New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been having a public meltdown since Donald Trump won the presidential election. Like most people in the throes of a public meltdown, he has been spending far too much time on Twitter.
Krugman, a self-professed economic genius, is currently being mocked for his unusual change of heart on the topic of budget deficits. After years of writing angsty columns about why “nobody cares about the budget deficit,” he has suddenly decided, now that a Republican has been elected president, that “deficits matter again.”
The Times columnist has spent most of his time since the election ranting about Trump. On Tuesday, he penned a bizarre Tweetstorm in which he recalled a conversation he’d once had with a wounded Marine veteran, and offered his take on the celebrity feud between Meryl Streep and Donald Trump.
“The whole Streep-Trump thing reminds me of a theme that has been running through my thoughts a lot lately—namely, the death of honor,” Krugman wrote on Twitter. “What do I mean? Well, I probably wouldn’t have used that word if I hadn’t once had a conversation with a young former Marine.”
(This recalls the time Krugman proudly announced he had once taken a ride on the New York subway.)
The former Marine “had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and been badly wounded,” but fully recovered, according to Krugman. “You might think this would make him glad to be done, but he was finding it hard.”
The Marine told Krugman his difficulty in adjusting stemmed from the fact that “There’s no honor in civilian life.” Krugman, who was never wounded in combat, reflected on the Marine’s words in his Tweetstorm on Tuesday, and proceeded to explain (again) why Trump and his supporters are bad.
“I think I know what he meant,” the columnist wrote. “It’s not just lack of heroism. None of us can know how we’d behave facing what he faced. But even the ordinary rules of taking responsibility for your actions—what my parents called “being a mensch”—seem to have vanished.”
As you might expect, Trump is Krugman’s exhibit A for the loss of civility and honor in today’s society. “We’re about to install a man who is clearly incapable of taking responsibility for anything, of ever admitting to a mistake or a personal fault,” he wrote of Trump. “He mocks the disabled, then cravenly denies having done so.”
There was a time, Krugman lamented, when “such a man would have been utterly shunned. Now, it’s hard to avoid the sense that [Trump’s] lack of honor and menschhood, his cowardly-bully persona, is part of what his supporters like—it makes him one of them.”
Cool story, bro. Probably exactly what the wounded Marine would have said, you know, if he was smart enough to be a New York Times columnist.
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