Jonathan Gruber in the Hot Seat

I want to hear what everyone really thinks. So I hate it when people get punished for being frank about their views. Jonathan Gruber is in that situation now. If you haven’t seen it, it is well worth the 55 seconds to watch this video of Jonathan’s comments. Then to see an example of the trouble this has brought him, take a look at what Peggy Noonan wrote in her November 21, 2014 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal (to jump over the paywall, google the title “The Nihilist in the White House”): 

ObamaCare … has been done in now by the mindless, highhanded bragging of a technocrat who helped build it, and who amused himself the past few years explaining that the law’s passage was secured only by lies, and the lies were effective because the American people are stupid. Jonah Goldberg of National Review had a great point the other day: They build a thing so impenetrable, so deliberately impossible for any normal person to understand, and then they denigrate them behind their backs for not understanding.

One is most likely to be punished for being frank about one’s views if (a) one has not been frank about them all along and (b) if one’s views–or attitudes communicated along with those views–have unappealing aspects to them. So, with due allowance for the constraints one is under, one should (a) seek to be as frank as possible early on and (b) strive for views and attitudes that are as enlightened as possible to begin with.  

The other lesson from Jonathan Gruber’s experience is that, more and more, one must be ready for everything one says to be totally public. For that, I think it is good preparation to have had a blog at some point during one’s career (ideally starting early enough that any mistakes or infelicities can be put down to the inexperience of youth), since blogging seriously involves saying many, many things, all of which are intended to be fully public.  

Note: On the subject of telling the truth, you might be interested in these two posts: