Michael Kinsley on Disagreement
By Arnold Kling
Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, wrote over the weekend that the “biggest culprit in our current predicament [is] the childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.”
Defending Weisberg, Kinsley goes on to say,
it is silly to accuse people of arrogance for believing that they are right and that people who disagree with them are wrong.
But Weisberg did not simply assert that he is right and those with whom he disagrees are wrong. He delegitimized those with whom he disagrees as childish, ignorant, and incoherent.
Kinsley comes very close to saying that arrogance is nothing more nor less than believing that you are right. I think that to be arrogant requires more than believing that our are right. Being arrogant means dismissing your opponent’s qualification to voice an opinion. By that definition, Brad DeLong is to arrogance what Michael Jordan is to basketball. Tyler Cowen is not.
When you do not think that your opponent is qualified to voice an opinion, bipartisanship becomes very difficult to execute. There is an excellent discussion of this issue in the David Brooks interview that I recommended yesterday