Jonathan Bernstein thinks that this somewhat bizarre post by McArdle, in response to Julian Sanchez's posts on the conservative cocoon, is an attempt to hijack the thread. Matt Steinglass engages respectfully. Chait goes after Jonah Goldberg, who leans heavily on Megan's post:
So Goldberg concedes that maybe there's a wee bit of epistemic closure on the right, but it's really just the same thing as on the left. Conservatives have Fox News, but liberals have the New York Times. I suppose there's nothing to say in response to this -- if you believe the mainstream media is an organ of the progressive movement and the functional liberal equivalent of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, then yes, liberals do have epistemic closure. I think that,whatever you think about the liberal bias charge, the mainstream media is far more receptive to news and viewpoints that challenge liberalism than conservative outlets are to news and viewpoints that challenge conservatism. (Uniformly liberal programs, like Rachel Maddow's, do exist, but they occupy a small portion of the MSNBC schedule, and function as supplements to the news rather than substitutes for it.)
In his most formulaic work, Mr. Goldberg takes the topic at hand, sidesteps any critique aimed at the right, and transitions to talking about how the problem is actually liberal in origin, or that liberals do it more often, or that the left is actually more guilty of it, or whatever. This is persuasive at times, less so at others, and too often beside the point.
Ah, yes. In the middle of the Bush administration's extreme extension of executive power and secrecy in the war against Jihadist terror, as the GOP was spending like inebriated seamen on pork, entitlements and defense, as Wall Street was gambling in a manner that wild-eyed liberals like Richard Posner and Alan Greenspan have conceded was recklessly irrational, as the Republicans embraced successful nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan as the sine qua non of American national security ... Mr Goldberg decided that the real crisis was "liberal fascism."
To do so in that context is simply surreal. But inordinately successful in the ideological-industrial complex that is enriching so many pundits and killing conservatism as a serious attempt to govern the world as it is. It's successful because the untethered bromides of the utopian right are far easier to market than the awful choices and hard compromises that the US now has to grapple with. But contemporary "conservatives" - a lethal blend of denial, distraction and derangement - are not interested in hard choices. They are interested in an alternative reality, sustained by exactly the epistemic closure Goldberg wants - ah, the circle closes - to distract from.
But seriously, read Friedersdorf's post. It is punctiliously fair, open and thereby all the more devastating.
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