I wrote my earlier post this morning when I woke up in the middle of the night. I finally got back to sleep and woke up with another thought.
Here would be a test of Scott Sumner's claim. You would apply it to people who you think have shown bad faith in the current Halbig debate. In Scott's view, that is intellectuals, by which he seems to mean virtually all intellectuals.
The test is this:
Take some policy issue in which a proponent wants a particular outcome, say, tort reform. Someone proposes a piece of legislation that does everything the proponent wants. It's a beautiful piece of legislation. This same proponent, though, thinks that the U.S. Constitution does not give the federal government any power to legislate in the area of tort reform. A Supreme Court, with at least 5 justices hostile to tort reform, overturns the federal legislation. Does the proponent congratulate or castigate the Supreme Court's ruling? I'm not asking whether the proponent congratulates or castigates the Court's reasoning: you can get to a good conclusion with bad reasoning.
P.S. I should add, in case it wasn't clear, that I argue about this with Scott Sumner because I do think of him as someone who argues in good faith. It was the fact that Scott made the claim he did that I found so disturbing. There are people in the blogosphere, who, if they made the charge Scott made, I would feel much less inclined to argue with.