Ed Driscoll

The Flight of the Intellectuals Continues

Just as closing time was arriving on the 2004 presidential election, Kathy Shaidle noted that “The beards have all grown longer overnight” — and the unity that coalesced among the liberal hawks of that period in the horrific immediate aftermath of 9/11 had largely dissipated, replaced by a sadly predictable ideological unity of a different sort:

On Sept 11, 2001, I didn’t know the difference between The National Review and The New Republic, I’m ashamed to say. I went on the web looking for information, “solidarity”, whathaveyou, and discovered, pretty haphazardly, folks like Christopher Hitchens, Jeff Jarvis, Ken Layne, Andrew Sullivan…

All of whom have now declared themselves for Kerry. Even Glenn Reynolds has been wobbly. I don’t know why I say “even”; as one blogger has pointed out, much of this wobbliness seems generational.

God love him: Jarvis has literally walked through Manhattan covered in human ashes, and is such a booster of blogs, and seems such a nice fellow. But at the end of the day, he’s a Boomer. And he and his liberal cohort are convinced Bush is gonna make anal sex illegal or something, so… Kerry it is!

Whatever happened to all the “war liberals” and “bellicose women” and “anti-idiotarians”? I guess all that was just another one of their little fads.

Is this really a generational thing? Not if we include Sullivan.

Flash-forward to today, replace the dull, lifeless Kerry with the inspiring (in theory, if not in practice) but equally leftist Barack Obama, and you can see this same formula playing out in Michael Totten’s interview with Paul Berman, the author of a new book titled, The Flight of the Intellectuals. Berman seems to be on the cusp of understanding what former President Bush accomplished in the Middle East, and what President Reagan accomplished in Eastern Europe, and Central America. But then those same mental blinders go back up at the thought that, to paraphrase the title of Harry Stein’s book last year, I Can’t Believe I Might Have To Say Nice Things About A Republican!

And speaking of the Flight of the Intellectuals, At City Journal, Benjamin A. Plotinsky explores “The Varieties of Liberal Enthusiasm,” noting “The Left’s political zealotry increasingly resembles religious experience.”

You don’t say

Finally, at National Review, David Horowitz fisks the bejesus out of an intellectual poseur who took flight of his senses decades ago: “Hurricane West: Cornel West and American Radicalism.”