I had decided not to say anything because I thought there were few people who understand where I was coming from. However, since I took the time to scold Scott Sumner I should be fair and give my take on the Keynes-Hayek debates.
I saw two of them. I don’t know if there were more. I saw the one at LSE and the one hosted by Reuter’s I think.
These were two of the most grotesque spectacles I have ever seen in my life. I teared-up watching the first one. I apologized to my son – on behalf of the intellectual community – after watching the second.
There are some serious ideas at stake here but the speed at which these things descended in gutter-wallowing and thinly veiled political sophistry was both depressing and embarrassing for everyone involved.
This is not the way intellectuals should behave. Not on stage. Not in front of the world.
That the issue at hand affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people made the whole thing more all the more nauseating. That we who live relative lives of comfort should treat the question of how to prevent mass suffering as a game – a game – in which we no rhetorical trick is too low and the truth is merely an inconvenience to arriving at predetermined answers – well, I don’t know what to say about that.
If you say that well, its ok that we should be allowed to have a little fun. Fine I have no problem with that. But, not on stage, in front of the world, wearing the badges of intellectualism.
If this is the community of thoughtful men and women then who is the world supposed to turn to for answers? Society does not invest valuable resources in us so that we can engage in public displays of pettiness.
It does it so that we can move the ball forward in making their lives better.