Anti-Intellectualism Goes Mainstream

David Frum looks at the rise of the Republican Fringe and says the conservative movement needs to engage in some self-criticism — the anti-intellectualism and suspicion of expertise they’ve encouraged have allowed Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul to break through despite having quack economic policy ideas. In response Ross points out that Rudy Giuliani has a quack economic policy idea at the center of his campaign, too “I know that reducing taxes produces more revenue. The Democrats don’t know that. They don’t believe that.” And yet Frum somehow can’t find the strength to criticize him.

And in some ways, I’d note that it’s even worse than yet. Mitt Romney, presumably under Greg Mankiw’s influence, has always carefully refrained from saying he thinks cutting taxes increases revenue. But he still swears allegiance to the Gospel of Neverending Tax Cuts. And more to the point, he won’t criticize his rivals for their adherence to a crackpot notion because he thinks that would be a losing issue for him. The rot goes all the way up and down the structure.