I am a Homo and a Sapien* what is Paul Krugman?

Krugman is sometimes a dull example of all that is both right and wrong with mainstream liberals in North America.  Today Krugman auto deconstructs:

Ideas Are Not The Same As Race

I would get into the specifics of his post but the headline is so atrocious and such a shining example of why economists are simply undereducated in the social sciences, humanities and hard sciences.  Here is the short of it, both race and gender are ideas in that they have no scientific merit.   Take a look at this little graphic from wikipedia

See anything missing after species?  Yep, lower than that and they are just ideas, not necessarily nice ideas but ideas nonetheless.

His title is thus a non sequitur wrapped inside a false antithesis.

Sad really.

*Excuse the botched singular.


6 thoughts on “I am a Homo and a Sapien* what is Paul Krugman?

  1. I have read through you post several times now and I am still not sure what you are saying. Are you criticizing Krugman or are you agreeing with him? Are you saying there is a liberal bias in academia or that there is not, or that it dosen’t matter if there is? Either I am being obtuse or you are being vague and I am not sure which. I think Conservatives are OVER represented in Academia myself. But if there is a Liberal bias at all it is way overblown. And if there is a liberal leaning in any teaching related profession I think it is because, generally speaking, teachers have to have a certain level of empathy and want to give of themselves, and right-winger generally don’t qualify for these requirements. Saying that there is a Liberal bias in Academica would be similar to saying that social-workers are too empathetic and concerned about people’s troubles and needs. I should hope so!

  2. Hi Kirby,

    Yes perhaps my post was a little cryptic. My point was simply that Race is a fully constructed “ideology” (in a bad sense) as it has no biological basis in fact. Race is an idea. To say that ideas are not like race therefore makes no sense. Krugman has contorted himself because he wants to treat race like a real biological thing when it is not. What Paul is saying is that discrimination based on race gender and sexual preference is not ok but discrimination based on ideas is ok.

    There is thus a categorical confusion and a contradiction.

    On the categorical confusion: Paul is really saying “we know that being prejudice against people who look and or act different then members of the dominant group are wrong because it has been proven that members from these non-dominant groups have the same distribution of intellectual capabilities as members of the dominant group. That is to say, stereotypes about race, gender and sexual orientation have no basis in fact (which is true). What I am saying is that the idea of race, gender and sexual orientation is a discursive construction: What is a “black” “man”? Once we realize that the idea of “black” has shifted overtime and is more or less arbitrary then it is clear that to say “ideas are not like race” is meaningless. The deployment of the concept of race is an instance of a concrete (proven false) idea.

    What Paul really should have said is that we should discriminate against bad ideas. Which raises the question what is a bad idea? A good example of which would be the idea that discrimination on the discredited doctrines of race is a good (as in correct) idea. Thus, we ought to discriminate against people who hold these ideas.

  3. Oh, now I see the point you were making, maybe it was me being obtuse. I tend to think, as you know, that most things are discursively constructed but I certainly see your point here. My take is that the right-wing has so much power in the so-called market place of ideas that they already have an extreme advantage, so maybe we should have affirmative action for people who hold liberal ideas.

  4. Kirby,

    Conservative means different things to different people. I would describe many economists as conservative given their slavish devotion to the neoclassical world view. But many of these very economists are quite “liberal” in their social views. That is to say they are against discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation.

    I think that when American conservatives say the university is full of a bunch of liberals they mean it in terms of their social views and not their economic ideology. On the latter I suspect most are either reform liberals (liberals) or classical liberals (conservatives). So yes you do not find many libertarians, anarchists or Marxists for that matter in the universities particularly not at the Ivy league level.

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