Thursday, October 05, 2006

Two Years of Blogging

My two-year blogiversary passed last week, but I have been too busy with presentations and travels to acknowledge it sooner. Looking back over that period, I'm most pleased with the blogging I've done about Social Security. These posts lay out what I think is a reasonable way forward on the coming demographic challenges.

I was pleased to read in yesterday's speech that Ben Bernanke recognizes the challenges in the same way, as the need for more savings today, even if he doesn't propose any particular solution. But I've also noticed some other things that are a bit more disturbing about my blogging.

As much as I might like to think otherwise, I am not successful in overcoming my biases. The problem is not so much in what I write about some topics, but which topics I choose to write about. For example, I am only moved to post about something Paul Krugman has written when I disagree with it. It's not that I haven't written accurately about his columns (in my opinion), but that I don't post when I agree with him. For example, in his August 28 column, "Broken Promises," he writes (with respect to the lack of progress one year after Hurricane Katrina):

Apologists for the administration will doubtless claim that blame for the lack of progress rests not with Mr. Bush, but with the inherent inefficiency of government bureaucracies. That's the great thing about being an antigovernment conservative: even when you fail at the task of governing, you can claim vindication for your ideology.

The part I've italicized is the single best description of what's wrong with the current leadership in Washington--the White House and the Congress--that I've read. And it's taken me six weeks to note it formally. That's a problem. To the extent that I continue to blog, I'm going to need to fix it.


Max said...

Happy Blogday. While usually disagreeing with what I find, I feel like I've learned a lot from the posts here.

Top 100 baby names said...

I think it's a natural thing to write when something has offended us or when we disagree with a person's view.
When you agree ... Well what can you say ... unless it's to defend one's point of view.

You shouldn't worry about it Andrew. Keep on blogging !

Anonymous said...

Andrew..Suck it up and keep blogging. Your thoughts and ideas are some of the most interesting of the bloggers and on the web

Crocop said...

I really don't think you should feel badly about criticizing Krugman; the guy is no longer a real academic economist, and his columns (and interviews) consistently lack substance.

I agree with your assessment of the antigovernment ideology sentence, but you have to admit that most of what Krugman has been writing is not of that level of quality. He has become the very definition of a hack: a writer who aims solely for commercial success. In that vein, he has been quite successful.

His defenders will say that desperate times call for desperate measures--that the failures of the Bush administration make his criticism necessary. But that's utter nonsense. Krugman's Iraq columns almost lead us to forget a critical fact: Paul Krugman is not a foreign policy analyst--he's an economist. He knows as well as you and I that he is most productive in the field he specialized in. If his vituperation belongs anywhere, it's in the arena of economic policy.

But even in that realm, we have evidence that Krugman's volte-face is not simply a response to trying times. On multiple economic issues, it is clear that Krugman has moved leftward. The most glaring example is the minimum wage, which he denounced in a pre-NYT column but now supports as an imperfect way to help the working folks. The same contradictions are evident in his explanations of growing inequality.

Donald Douglas said...

Actually, you don't "need to fix it." Blogging is blogging and academic-journal writing is academic-journal writing (or commentary-page writing is commentary-page writing). Sometimes scholars need to just cut loose when blogging, because it's really a personal outlet where expounding one's beliefs is central to the enterprise (that's why people call blogs online diaries rather than online un-peer reviewed semi-academic discourses). Congratulations on making it to year two!

Burkean Reflections

Tom C said...

You should definitely keep it up...I like pointing you out to very left-leaning people on other boards as a reasonable center-right blogger. Can't get enough of those on either side, I'm afraid.