In the Arena

Kristol Mess

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Jon Chait catches Bill Kristol distorting Nancy Pelosi on the economic possibilities unleashed by the achievement of universal health care. For years, economists and policy-makers have said that if individuals with entrepreneurial ideas didn’t have to worry about health insurance, they’d be able to leave their corporate jobs and take a chance on starting a new business of their own…and perhaps unleash incredible economic energy. That was, in fact, a standard conservative argument for universal coverage back in the days when “conservative” didn’t mean reactionary populist nutball.

Chait is especially good at showing how Kristol’s distortions–attributing to Pelosi an elitist desire to liberate musicians and artists–reflect the left-wing propaganda of his parents’ generation. It is always good to remember that many current neocons are carrying the DNA, and the family cultural traditions, of those who fell for the Stalinist, Trotskyist and other assorted Marxist fallacies of the 1930’s. Extremism, it seems, begets extremism; propaganda begets propaganda; utopianism begets utopianism; lies beget lies.