Paul Krugman has an interesting article in the Dec. 31st New York Times, where he explains two new terms as they apply to intelligent discussions. I plan to start using them. Thanks to Leisureguy for the find.

A zombie idea is an idea that should have died long ago in the face of evidence or logic, but just keeps shambling forward, eating peoples’ brains. I first saw the term in the context of Canadian health care, where it was used with respect to assertions that hordes of Canadians are crossing the border in search of care, or vast numbers of Canadian doctors emigrating. But it applies to many concepts, like the insistence that cutting tax rates on the wealthy leads to soaring economic growth, which remains dogma on the right in the teeth of all the evidence.

A cockroach idea is a bit different: it’s an idea whose wrongness is so obvious, once pointed out, that the people who stated it claim that they did no such thing — so that at first you think you have a weasel problem, but at least the cockroaches are gone. Next thing you know, however, the roaches have invaded all over again.

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