Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Blogosphere?

. Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Brad Delong falls into his own trap. He titles a post "No Jews Need Apply..." for the post-Buckley editorship of the National Review and quotes the following section from a 2007 TNR article:

To this day, Buckley's politics are grounded less in democratic values--"Democracy just doesn't work, much of the time," he observed in a 2004 column--than in the twin virtues of Catholicism and capitalism.... Gradually, [National Review] became less Catholic than "Christian." But that was the limit of Buckley's ecumenicalism. In 1997, when he was scouring the ranks of talented younger conservatives to find a new editor for National Review, Buckley eliminated one prospect, his one time protege David Brooks, a rising star at The Weekly Standard. In a memo to board members, Buckley reported that he had discussed Brooks with NR alum George Will: "I said that I thought it would be wrong for the next editor to be other than a believing Christian."

DeLong is gleeful that he has caught Buckley in trap ("How did I miss this?"), but if he had managed to read the beginning of the same paragraph he might've noticed this:

Broadly tolerant, Buckley extirpated anti-Semitism from the postwar conservative movement in the 1950s and has since jokingly proposed that Israel be made the fifty-first state.

Maybe, just maybe, Buckley's inconsideration of Brooks had nothing to do with the fact the Brooks is an ethnic Jew per se, and everything to do with the fact that Buckley wanted the National Review to continue its legacy as an overtly orthodox Christian publication. Given Buckley's known proclivities, this seems more likely than a spurious allegation of anti-semitism.

And anyway, would DeLong have preferred Brooks to be the editor of NR? I think not.

Brad DeLong expects more from the mainstream press and blogosphere. Maybe we should expect more from him.


brad said...

Don't be an idiot.

David Brooks is smart, articulate, has an eye for good prose, and tries at least a quarter of a time to grapple with the dilemmas of conservatism in the twenty-first century, and only spends three-quarters of his time pandering to the prejudices of the base.

That's much, much better than National Review's current trajectory. Brooks would be a vast improvement.

Well, maybe you cannot help it. But please don't reveal you are an idiot so blatantly...

Kindred Winecoff said...

Brad -

Don't be so pissy.

Forgive me if my impression of your impression of Brooks is colored by your writings on Brooks. The google site search of your blog that I linked to shows numerous calls for Brooks' dismissal, claims that he never writes in good faith (in your comment you claim he does so at least 25% of the time), that he steals his paycheck, cannot add, and is a general menace to society. And that's just on the first page of the search, and only in the titles of the posts. In fact, I can't think of any way in which you've been less critical of Brooks than you have of NR, and I've read your blog every day for 4 years.

All of which I'm fine with; I'm no lover of Brooks (or NR), and you may be right that NR has sunk so low that Brooks would represent an improvement. In fact, I never said he wouldn't be. But why not make that case instead of lazily invoking anti-semitism? Why not mention that Brooks fell out with the NR crew because he isn't a Goldwater conservative? Or because he isn't even a social conservative?

If you saw something idiotic in that post, well, I've done little but cite your sentiments, link to your posts, and ask that you argue in good faith rather than by insinuation. Which of those do you object to?

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Blogosphere?
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