Borrowing from Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” format, RealClearPolitics bolts a couple of miniature video cameras to one of their cars, and sends their pundits out on a drive while interviewing other media figures. And the format is already paying dividends — they caught former Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein to vacillating wildly on whether or not he maintains the JournoList, which, if he can’t answer with a straight yes or no, raises questions as to why someone should trust his writing on other topics.
In their latest video, as Noah Rothman writes at Mediaite, RCP’s Carl Cannon takes Kirsten Powers of Fox News out for a spin, which produces this interesting moment:
Cannon began by asking Powers how she is treated by her Fox colleagues. He recalled that New York Times’ conservative columnist David Brooks was not well-received when he first started writing for the Times and asked if Powers had encountered a similar experience.
“People are really nice at Fox,” Powers revealed. “It’s been good for because I – before that, I lived in a real liberal bubble.”
“All my friends were liberals and I grew up in a really liberal family,” she continued. “I had a lot of ideas about conservatives and then I got to Fox and just, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re not all evil and stupid.’”
I realize she’s speaking glibly and off-the-cuff, but the inference is that on some level, Powers actually did believe that all conservatives are evil, thus butting up against fellow Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer’s law of politics from over a decade ago. “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” Krauthammer wrote in 2002.
Apologies for constantly referring to Fred Siegel’s The Revolt of the Masses in every other post as of late, but it really does highlight how this worldview has been a staple point of “Progressivism” for just about a century now, as Michael Barone recently noted:
These 1920s liberals idealized the “noble aspiration” and “fine aristocratic pride” in an imaginary Europe and considered Americans, in the words of a Lewis character, “a savorless people, gulping tasteless food,” and “listening to mechanical music, saying mechanical things about the excellence of Ford automobiles and viewing themselves as the greatest race in the world.”
This contempt for ordinary Americans mostly persisted in changing political environments. During the Great Depression, many liberals became Communists, proclaiming themselves tribunes of a virtuous oppressed proletariat that would have an enlightened rule.
For a moment, idealization of the working man, but not the middle-class striver, came into vogue. But in the postwar years, what Siegel calls “the political and cultural snobbery” of liberals returned.
He recounts the derision of historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and economist John Kenneth Galbraith — Cambridge neighbors after the war — for Harry Truman, the onetime haberdasher and member of veterans’ groups and service clubs.
They failed to note that Truman was a serious reader of history and had, in supposedly backward Independence, Mo., studied piano under a teacher who had studied under Ignacy Paderewski.
The supposedly mindless 1950s, Siegel recalls, were actually a time of elevated culture, with thousands of Great Books discussion groups across the nation and high TV ratings for programs like Shakespeare’s Richard III, staring Laurence Olivier.
Liberals since the 1920s have claimed to be guided by the laws of science. But often it was crackpot science, like the eugenics movement that sought forced sterilizations.
Other social science theories proved unreliable in practice. Keynesian economics crashed and burned in the stagflation of the 1980s.
Predictions that the world would run out of food and resources turned out to be wrong. In the 1970s people were told global cooling was inevitable. Now it’s global warming.
As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an artist among social scientists, pointed out, social scientists didn’t really know how to eliminate poverty or crime. Policies based on middle-class instincts often worked better than those of elite liberals.
Which also applies to much that’s taught in academia, as well, as we’ll be spewing up, right after the page break.
Speaking of which, I got a kick out of a comment from someone at a Website called Hyperallergic, which modestly describes itself as”the world’s leading art blogazine,” quoting my post from Tuesday on Mr. Obama’s apology for insulting college history majors, and the response from Jonathan Chait at New York magazine, who wrote:
The Obama apology tour continues! Basically, any group of people that hates America and gets worked up about it — Europeans, Muslims, art history majors — Obama will apologize to you.
Linking to Chait, I asked:
But do the bulk of art history majors hate America? Or perhaps we should ask the flip-side of the equation: which college majors aren’t being taught to hate the nation?
Given the midcentury influence of the socialist Frankfurt School, the rise of political correctness beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, the nature of what Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey has dubbed “Black Armband History,” not to mention Occupy Wall Street, which seemed as obsessed with spiraling college tuitions as anything their fellow Obama supporters on Wall Street are up to, those seem like a couple of reasonable questions. (After all, it was Chait who implied that art history majors hate America, not Mr. Obama or myself.) Rather than answering them directly, Hyperallergic quoted me with a rather, well, hyperallergic preface:
Chait’s ridiculousness seemed to fall like manna from the heavens for the right-wing media, and various outlets took the bait. PJMedia’s Ed Driscoll asks: “Do Art History Majors Hate America?” In what only can be described as unbelievable, Ed Driscoll vomits:
Gee, I’ve always been worried that I come across as too subdued and laid back in my writing; I look upon the craziness of leftwing enclaves such as Washington, Hollywood, Sacramento and most college campuses with distanced bemusement. But evidently, any pushback, even the lightest, against what Thomas Sowell would call “the Vision of the Anointed,” is the equivalent of “vomiting.”
Which once again proves the accuracy of Krauthammer’s Law.
Update: When I mentioned this post to my wife, she reminded that there have been times when actual vomiting has preceded blog posts, but fortunately, those occasions are awfully rare.