Hating Economists

A few years ago at an interdisciplinary conference I met an English professor and, in a spunky mood, asked "So why do you guys hate us economists?"  I fully expected to hear "Oh we don’t hate you, though we do think you mistaken about …"  But in fact he said "You know why."  I have since received similar reactions from other academics, sometimes in their words but more often in their eyes – their dislike for economics goes way beyond the disrespect implied by a differing opinion.  Many quite openly despise economics and economists. 

So why aren’t such expressions considered hate speech?  Remember, Wikipedia says hate speech is:

Speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against a person or group of people based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language ability, moral or political views, socioeconomic class, occupation or appearance (such as height, weight, and hair color), mental capacity and any other distinction-liability. [emphasis added]

Certainly in this case, and perhaps in most cases, I’d rather the conversation continue, even when hateful, than to just shut everyone up.  I would love to sit down with smart economics haters and talk it out.

Added: When someone complains about being subject to "hate speech", the usual response is not to explain to them why people could have come to hate them.  So why the different treatment when an economist complains? 

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