On Ezra Klein

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I can't say I read him very often but I came across this chilling post of his from last week. It's an attack on any independent thought outside of the situational demands of a political coalition. It is a full-throated and not-even-regretful support for the subjugation of free inquiry and free ideas to the demands of political organization. It makes Sidney Blumenthal seem intellectually honest. Money quote:

Roger Cohen may feel like he is a liberal hawk, and thus distinct. But what Roger Cohen feels does not matter, because Roger Cohen does not control any branch of the American military. Who he empowers, and which actors in American politics find their ideas legitimized by his columns, is all that matters. And in that, he is worse than a neoconservative. He's a liberal hawk who knows better, but whose interest in writing about his own virtue overwhelms his judgments concerning the actual actions of those who wield power. He is not a neoconservative. He is a narcissist.

Klein slips in a bogus word here: feels. Cohen doesn't feel he is a liberal hawk; he believes he is. He has arguments to make, arguments that can be agreed with or disagreed with, but that have merits of their own that should be addressed regardless of the arrangement of political power at the time. This isn't narcissism; it is the duty of any writer and thinker to state his own views as best he can without concern for how the world might greet them, who might use them unfairly, or who might expropriate them for insincere purposes. Without this independence, a writer is merely a hack. Or, worse for a writer, an activist.

The right has its apparatchiks. The left does too. And when you are as young and as able as Klein and have already sacrificed even an attempt to think for yourself in favor of the demands of party and faction ... well, it's just really, really depressing. But he is not alone, as any perusal of many writers for National Review, Red State or HuffPuff and Kos will see.

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