Serious People


Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Krugman:

I do have one qualm, though, which isn’t really about Bernanke, but rather about the broader symbolism of the reappointment — namely, it unfortunately seems to be a reaffirmation of Serious Person Syndrome, aka it’s better to have been conventionally wrong than unconventionally right.

Thus, you’re not considered serious on national security unless you bought the case for invading Iraq, even though the skeptics were completely right; you’re not considered a serious political commentator unless you dismissed all the things those reflexive anti-Bushists were saying, even though they all turn out to have been true; and you’re not considered serious about economic policy unless you dismissed warnings about a housing bubble and waved off worries about future crises.

All that while praising Bernanke’s reappointment as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Still, though, he has a point about Serious Person Syndrome. That’s the important part. Come on, Bernanke nominated for another term? Was that somehow unexpected?

So, anyway, I looked up the phrase, and aside from Schott’s Vocab, where I picked this up, the phrase isn’t largely used. The rest of the Google result is dominated by “Stiff Person Syndrome”.

So now I want to call the Bernankes and such, the Serious Person Syndrome people, well, yeah.

Never mind.

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