All in the Family
Glenn Greenwald has a post up about the Horowitzian effort to block blogger Juan Cole from receiving an offer to teach at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies and in the Yale History Department. It’s no surprise; it is during college that many begin to develop their capacity for critical thinking, something the right can do without thank you very much so silencing those who refuse to sip delicately from their Kool-aid snifters becomes paramount. This time they’ve placed the hit piece in the New York Sun, which is doing double duty running Barbara Comstock’s faxes in the Libby case. In order to make their argument the authors engage in the incredibly intellectually dishonest tactic of equating anything other than fatuous devotion to the policies of a nation, Israel, with anti-Semitism. The article concludes:
Yale rightfully prides itself on the devotion of its graduates to public service. Why would Yale ever want to hire a professor best known for disparaging the participation of prominent American Jews in government? Mr. Cole has made himself a disgrace. Why would Yale want to make his disgrace its own?
Glenn does a nice job of exploring how shallow and disingenuous the whole piece is. But I myself had a good chuckle when I saw to whom this particular smear job had been farmed out: Yale student Eliana Johnson, daughter of Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson of Powerline, whom Scott refers to as "The Little Trunk." (Wonder if they’ve taken their pledge at the father/daughter purity ball?)
I bitch about this a lot so don’t expect me to pass up a golden opportunity. This is exactly the kind of second-generation junk thinking being produced on the right by people like Ben Domenech, Jonah Goldberg and George W. Bush — people who vault into to highly paid, influential positions despite a complete and utter lack of talent or skill purely because of who their parents are and their willingness to say just about anything. Badly. A group who have tragically confused the wingnut welfare system for some kind of meritocracy, who think their megaphone comes as the result of skill and don’t acknowledge that both privilege and think tank underwriting are largely responsible for the opportunity to appear on the stage in the first place.
I always like the articles these pissy rich kids write about the welfare state and how it doesn’t encourage people to refine themselves and their ideas by engaging in competition. One need look no further than this article and those by people like Herbert Spencer scholar Jonah Goldberg (oh and let us not forget his work on Upton Sinclair) to see the utter hypocricy involved in this argument by those who are usually making it: nobody would pay for their crap if it wasn’t being underwritten by someone with a political agenda, and there is no need for their work to rise to anything above sub-mediocrity in order to keep getting subsidized.
This childish world view, unsullied by any contact with people from other cultures or life experience, scornful and elitist and promoted beyond anything it would earn as a result of its own merits, exists not only on the page — it is running the country and playing Army Men with the Middle East. No doubt they resent it mightily when Professor Cole shows up to puncture their delusional bubbles and deliver, in the words of Wolcott, a "righteous punk smackdown." Once again they send the second-rate and intellectually shiftless to defend the fort.