disastrous results.

And the attempt of these officials to wrap themselves in the mantle of European unity is truly contemptible.

 

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