Friday, July 25, 2003

Jonah Goldberg at NRO nails the Berkeley retards cold:

I'm sorry. I really wanted to say something incredibly clever about how dumb I think a new study from Berkeley is. I've been sitting here staring at my computer for over an hour trying to come up with some Simpsons quote or fresh joke that captures the gravity warping, oxygen-depriving, heart-palpitating idiocy of this thing. Instead, I feel like a three-year old on his first trip to FAO Schwarz — I keep dashing from one shiny plaything to another, incapable of concentrating on a single object for more than a moment. I feel like I could spend a lifetime peeling this thing like an onion — finding new layers of stupidity, fresh eye-watering spouts of acidic absurdity, all the while keeping in mind that each seemingly intelligent layer is actually paper thin, insubstantial, translucent...

I'm sorry, but not since Professor Peter Singer explained that we should give as good as we get from dogs who hump our legs, have I been so exasperated with the way some academics think they can use their head for a colonoscopy and then crab-walk around expecting all the world to think their new hats make them look smart. And, as with Singer's efforts to get pet stores to carry Viagra, I have a very hard time taking this seriously and I'm not sure taking it seriously helps anybody. But I just know that if I don't address the "substance" of this study, I will hear from numerous silly liberals who think I'm afraid to deal with the ambiguity and that my scorn is just another attempt at "terror management." So, let me splash some cold water on my face and shake off the giggles.

But this I didn't know:

The idea that the psychiatric-therapeutic establishment is politically biased is hardly new. In 1964, 1,189 psychiatrists asserted that even though they'd never met Barry Goldwater, never mind diagnosed him, he was still so mentally unstable and paranoid that in their scientific opinion he could not be trusted with the power of the presidency. So outrageous was this "petition" of psychiatrists launched by Fact magazine, that Goldwater actually won a libel suit, which is almost impossible for a politician...

And here's the kicker, I wish I had said it:

So, yes, conservatism is a temperament, but it is also an ideology. And that ideology is not dependent on the need for "cognitive closure" or a "fear of ambiguity" at all. In fact, most conservative thinkers see their project completely differently. The threat they see is from a statist elite which seeks to impose uniformity and cookie-cutter banality across the society. Conservatism, as Russell Kirk noted, is marked by an "Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence." Indeed, if these authors had spent a bit more time reading Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind, they wouldn't have bollixed up their own depiction of the conservative mind so badly.

Right on brother, right on.


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