The Galbraith Revival

After reading Dalrymple’s criticism of John Kenneth Galbraith in this new City Journal piece, I can only (once again) marvel at the ability of eminent intellectuals, such as the famed economist, to build high levels of academic and social respectability on mountains of absurdities. Dalrymple gives us…

…Galbraith on Communism:

He was always disparaging about the danger of Communism—for example, arguing that it posed no real threat to the Third World…The main function of what Galbraith writes is to minimize the horrors of Communism, upon which he has hardly a word. Indeed, strict political control never intrudes much on his consciousness when he is in the Communist world. “I have generally avoided quoting by name my Polish…sources in this account,” he writes. “This is not because I have any great fear of compromising them. Many people…take no small pride in speaking plainly and do so without evident restraint.”

…Galbraith on China:

Time and again, he offers vignettes of the Cultural Revolution like this one: “The workers were rather proud of having confined their fighting to the morning…Sadly some windows did get broken.” Thus Galbraith discusses the greatest episode of deliberate cultural vandalism of modern history, accompanied as it was by human cruelty on a gargantuan scale.

…Galbraith on the free market:

“Having stopped the sale of all new tires,” he writes, “we had now to find some way of selling them again but only to the necessary and needful.”

…Galbraith on Galbraith:

Galbraith’s egotism and condescension toward most of the human race is evident in his admiration for Franklin D. Roosevelt—or rather, in the grounds for that admiration…“I turn now to Franklin Roosevelt, the first and in many ways the greatest of those I encountered over a lifetime. And the one, more than incidentally, who accorded me the most responsibility.” I think you would have to have a pretty tough carapace of self-regard not to recognize the absurdity of this, or to have the gall to commit it to print.

One thought on “The Galbraith Revival

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *