WHEN DID IT HAPPEN? Dean Esmay writes in Blogcritics, that it’s hard not to notice…
…when surveying the American political landscape at the moment, that there are no great Liberal intellectuals anymore. There are a few bright-minded self-described liberals; Robert Reich comes to mind, as does Susan Estrich. Camille Paglia has a truly original and interesting mind. But aside from a few rare exceptions, most “liberal” argumentation seems to come from one of four places:
1) People who disagree with me are racist.
2) People who disagree with me are warmongers who glory in violence.
3) People who disagree with me want the poor to starve and suffer.
4) People who disagree with me are blinded by corporate brainwashing.
I would have added “5) People who disagree with me want to oppress women,” but that one seemed to fade away after Clinton’s impeachment. (By the way, am I the first one to notice that?) In any case, the shorthand terms for all of the above are “right-winger” or “the radical right.”
At times it’s sad to watch. The mighty New York Times is now a laughingstock. Even people who share the New York Times worldview roll their eyes at it. Left-wing journals of opionion like The Nation and The New Republic tend to be humorless and, while they may be angry or resentful, are usually just plain boring.
I don’t know if I’d lump The New Republic in there myself. While I’m not a regular reader there, the pieces that I’ve read (usually because they’ve been linked to by other bloggers), such as yesterday’s “Air War” have been pretty impressive. But overall, I tend to agree with Esmay essay: while there are moderate liberals who are quite reasonable, the further left you go, the further you start seeing things like this, in various forms, over and over again. Michael Moore’s made a career of such stunts. But, to paraphrase Esmay’s point, when did Michael Moore become the model for intellectual discourse on the left?
Or as James Lileks wrote a little while ago: