From one of the worlds of macroeconomics — which is almost entirely different from the subject of this blog in terms of political leanings and subject matter, but remarkably similar in terms of politics and basic science — comes this observation about why the liars do what they do. My edits of the first paragraph to translate it into the anti-THR world substantially change the original content, obviously (though anyone who chooses to compare them to the original, and is familiar with both fields, will recognize that the points are subtle parallels). But the balance remains almost spot-on.
What I think is happening is that [they] have put themselves in a box. They threw themselves – and their personal reputations – completely behind the various elements of [prohibitionist anti-THR] doctrine: [banning and discouraging low-risk alternatives to smoking because this would somehow be beneficial rather than harmful, claiming that THR causes smoking rather than prevents it], and so on. And […] the terrible thing was that their policy ideas were actually implemented, with disastrous results; on top of which their intellectual heroes have turned out to have feet of clay, or maybe Silly Putty.
As I see it, the sheer enormity of their error makes it impossible for them to respond to criticism in any reasonable way. They have to lash out any way they can, whether it’s ad hominem attacks on the critics or bitter complaints about bad manners.
And by such pettiness the world is governed.
In the “About this blog” tab I identified some of this as one of the reasons for why there are so many anti-THR lies. But I overlooked a few of the nuances that were pointed out in the above, and so have updated the page (the last point in the bullet list).
The stated motivation by the author, Paul Krugman, for these observations was this lead paragraph, which is also remarkably familiar (again, with the obvious edit to change contexts):
When it comes to inflicting pain on the citizens [who want to use tobacco, they] are all steely determination – hey, it’s a tough world, and hard choices have to be made. But when they or their friends come under criticism, suddenly it’s all empathy and hurt feelings.