Thursday, March 06, 2008

Your 'New Media' Overlords

[Apropos this post.]

Just in case it gets robots.txt-ed, which is unlikely given the current owner of the url (but then, like anyone else, Amanda can be overwhelmed by force majeure, which Klein's clique is certainly capable of exerting), I should perhaps copy one of the most damning of the old Pandagon links I could find.

I brought it up to illustrate the childish mentality of personality cultists, but it's even more useful as a demonstration of just what "Liberal" 'New Media' institutions are looking for when hiring new talent: shitty instincts. The idiots in this post, all of whom thought hippies were a bigger danger than the troglodyte wingnuts constituting the Bush administration, went on to get paid for blogging:

A Reading List To War

My path to hawkishness followed Matt's almost exactly.

I read Love Thy Neighbor and thought hard about the horrors of Kosovo; I flipped through We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families and decided I could never be silent around another Rwanda; I read The Threatening Storm and was almost convinced by its arguments but mostly horrified at Saddam's brutality and, finally, I lived in Santa Cruz, home of reflexive dovishness and factually incorrect tirades. So I became pro-war. And, in the end, I was proved the idiot, and my predictions didn't comport with reality, and a reflexive aversion to the war would have served me better.

I'm quite ashamed that, during the whole of the run-up, I never thought to notice that the President's rationales and statements were less credible and more infantile than those of the white-bearded peaceniks denouncing him on street corners. I just figured he couldn't possibly be this stupid, his advisors can't possibly believe his rhetoric -- I was still naive enough to believe in the majesty of the office and, even if the inhabitant was not of my choosing, I couldn't imagine him completely incompetent and corrupt (sometimes, the fact that I only started paying attention to politics around 9/11 really shows). I was, unfortunately, quite wrong.

Anyway, that was something of a random reflection, but James Wolcott and Matt Yglesias have insisted on bringing it to mind today, so I was really just going with the flow.

Update: Robert Farley seems to have felt similarly:
I know that one of the hardest obstacles I had to overcome in adopting an anti-war position on Iraq was the recognition that I would be on the same side as all those dumbass hippies I knew at the University of Oregon, as well as those dumbass hippies I know in Seattle. At the time, I always strove to distance my arguments from theirs

Truly a brother-in-arms. One of the tougher lessons for me to learn was that bad arguments don't necessarily indict a point-of-view, doesn't matter how many of them there are. Nixon used to force his advisors to submit written arguments with the facts clearly laid out; he knew that a cunning oral presentation could lead him to support an incorrect position while a shoddy case could doom a good policy.

And to answer some in the comments: you're right, there were many level-headed folk making perfectly cogent points against the war. I don't defend myself for reaching the wrong conclusion. But my environment, same as Matt and Robert's, was a reactionary campus packed with far-leftists, and their arguments were the ones being screamed into my ear, and thus their arguments were the ones I reacted to. Again, I don't defend it; that's just where I was coming from.
Posted by Ezra Klein at September 18, 2004 07:46 PM | TrackBack

Among the 'Sensible Liberals' of the bad old days of 2003-2004, the only ones I know of without paying gigs are The Editors and the much-dread (and now, thankfully forgotten) Philosoraptor (and only the Editors, idiot and clueless asshole that he is, is a funny and engaging writer). Farley and Klein write for TAPped (and I don't know what kind of pictures in reserve Klein has of TAP editor Mike Tomasky, but they must be volcanic: almost every article Tomasky submits to the NYRB somehow finds a way to blurb Klein's alleged skills of punditry which I've seen fit to display for all here). Yglesias, of course, writes for The Atlantic and thus soils the pages formerly occupied by, among others, William Dean Howells.

Anyway, just to emphasize the point germane to the S,N! post, here's Klein's money quote:

I was ...naive enough to believe in the majesty of the office [of President] and, even if the inhabitant was not of my choosing, I couldn't imagine him completely incompetent and corrupt (sometimes, the fact that I only started paying attention to politics around 9/11 really shows).

We're supposed to forgive and forget the "Liberal Hawks," when they say they are sorry. As Homer said after Bart just destroyed the house again and offered a tepid apology: "Look at that hangdog expression. He's learned his lesson.... Let's get him a present." Yeah, well, I for one am sick of welfare for not-so-recovering Liberal Hawks. Klein hasn't changed. He's still, after all these years and bloodshed, overwhelmed "by the majesty,", if not right now of the office, then certainly of a candidate. Still a Believer. Still predisposed to trust. Still naive. Still a child.