And I don't limit this interest only to those with whom I agree. Which brings us to the crux of the post...
Our good friend Krugman had an interview where he was to name his five favorite books. I already knew about his affinity for Asimov's Foundation books. But it still creeps me out, his rationale. He admires the psychohistorians in the story, which is fine so far as it goes. But then he admits "I was probably 16 when I read it and I thought, 'I want to be one of those guys!' Unfortunately we don’t have anything like that and economics is the closest I could get."
Wouldn’t some people accuse you of having an extremely strong belief system? Isn’t there a sense among liberals that, “We’re in the right so we don’t have to pay too much attention to conservative or Republican arguments”?
In my experience with these things – which I find both within economics and more broadly – is that if you ask a liberal or a saltwater economist, “What would somebody on the other side of this divide say here? What would their version of it be?” A liberal can do that. A liberal can talk coherently about what the conservative view is because people like me actually do listen. We don’t think it’s right, but we pay enough attention to see what the other person is trying to get at. The reverse is not true. You try to get someone who is fiercely anti-Keynesian to even explain what a Keynesian economic argument is, they can’t do it. They can’t get it remotely right. Or if you ask a conservative, “What do liberals want?” You get this bizarre stuff – for example, that liberals want everybody to ride trains, because it makes people more susceptible to collectivism. You just have to look at the realities of the way each side talks and what they know. One side of the picture is open-minded and skeptical. We have views that are different, but they’re arrived at through paying attention. The other side has dogmatic views.
So the people, those presumptuous fools, who don't agree with Krugman and the like, those are the ones who are closed-minded. Progressives, Keynesians, et al. are the reasonable ones. They have perused all of the evidence and know the arguments coming and going, weighing everything carefully and judiciously and come to their convictions honestly. The people that don't agree with us? It is obvious that they haven't done all of the same things that we have because they don't agree with us. You see, we're right. We know we're right because we know what we think and what the others think (or at least have been told to think...dogmatically). We came to our conclusions after thinking.
I can't believe that I can still be surprised by the man's obnoxiousness, but there you have it.