A Housekeeping Post

Conor Friedersdorf

In the course of publishing this Ideas Blog, I've written many posts of my own, and curated lots of material too, sending readers to go look at what other smart thinkers are producing. Sometimes I agree with the curated material, other times I disagree with it, and most often I find areas of agreement and disagreement. Above all I hope I am contributing to the ferment of ideas.

Earlier this week, I posted a link and an excerpt to a piece by writer Alex Knapper, who lamented that conservatism is treated less as a disposition these days than a political program. I happen to agree with the overall assessment. The post includes criticism of talk radio host Mark Levin, and although I usually refrain from linking writing characterized by a bullying tone, ad hominem attacks, and factual errors, I am going to make an exception for Mr. Levin's rebuttal, because I am also committed to airing disagreements, giving folks who are criticized in this space a chance to respond, and being especially diligent about linking criticism aimed at me.

Accordingly, I encourage you to read it now in full.

Okay, back?

Here is the part where he criticizes me:

With few exceptions, the Atlantic has become home to a variety of pseudo-intellectuals mental contortionists -- Andrew Sullivan, Conor Friedersdorf, and someone named Alex Knepper. It's difficult to keep track of all of them since the only growth industry these days is the membership list of pseudo-intellectuals. I don't know Knepper because he has never written anything or done anything of merit that I can discern. But he, like a handful of other pseudo-intellectuals, seek to take down aspects of my classic, Liberty and Tyranny, by misrepresenting it...

Knepper's critique -- posted at the Atlantic by the disreputable and tedious Friedersdorf , who sniffs the internet for anti-Levin posts (or anti-Steyn, or anti-most conservative thinkers) like a dog in heat -- is yet another example of ignorance and distortion.
(Note that Alex Knepper isn't affiliated with The Atlantic -- Mr. Levin's language left some confusion.)

In my judgment, Mr. Levin's post unfairly attacks several writers, myself included. I'll give him the last word in our dispute (for now!), but if you're interested in his criticism of Mr. Knapper, see Mr. Knapper's response, and should you decide to delve into his dispute with Jim Manzi, see this piece that I wrote on the matter, or Joseph Lawler at The American Spectator, or this pithy summation by Megan McArdle, or this good coverage by The Economist, or just read Mr. Manzi's writing on climate change yourself, and decide whether you think Mr. Levin is justified in describing him as a "global warming zealot."

Elsewhere on Mr. Levin's site, the talk radio host is engaged in an unrelated dispute: he insists, contra parties unknown, that he deserves credit for being the first to call Barack Obama a Marxist socialist. Thus far, 495 of his Facebook fans have expressed that they "like" the post. Every time I write about talk radio, I find it difficult to convey the experience of actually listening to the broadcaster in question.

I'll leave you to experience Mr. Levin for yourself. Remember that this is a segment in which he takes particular pride, and draw your own conclusions:





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