The Antipoliticals

Everyone's already raked David Ignatius over the coals for his inability to understand that political controversy exists because disagreement is a real phenomenon of American life (see Benen in particular). To merely extend the analysis a bit, there's also the point that there are actual conflicts of interest existing in society -- some people would benefit from things being done one way, others would benefit from them happening a different way.

This, I think, is at the root of elite distaste for argument and democracy. There's an enormous desire on the part of the people near the top of the political-media pyramid to believe that they are participants in some kind of ethereal realm of Pure Ideas. The idea that politics is a clash of interests is disturbing to their self-image. It's disturbing, but also undeniable, which leads to a desire to somehow purge and purify things. The ideal would be something like the court of Frederick the Great, where the country is ruled by an absolute monarch who likes to gather the leading intellectuals (but none who are too radical) around his table to debate the issues and then the winner gets his way -- never mind what the peasants think.