Lott couldn't even be fairly described as calling liberals stupid. They just believe "different facts," as he put it. Facts other than his number-crunching study analyzing 18 years of crime data from every county in the nation, for example. That study famously demonstrated that concealed-carry laws reduce certain types of crime. Lott's results contradicted the prevailing liberal ethos on guns, and liberals are hopping mad about it.Consequently, it was kind of a shock to see the hard-nosed economist getting all gooey-eyed and "We Are the World" sappy when discussing the people who have declared World War III on him. He adamantly refuses to believe that anyone would knowingly support a policy that costs lives.
This is where economics and politics clash. As Franklin D. Roosevelt's pal "Uncle Joe" Stalin summarized the politician's view: "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic."
Pumping fresh data into the evil-or-stupid debate, the week after our dinner a liberal weekly published an article on Lott. It was not immediately clear what prompted Newsweek to write about him. There was no new law, study or sensational crime in the news. (The school shooting in California came days after the article was published.)
There was, however, a nice new Republican president. One of the liberal arguments against Lott's study is that no one should hire him. Not universities and -- just in case a Republican administration might be interested in hiring an economist who is not intimidated by liberal censors -- not the Bush administration either.
Consequently, Newsweek ran a timely piece on Lott, stating in a neutral, nonjudgmental way that he is "vicious," as if it were a bullet point on his resume. This is another important liberal argument against Lott's research -- the man is "vicious."
The article also revealed insights only a telepath or psychiatrist could claim to know, such as Lott's purported "need to attack." It was reminiscent of the FACT magazine article published during the 1964 presidential campaign that quoted numerous psychiatrists saying Barry Goldwater was -- in their professional opinion -- nuts.