In a talk live-streamed from the main branch of the New York Public Library last night, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist who teaches at the City University of New York, had few action-steps to recommend to his audience whom, he seemed to assume, were, like him, academics (or, at least, readers of The New York Review of Books).
Krugman seemed to be pondering his own role as a public intellectual in the time of Trump, echoing the point of view expressed by journalist Masha Gessen (formerly a journalist in Putin’s Russia), writing in NY Review of Books about strategies for living under the thumb of an autocracy.
Chief among these was the importance of resisting the reassurance of how much remains the same, downplaying or denying the impact of corruption, intimidation, self-censorship and the loss of freedoms, most significantly of speech. Most memorably, to me, Krugman called for “radical non-cooperation” with policies and initiatives (such as, currently, the proposal to grant an exception that would compromise civilian control of the military by naming as Secretary of Defense a general who has not been out of the military the seven years required by law).
Don’t give up and hide, he added, and don’t accommodate actions or policies that compromise your principles.
I think the path forward for those on the left will become clearer as events unfold. The emerging story, for example, that Washington lobbyists like former Senator Bob Dole are shaping foreign policy — specifically, sidestepping U.S. policy re China and cozying up to Taiwan before Trump is even officially installed as president. ###
You can stream Krugman's talk here: https://livestream.com/theNYPL/events/6484656
(Photo credit not provided.)