Whatever Happened to Critical Thinking?

Until Amity Shlaes published The Forgotten Man she was perceived as a pretty middle of the road economic writer who was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Her fantastic book is essential for people trying to understand the politics and policies of the Great Depression. The book is hardly controversial except that it points out Hoover and Roosevelt thought government intervention into the economy was the answer.

Liberals won’t read the book and the mischaracterizations from liberals isn’t surprising. Liberals aren’t critical thinkers anymore. When faced with a contrary argument liberals either call it sexist, racist, ignorant or incoherent.

So now Shlaes is an “anti-feminist bombthrower,” “conservative author,” “right-wing troll,” and for being “best known for mounting incoherent defenses of right-wing economic dogma.”

No, she’s best known for challenging the dogma of the left. I’m not even sure most liberals can discuss FDR in coherent terms. Such is the lack of basic history about the Great Depression that any rational argument against FDR’s policies is like arguing the Earth’s position in the cosmos.

In the 17th century the Catholic Church thought the Earth was the center of the universe. In the 21st century liberals believe that FDR is the center of the progressive universe. Any arguments to the contrary are heresy. Shlaes book isn’t anti-FDR, but when did the facts ever matter?

Last week Shlaes wrote an article about women working in venture capital. The gist of the article deals with the contrast between “safe” and “creative” companies.

Safe companies are full of rules and usually not full of profits. Companies that are growing fast may be less inclined to hire women in a lawsuit-happy society, which is Shlaes’ main point, but it’s lost on brain-dead liberals.

Such action forces the U.S. venture capitalists over a bit on the spectrum toward safety, and away from risk. It makes the old VC firms more like the public sector or traditional American corporations.

This isn’t to say that sexism or sexual harassment is acceptable, or that Pao should tolerate it, or that Kleiner Perkins shouldn’t take action against wrongdoers. It is to suggest that there is a cost to remedying the problem with showcase litigation.

Perhaps it’s because (generally speaking) liberals are so adamantly anti-business, but there are trade-offs with everything. Speaking about those trade-offs is apparently off limits, gauging by the left’s reaction to the article.

Eliminating profits from pharmaceutical companies in Europe may have made generic drugs cheaper, but the trade-off is they killed innovation and the industry. When you boil it all down liberals can identify a problem (sometimes), but they haven’ t thought through the solution. Next month Amity Shlaes releases her new book on Calvin Coolidge. I can’t wait to read it.

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