The other day, Fox News Network’s Bill O’Reilly asked University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee a question. The subject was the socialistic gimme-gimme attitude of youthful Bernie Sanders supporters. The previous segment, “Watters’ World,” had paraded interviews with a handful of college students, asking them to clarify just how much free stuff they wanted.
It was a funny segment, if you think young people talking foolishly about government is funny.
Calling Sanders “the Giveaway King,” O’Reilly asked Goolsbee his general impression of the gimme-gimme attitude. It was the softest of softball questions. “What do you think about that?”
Talk about open-ended. Any response given thus says a lot about the interviewee, seeing how broad he may answer.
“Well, look, I’ve told you I’ve never been a big fan of socialism,” spake President Obama’s famed advisor. “I’m an economics professor.” Chuckling, he went on. “I’ve got the sense you don’t want these people getting free air to breathe. You’d like them to mail in their checks to make sure they work for it.”
Goolsbee could have started off as sensibly as he ended: “I’m against free stuff. Socialism doesn’t work. . . .”
He didn’t. He immediately reduced O’Reilly’s position to that of a straw man, using the reductio ad absurdum.
Why? For levity’s sake? Well, both O’Reilly and Goolsbee were jovial. . . .
But his nasty quip fulfilled a purpose, making sure that ideologues on the left continued to have license to think the worst about their opponents.
Thus Austan Goolsbee, despite his protests, carried water for crazed socialism.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
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