Jonathan Chait

A Sincere Apology To Megan McArdle

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Last week, Michael Kinsley wrote a really smart column completely dismantling the shoddy mathematical underpinnings of Greg Mankiw's self-pitying column about how high marginal tax rates will ruin his children's life. I linked it, with the headline, "Kinsley Curb Stomps Mankiw." This has Megan McArdle quite upset, and convinced once again that bloggers who are not Megan McArdle are driven by rage:

Call me a vaporing language nanny, but I thought it was pretty creepy when Jon Chait described another liberal journalist, Michael Kinsley, another journalist, as "curb stomping" economist Greg Mankiw for, yes, daring to suggest that higher marginal tax rates might have incentive effects.  Woo-hoo!   ...

But why stop with curb-stomping?  Wouldn't it be fun to pile ten-thousand gleaming skulls of supply-siders outside the Heritage Offices?  We could mount Art Laffer's head on a rotating musical pike that plays The Stars and Stripes Forever!  Then, in the most hilarious surprise ending of all, the mob could turn on Jon Chait, douse him with gasoline and set him on fire, and then sack the offices of the New Republic!

Somehow, that's not actually funny.

I'm willing to take my chances that the blog headline in question does not lead to me being burned alive. But, honestly, I'm sorry I gave offense. It was a headline I wrote quickly, and I thought the image of Mike Kinsley engaged in an act of violence was kind of funny because Mike is not really the violent sort, to say the least. Anyway, one person's little joke is another person's "rage of people who cannot bear to see their sacred ideals profaned," to quote McArdle.

Anyway, like I said, I'm not really worried that my blog item will instigate mobs to violence. But there's no point in causing McArdle such immense trauma over something I considered so trivial. So I will hereby endeavor to avoid any future headlines that would seem to celebrate violence or conceivably endanger the physical safety of Arthur Laffer or anybody else.

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