Oct 13th, 2010
Anyone concerned with the dreary wave of anti-intellectualism from the right over the last year should read Anne Applebaum's piece in yesterday's Washington Post. Her perspective:
"These modern meritocrats are clearly not admired, or at least not for their upward mobility, by many Americans. On the contrary"... "they are resented as "elitist." Which is at some level strange: To study hard, to do well, to improve yourself -- isn't that the American dream? The backlash against graduates of "elite" universities seems particularly odd given that the most elite American universities have in the past two decades made the greatest effort to broaden their student bodies."
Seems straightforward enough. Apparently, Jonah Goldberg wasn't going to take this sitting down. He has picked a fight with Applebaum and launched a defense of the new-stupid. His piece is an exemplar of the situational ethics that have come to define his work.
"Applebaum doesn’t seem to comprehend that it is not status-class anxiety that is driving the main critique of the elite. It is that this particular elite is hellbent on bossing the country around that will make America less meritocratic." Italics his.
Goldberg is stipulating that this most recent wave of disrespect for the intellectual class is okay because it is being directed at his ideological enemies. At least he is consistent. This sort of argument makes perfect sense coming from a committed torture apologist.
Applebaum fires back:
"Goldberg seems to think the anti-elitist rhetoric which is in wide use at the moment (the subject of my column) is acceptable because it is aimed at a particular elite: the liberals, the Obamas, “a very specific and self-styled elite.” He should listen harder, because in fact the rhetoric is far more sweeping than that, encompassing not only liberals but anyone with higher education. Sarah Palin told O’Reilly that Americans are seeking to rid themselves of “spineless” people with an “Ivy League Education.” Glenn Beck has mocked “the Ivy League” and people with degrees at great length. Christine O’Donnell’s political ad (the one which begins “I didn’t go to Yale…”) doesn’t attack “liberals who went to Yale.” It attacks anyone who went to Yale."
Jonah hasn't responded to the response yet. We eagerly await watching him dig his hole deeper.