Sunday, November 09, 2008

Good read

From the Wall Street Journal, no less.

I always respected the William F. Buckley wing of the Republican party. Like the Barry Goldwater wing it had it's base in reason. To be sure I disagreed with them on numerous issues, but I appreciated their intellectual prowess and their adherence to principles. Why do I use the past tense to describe these things? Well, read the article which, I think, makes clear that by the 1980s these things were being tossed aside for the shallow mess that we have today. Snippet:
Over the next 25 years there grew up a new generation of conservative writers who cultivated none of their elders' intellectual virtues -- indeed, who saw themselves as counter-intellectuals. Most are well-educated and many have attended Ivy League universities; in fact, one of the masterminds of the Palin nomination was once a Harvard professor. But their function within the conservative movement is no longer to educate and ennoble a populist political tendency, it is to defend that tendency against the supposedly monolithic and uniformly hostile educated classes. They mock the advice of Nobel Prize-winning economists and praise the financial acumen of plumbers and builders. They ridicule ambassadors and diplomats while promoting jingoistic journalists who have never lived abroad and speak no foreign languages. And with the rise of shock radio and television, they have found a large, popular audience that eagerly absorbs their contempt for intellectual elites. They hoped to shape that audience, but the truth is that their audience has now shaped them.

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