Friday, January 17, 2014

How To Write A Post That Yields 850 Comments, 240 Tweets and Hundreds of Facebook "Likes"

Step 1:  Get a byline on a Big Media Platform.

Step 2:  Write a post repeating what Liberals have been saying for decades.
How Rush Limbaugh Decides What Is True
The talk-radio star explains his epistemology: True conservatives are always right.
Step 3:  Have your friends link to it.
Every now and again, a particularly rigid ideologue struts across the public stage. He may merely start out as a brawler or a comic or just a partisan, but eventually, as his awareness of his own ideological purity suffuses him, as the beauty of the eternal truth surrounds him, he doesn’t ever need to look beyond his own head for reality. He knows it all already. He knows it all instantly – in advance. He is the man Edmund Burke warned us about. His name is Rush Limbaugh and Conor Friedersdorf is his faithful, devastating scribe.
 Or, as one long-forgotten reprobate once put it...
Dear Future Generations,

You want to know what life was like for Liberals in America during my lifetime?
First they ignored you.
Then they laughed at you.
Then they fought you.
Then they got gigs in national magazines repeating as breathless epiphany things you had been saying for thirty years.


Denny Smith said...

"a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country,..."
Stay well my friend.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, conservatives, have also been saying this for decades. Past Republican leaders and hell even Goldwater warned about these sort of people as well.

The issue has always been money. As long as the Republican party was slashing taxes, deregulating, and making the rich richer people were willing to overlook the crazies.

Make no mistake, had Romney won and reinstated the Bush tax cuts we wouldn't be hearing how horrible and crazy the Republicans are from anybody in the media.

Batocchio said...

Ouch. It's painful. Friedersdorf's piece is pretty good as an examination of Limbaugh. However, his conclusion is unintentionally hilarious, all the more so because of the self-contradiction and lack of self-awareness. He quotes the liberal critique verbatim, "True conservatives cannot fail, they can only be failed," and this is intended as a criticism of Limbaugh, yet he closes by writing "I'm not sure what to call it. But it isn't deserving of the name conservatism." In other words, for Friedersdorf… True conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed. Friedersdorf appears honestly oblivious that he's embraced exactly the same ideology he's just criticized in Limbaugh. And he's similarly tribal, just about his own subset of conservatism, which has always had far, far more in common with Limbaugh than not. Oh sure, Friedersdorf may be better read, and somewhat more thoughtful, and fancies himself an intellectual, even though his views are completely (laughably) predictable for someone of his demographic and background. (The resulting stew consists of a few reality-based but banal notions and a great number of fantasy-based conservative/libertarian views, with a sprinkle of cosmetic contrarianism on top to win "no clique" cred with the McArdle and Sullivan clique.) Of course Sullivan praised and promoted the piece, because it allows them both to pretend that conservatism was once pure and only recently despoiled.

And that leads us to the other huge thing both Friedersdorf and Sullivan omit – context. Friedersdorf's discussion of Limbaugh is pretty good, but his critique is old and well-worn outside his clique. It's probably true that more people now notice David Brooks, Paul Ryan and Rand Paul (and their failings) than did before. The same isn't true of Limbaugh. Gingrich is the runner-up, I suppose, but really no conservative figure has been more consistently, heavily, and accurately criticized than Limbaugh over the past 30 years. The criticisms and the basis for them – that he's a liar, that he's a tribal partisan, that he's a bully – have not been a secret. Limbaugh's been profiled in major news outlets. Al Franken wrote a bestseller detailing Limbaugh's lies, hypocrisy and overall shtick. FAIR and Media Matters have chronicled hundreds if not thousands of Limbaugh's lies and his overall conduct. Conservatives have defended Limbaugh (or at least stood by him) for the same reason Limbaugh defended Thomas – because he was on their team and they thought it pissed off liberals. Friedersdorf can at least claim relative youth as a partial excuse, but Sullivan was active in American politics at the time Anita Hill spoke out against Clarence Thomas. He's been active in politics throughout the reign of Limbaugh, and would have heard the critiques against him. Where's Sullivan's discussion of what he thought and did then, and what he thinks now?

Here's an alternative formulation: "True" conservatives always ask that they, and conservatism, be judged on a curve. (And the media usually obliges, manufacturing conservative "responsible adults" who couldn't compete otherwise.) G'Night.