Larison on Manzi's latest and the blowback:
The other day, Ross called for other conservatives to be more critical of Republican politicians and conservative “entertainers,” and Jim Manzi made the mistake of taking up this challenge and applying intellectual rigor and honesty to a prominent conservative radio host’s book on a subject he understands fairly well. The inevitable circling-of-the-wagons that has followed illustrates perfectly the problem Manzi was trying to address in Levin’s work. Not only do Manzi’s colleagues automatically defend Levin’s sub-par arguments, but they regard it as horribly bad form to dare criticize those arguments with the vehemence that their poor quality would seem to merit. Small wonder that there are so few “magazines and conservative columnists…willing to call out Republican politicians (and, to a lesser extent, conservative entertainers) for offering bromides instead of substance, and for pandering instead of grappling with real policy questions.”
Anonymous Liberal chimes in:
First, notice that neither Lopez nor McCarthy bother to address any of Manzi's substantive points. They're simply taking issue with the fact that he dared to use strong terms in critiquing the work of a member in good standing of the conservative media. McCarthy's call for "civility" is particularly rich given that McCarthy himself has made a career out of posting totally off-the-wall and unhinged rants against his favorite left of center targets. The reference to Levin's "widely-acclaimed book" is also unintentionally hilarious. The only acclamation the book received, of course, was from other members of the epistemically-closed community that Manzi's describing, people who simply accept whatever a clown like Levin says at face value.
Lopez' response is even more telling. In short, she says that Levin is defending the world against Tyranny and that's all that matters. At a time when Freedom itself hangs in the balance, it makes no sense to go after one of the good guys. This kind of tribalism epitomizes everything that is wrong with the right wing approach to politics.
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