An Open Letter

TO: Thomas Piketty

FROM: Pejman Yousefzadeh

RE: Incurring Paul Krugman’s Contempt

Dear Professor Piketty:

Congratulations on successfully positioning yourself so that you may be looked down upon by Paul Krugman until the end of time itself. Your ability to cause Professor Krugman to consider you to be less intellectually developed than your average paramecium–and make no mistake; this is what he must think of you right now, given that you have the temerity to disagree with him–is tremendously impressive and merits your warm welcome into a special club of people whom Professor Krugman considers to be the dust and grime beneath the soles of his shoes.

We are working on tailoring your dinner and smoking jackets; you should have them delivered to you shortly. In the meantime, you can expect the following now that you are the latest target of Professor Krugman’s ire and disdain:

  • Constant and incessant talk about how you supposedly believe in some kind of “Education Fairy” who will reduce inequality. Professor Krugman enjoys claiming that his intellectual opponents are guided by magical thinking, and he will argue that your alleged belief in the Education Fairy shows that you are but the latest in a long line of people to forgo reliance on facts in favor of believing in the supernatural.
  • Professor Krugman will not be content to consider you merely stupid. Neither will Professor Krugman be content to consider you merely evil. No; Professor Krugman will be sure to consider you both stupid and evil. Yes, you read that right; Professor Krugman will argue that you are a slack-jawed idiot, drooling constantly and unstoppably out of the side of your mouth, while at the same time claiming that you are some kind of malignant mastermind who is out to ruin the utopia Professor Krugman has kindly and brilliantly planned out for the rest of us mere mortals. Please know that when it comes to Professor Krugman, it is never enough to merely question the intelligence of intellectual and political opponents. Professor Krugman insists upon questioning the motives of those intellectual and political opponents as well.
  • As James Pethokoukis states, you will–in addition to being called stupid and evil–also be called unserious, or a “Very Serious Person” all the time (note that “Very Serious Person” is meant to be used ironically). Get used to it.

Of course, it should be noted that you support massive taxation as well, in order to reduce inequality, so it might be argued that there is no substantial difference between your position and that of Professor Krugman. But to Professor Krugman, this will not matter. You disagree with Professor Krugman’s stance on whether education can help reduce inequality, and as far as he is and will be concerned, that is enough to earn you a lifetime of lip-curling sneers from Professor Krugman.

Once again, Professor Piketty, we congratulate you most heartily on having caused Professor Krugman to consider you his latest Public Enemy Number One. If there is anything that can be done to make your life any more intolerable, please do feel free to let Professor Krugman know; he does so enjoy spreading misery around.

Yours truly and sincerely,

Pejman Yousefzadeh


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