When James M. Buchanan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1986 the first thing he said at his George Mason University press conference was that the award "does not make me an instant expert in everything." Buchanan was well aware – and amused – at how previous recipients of the award had made fools of themselves by viewing the award as a license to pontificate about anything and everything, whether they knew anything about the subject or not.
No such modesty and sense of reality occupies the mind of a more recent Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman. As a New York Times columnist he has always done what all New York Times columnists do – pretend that he does in fact know everything about everything. A case in point is his March 29 New York Times blog entitled "Road to Appomattox Blogging." After mentioning how the Times has a special "Disunion" blog to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the war, Krugman gives a hilarious, elementary-schoolish rendition of his "take" on the "Civil War."
Krugman said he has always been infatuated by the "symbolism" of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, with "Lee the patrician in his dress uniform," compared to General Grant, who was "still muddy and disheveled from hard riding." Krugman is apparently unaware that in 1860, on the eve of the war, Robert E. Lee was in his thirty-second year as an officer in the United States Army, performing mostly as a military engineer. He was hardly a "patrician" or member of a ruling class. Grant, by contrast, was the overseer of an 850-acre slave plantation owned by his wealthy father-in-law. The plantation, located near St. Louis, was known as "White Haven" (which sounds like it could have been named by the KKK) and is today a national park. (On the "White Haven" Web site the National Park Service euphemistically calls Grant the "manager" of the slave plantation rather than the more historically-accurate word "overseer").
Article on Lew Rockwell website.