Monday, August 17, 2009

"I've said a bunch of times that elite journalists oddly cling to authority rather than expertise..."
Geithner is an expert, Summers is an expert, and the people who advised Clinton to "end welfare as we know it" were experts. "The Best and the Brightest" were experts. Know-everythingism is the know-nothingism of the American elite, and the rest of the world is left to cringe, cross their fingers, and pray.

So, continuing from the previous post: Duncan Black's expertise doesn't make him any more curious or observant, just as Josh Marshall's moral seriousness doesn't make him any less a knee-jerk nationalist and racist. Zionism is Garveyism for Jews, but Jews are white enough that it's taken very seriously.

The rightward turn in American economic policy began with Carter, not Reagan. Clinton was to the right of the contemporaneous conservative Prime Minister of Canada and Gingrich complained that Clinton had usurped Republican policies. Some thought should be given to the possibility that the Republican party and base moved to the right because they had no choice: they defined themselves not on policy but opposition. Liberals did somewhat better, defining themselves in terms of social policy not economic policy and allowing at least some logic to their choice to keep the name.

Murdoch as I've pointed out many time by now, gave us both Fox News and The Simpsons. TPM and the rest of new liberal media owes its existence to Fox. If it weren't for Murdoch none of them would have even heard of I.F. Stone. Still, none of them come close.

If our popular political press were as honestly vulgar as our entertainment press we'd be safer, but they take themselves too seriously and put us all at risk. The popular press consider themselves experts, and they are, but their expertise is journalism, and journalism is a trade, nothing more.

Technocracy champions expertise. As a child of academia it's founded on collaboration, not adversarialism: trust the experts to manage others' discord. And the press considers itself our managers while real experts are aghast. Still, American experts as the above makes clear -whatever their protests- are Americans first. And our experts love The Sopranos. They enjoy their anomie as long as they can claim that it's vicarious.

Here's popular left-liberal intellectual Rick Perlstein on the CIA
“The Company” had long exploited the imperative of operational secrecy to avoid accountability for its failures (like neglecting, in 1973, to anticipate Egypt’s invasion of Israel).
In the past, left-liberals worried less about the CIA's failures than its successes.

And here's some tasteful but sophisticated mainstream left-liberalism from 1965, that's no longer mainstream, tasteful or left-liberal:


Times change.

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