Monday, February 02, 2015

Other Voices In The Hurricane

As I have said on many occasions, the most truly Conservative thing about Andrew Sullivan is his willingness to carve whole slabs of the past out of existence and fill in the holes with Fizzy Burkean Lifting Drink in order retroactively load the dice to make them roll the way he wants them to:
Something Something Whig Something Something Burke, Ctd.

Mr. Sullivan continues his demented, long-running performance of "Something Something Whig Something Something Burke" at the Theater of Conservative Make-Believe, once again putting Mr. Potato-head eyes on the steaming turd that is Modern Conservatism and pretending it's really a misunderstood Colonel Steve Austin action figure just itching to bust out of its box and put its Bionic Burke Power Arm to work saving the world.
Which is where my libertarianism cedes to conservatism. At some point, freedom must be tempered if its impact undermines the very social contract that allows it to exist. The inequality we are experiencing as a function of globalization, technology, recession and a tax system so complex it beggars understanding is a real and direct threat to our social coherence and stability as a democratic society. It seems to me conservatives should be among the first to recognize this danger – as Bismarck and Disraeli once did – and forge a public policy to counter it.

This conservatism would embrace universal healthcare as a bulwark of democratic legitimacy in an age of such extremes; it should break up the banks and bring back Glass-Steagall; it should drastically simplify the tax code, ridding it of special interest deductions; it should construct an international agreement to prevent the egregious and disgusting tax avoidance of a company like Apple; and it should seek to invest and innovate in education and infrastructure. 

Some of this inequality cannot be stopped, the globalizing forces behind it are so strong. But mitigating its damage is a real challenge. And conservatives who believe that we are one nation should rise to it.
Busting up banks? Universal health care? Spending real money on infrastructure and education?  As pillars of Conservatism?

Somewhere in the wilds of Vermont, Bernie Sanders is laughing hard enough to shart maple syrup into orbit.

It is in the baroque grandiosity of the lies Mr. Sullivan tells himself about Conservatism that he is at his most Conservative.

Something Something Bismarck Something Something Disraeli.
It turns out, I'm not the only one who noticed.

From The Nation (h/t Tengrain):
Sullivan Versus Sullivan
Eric Alterman on February 2, 2015 - 2:16 PM ET
How was The New Republic so crucial a bastion of American liberalism if under Andrew, it published and promoted Charles Murray’s racist pseudoscience? (Andrew: “one of my proudest moments in journalism.”) And ditto Betsy McCaughey’s lying, dishonest takedown of Clinton’s health care reform? (Andrew: “I was aware of the piece’s flaws but nonetheless was comfortable running it as a provocation.”) And if it were so dedicated to serious, thoughtful journalism, what the hell was Andrew doing publishing Camille Paglia on “Hillary the man-woman and bitch goddess.” And do I even need to mention that he appointed Stephen Glass as the magazine’s first-ever head of fact-checking? 
But even funnier are the positions Andrew himself took. Back in the days when he was still part-Marty Peretz, Sullivan literally called me a traitor to my country, telling an outright lie about my allegedly stated views on Afghanistan. I repeatedly offered to give thousands of dollars to charity if Andrew could substantiate his lie but he never even tried. He also attacked me as a purveyor of hateful anti-Semitism owing to my analysis of the media coverage of Israel, comparing one of my columns to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Now, he has done a complete 180 and is far more critical of Israel than I ever was (or will be) and viciously attacks the people who used to be his comrades, thereby inspiring his one-time friends and colleagues to wonder why Andrew, himself, hates the Jews. So the old Andrew would have called the new Andrew a traitor and an anti-Semite. And the new Andrew apparently thinks the old Andrew is an idiot, who supported stupid imperialist wars and ran interference for evil countries. (Notice I did not even have to bring up the Trigg thing.) If this person is the most influential “intellectual” in America as I have seen two people claim in recent days, then that’s about the worst thing I’ve ever heard anyone say about my country. Andrew is to intellectuals what Sarah Palin is to politicians and Vanilla Ice was to hip-hop. Seriously, I do not begrudge Andrew his role as a pioneer blogger, nor his genius for self-promotion, but what I find most impressive about him is his ability to somehow convince people not to hold him responsible for the consequences of his atrocious judgment...
I see from Ezra Klein that Andrew Sullivan says that he’s stopping blogging; Klein and others are offering various encomiums. You’ll pardon me if I don’t join in. You see, I remember Sullivan declaring that the “decadent left” was poised to become a fifth column in the war on terror — and of course I remember the campaign of character assassination he waged against yours truly for daring to criticize his then-beloved George W. Bush and his wars. If he ever apologized for any of that, I never heard about it.
As a Liberal, you spend most of your time shouting into the abyss that you get used to perpetually being drowned out be the sheer decibel roar of Hate Radio and conspicuously ignored by the entire Beltway press corps.

So every now and then it's nice to know that you are not entirely alone.

As I recall, that was very the impetus for the First Golden Age of Blogging and I see no reason why it should not be the thing that spurs a Second.   


Neo Tuxedo said...

So every now and then it's nice to know that you are not entirely alone.

"I am surrounded by psychotics. Often I suspect I am one. Then certain records come out and I know I am not alone."
-- Lester Bangs, reviewing Public Image Limited's Metal Box

blackdaug said...

The other night, I caught the tail end of a great movie I hadn't seen in many a year: "The Sweet Smell of Success."
One of Lancaster's great performances nailing down yet another maker of kings in Walter Winchell.
The day of the merciless red baiting demagog / press agent was stomped down in the post McCarthy era only to be gloriously reborn with the war bloggers like Sully in the so called "golden age" of blogging.
The main difference being, for most of the decade, he had a paid staff of lick spittles like Tony Curtis portrayed to do his bidding.
Sully spent years with his modern day equivalent of a Rolodex, attacked those who displeased him mercilessly,(sorry Alec more show for you) and could pull up a chair at any roundtable he felt like at a moments notice.
He was almost a regular on Maher's show until one of the cat fights over his weird love of gay hating Catholicism became a little too much to bear.
He used the same tactics as Winchell and was just as sleazy about the way he wielded his vicious keyboard.
..but to give him heft as some sort of public intellectual? Obituaries to his "influential blogging career"?
After spending 8 years watching him cozy the testicles of every evil moron in the shrub White house - without even mentioning his pure nationally disseminated racist bullshit?
What fucking decade are these people remembering?
Screw this asshole, he deserved every post you slapped him with and a million more.

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good morining, Mr. Glass.

You guys should do something with this "decadent left" thing.

"This is the Decadent Left Podcast with the Gallivanting Bauble and Madame de Cerulean."

Enjoy your day.

---Kevin Holsinger