Monday, July 02, 2007

This may appear in the comments on this post at Tapped. We'll see:
"Unless one simply has an a priori normative opposition to judicial policy-making, that's a tough case to make."

The courts are a non-democratic force in a democratic society. One of the weaknesses over the past 30 years or more of "progressive" policy is the degree to which it has paid more and more attention to the interests tastes and preoccupations of the middle class and up. I've made enough comments about intellectual snobbery on this site. And I've gotten in tiffs with Scott Lemieux when he seemed unable to understand a simple point by Ronald Dworkin about abortion.

I'm about to ramble a bit, but I'll get there:
The indifference of the so called MSM is only one example of the remove from daily life that's endemic to elite discourse in this country. The reliance on and trust in leadership and leaders, (or academic intellectuals) has created as much of a disconnect for 'serious' liberalism as much as for ABC or Fox, in some ways more of one, since Fox knows how to pander, and you have to pay attention to people to know how to do that. Murdoch was smart enough to know that America wanted right-wing news and left-wing entertainment, so he gave us both. But Anne-Marie Slaughter got slammed by the readership at TPM Cafe, and she damn well deserved to be. Though I agree with Max Sawicky. about the general lack of historical awareness, I give the readers and commenters at TPM Cafe credit for being well ahead of many of the official pundits there (and on foreign policy ahead of almost all of them.)

An Intellectual disconnect has become basis of elite democratic politics. From the half-assed defense by Gore in Florida after the election, to Kerry's bumbling, to the need for faddish self-help books by people like George Lakoff. Could you imagine a trial lawyer having to be told how to be adversarial? And The democratic party has to pay people to teach them. The blogisphere is full of academics and policy wonks with as much disdain for adversarialism as the press. But these academics have the defense of preferring "reason," as if adversarialism were not developed out of the failure of unaided reason to supply justice. It's the rule of "reason" that says the press should collaborate, should let down its guard among friends. "Trust us" It's the rule of reason that allows the "reality based community" to pretend that's just what they are, and to defend... Bill Clinton. And there's still been no solid rebuttal to Tony Judt.
Question: How's the reality based community's response to Israeli expansion?
Answer: It sucks.

The preference for judicial policy-making is a preference of the elite for the opinions of its own. It's good to remember that in the 20th century's taste for leaders gave us both its proudest moments and its worst. As long as we have the constitution we'll always have judicial review, but it's interesting to realize how much and in how many ways the elite in this country, and that includes the intellectual and cultural elite, left and right, are being outmaneuvered by events around them.
At this time, in this context, that's cause for optimism.

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