Monday, December 27, 2010
Krugman on Scrooge
Paul Krugman had a column shortly before Christmas in which he compared Scrooge to many Republicans. He notes that Charles Dickens' Christmas classic is actually a left-wing tract. However, I wonder if he endorses all of Dickens' work. According to the excellent book, HOW THE DISMAL SCIENCE GOT ITS NAME, Dickens wrote BLEAK HOUSE as an antidote to UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, with the purpose of showing that the suffering of white factory workers was more severe than the suffering of black slaves. Like Thomas Carlyle, who coined the term "dismal science" in an article entitled, "On the Negro Question," Dickens believed that whites were superior to blacks and that enslavement of blacks apparently was fine. I recognize that endorsing one opinion of a particular writer doesn't imply that one endorses all the opinions, but since Krugman is so quick to tarnish with a broad brush, maybe it is justified in this case.