Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek quotes from Deirdre McCloskey’s outstanding Bourgeois Equality in his Bonus Quotation of the Day:
Members of the left clerisy, such as Tony Judt or Paul Krugman or Thomas Piketty, who are quite sure that they themselves are taking the ethical high road against the wicked selfishness of Tories or Republicans or La Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, might on such evidence be considered dubiously ethical. They are obsessed with first-act changes that cannot much help the poor, and often can be shown to damage them grievously, and are obsessed with an angry envy at the consumption of the very rich. They are willing to stifle, through taxing the earners of high wages or profits, the trade-tested betterments that in the long run have gigantically helped the poor. It’s an intellectual crime.
and then adds his own comment:
People who find merit in the ‘redistributionist’ proposals championed by the likes of Krugman and Piketty – or in those offered by politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton – are shallow, careless, and uncreative thinkers. They fancy themselves to be “progressive” only because they are apparently too ignorant, too simple-minded, or too lazy to comprehend the world in its full complexity, complete with all its many unintended consequences. Such people see only the surface. They hear only the loudest voices shrieking in the foreground. They are blind and deaf to the depth and complexity of human society. They are under the delusion that because they use terms such as “Gini coefficient” and “income quintiles” that they are entitled to advise the state to (attempt to) reorder society according to the their fancies.
I consider pseudo intellectuals to be those that use high minded concepts and delusional tools to obscure the shallowness of their ideas. They consider themselves ‘pragmatic’ and ‘progressive’ as if they are immune from the biases they possess. They can document endless evidence to reach the wrong conclusions.
The redistributionists refuse to address the friction costs consumed by the government which runs as high as 80%, the social and personal costs of bestowing money on those who have not earned it in the name of social justice, the limits such programs must have or their failures.