Megan McAddled Swims With The Sharks

…and, by “sharks,” I mean “actual, credentialed economists” (which McAddled is not).

It all started with a post by her colleague James Fallows at The Atlantic. Read it if you’re interested in a full picture of the back story.

McAddled’s take-away from Fallows’ post was that he was repeating a popular but false liberal misconception: that Herbert Hoover wasn’t in favor of austerity. Hoover Was No Budget Cutter was the exact title of her post, in fact. You can read it yourself if you need some amusement.

But the real amusement (for me, anyway) has come from watching UC Berkeley economics professor Brad DeLong repeatedly beclown McAddled with the historical record, here, here, here, here and…well…you get the idea – though there’s actually two or three more where that came from. In fact, professor DeLong’s just sort of piling on at this point.

Normally, I’d think such piling on a bit dickish (hey, if Mark Halperin can say it on Morning Joke, I can sure say it on my own blog. I lerves teh internets). But in this case, I actually think there’s a point to Professor DeLong’s extended rhetorical dope-slap of McAddled. What I think professor DeLong is trying to do (at the risk of appearing mildly “dickish”) is so thoroughly defeat a bad – and historically inaccurate and revisionist – idea SO completely that it doesn’t have a chance to take root.

This has been part of the problem with politics in America for at least fifteen years: ideas which are simply not factual or historically supported get floated by partisan axe-grinders or people with something to gain by floating them, and the people who know better have not aggressively pursued those ideas with the truth. We need to do that, every time. There will always be a segment of the population that will believe what it wishes to believe, regardless of the facts. But most people can be swayed by facts, especially if they come in the form of settled history AND an explanation of why they are correct.

It’s only when the people who know better allow propaganda disseminators like the people at FAUX ‘News’ to endlessly repeat factoids like McAddled’s, that such ahistorical narratives have a chance to take hold. We have an astonishing number of people in the United States today who doubt evolution, for crying out loud. I can remember reading Inherit The Wind in 9th grade, and thinking “wow, I sure am glad ignorance like this is behind us now.” But here we are, with decades of progress and evidence between us and the Scopes monkey trial upon which ITW was based, and we’re still having the same discussion.

So, hats off to professor DeLong for so forcefully shoving this latest attempt to rehabilitate Hoover and/or pin the depression on Roosevelt back into the “just not true” column. We need more like this.