Accuracy in quoting: Hotheads after Kennedy again

November 5, 2007

Historian David Kennedy of Stanford University attracts flack almost everywhere he writes, these days, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

A couple of years ago the neocons were angry at him for saying that America’s people are generally unconnected to America’s soldiers in Iraq, and that’s bad for policy. But a few months later when others noted exactly the same thing and issued the same call Kennedy issued to support troops, neocon pundits were quick to praise the idea they’d claimed was destructive a few weeks earlier.

Kennedy wrote a review of economist Paul Krugman’s Conscience of a Liberal, for the New York Times. It’s arcane, sure, but economist Brad DeLong at UCLA takes Kennedy to task for not understanding laissez faire economics well enough.

Academic disputes are so bitter because the stakes are so small, still.

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