I’ve already pointed out the two nicest things ever said about me. One was intentionally flattering, as Dick Armey mentioned in his book that I was one of the few people to take a principled stand against the TARP bailout back in 2008. The other was meant to be negative, as a left-wing English journalist said that I was “a high priest of light tax, small state libertarianism.” But I thought it was a wonderful endorsement.
Now the time has come for me to confess the nastiest things ever said about me. But I’m not thinking of the people who occasionally rip me in the comments section of this blog or attack me in the comments section of my videos.
Instead, I think it’s terrible when people say things that imply I might be getting soft and selling out.
This happens a lot in Washington, so much that free-market supporters call it the “strange new respect” award – a term that became infamous in certain circles after the Washington Post used it to applaud former Senator Bob Dole for acquiescing to the left on some issue.
Simply stated, if some statist person or institution is saying nice things about you, that probably means you’re doing something very bad. With that bit of background, here are the two awful things that were written about me.
o Albert Hunt used to write a weekly column for the Wall Street Journal, and was also a regular on CNN’s Capital Gang. He was a scion of establishment left-wing thinking, so I was horrified in 1994 when he wrote that I was a “responsible economic expert on the right.” After all, left wingers usually say people like me are “responsible” if we are willing to roll over and surrender.
o More recently, Nicholas Shaxson just wrote an anti-tax haven book called Treasure Islands. In one of the chapters, he wrote that I was one of the “noisiest and most active defenders” of low-tax jurisdictions. That was fine, but then he cold-cocked me by writing that I was “a man of striking warmth and great personal charm.” It goes without saying that this means I wasn’t vigorous enough in my defense of liberty during our meetings.
I don’t know if there’s a three-strikes-and-your-out policy, but I will work diligently to make sure I don’t receive any more praise from the wrong people.