Serious Discourse or Gossip?

A constant source of frustration I have with the left, exemplified by the following LBO-Talk post by Doug Henwood (received by hotmail yesterday and presented unredacted):

The anguish of the right-wing intellectual
A few postscripts to yesterday’s post about the intellectual
devolution on the right. I should have noted that several conservative
intellectuals have expressed some anguish about the situation. For
example, David Frum (is he an intellectual? for these purposes, I
suppose so) filed a cri de coeur (”Why Rush is Wrong“) with Newsweek,
of all places, expressing worry that the rise of Rush Limbaugh to the
de facto leadership of the Republican party is bad news for
conservatism at a time when conservatives need a thoughtful
reinvention rather than just heating up the old stuff they first
cooked up in the 1970s. Many other conservatives are embarrassed by
the rise of Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin, not to mention McCain’s
proudly stupid campaign—as they should be.

Well yes, but....

I commented previously on an earlier totally irrelevant Henwood post about an embarrassing comment made by a British TV show host and political aspirant, where, at the bottom of the article in question, was a link to a surprisingly (for the BBC) sympathetic story on the Bolivian election apparently not worth even mentioning in Doug’s mind. If it seems I single DH out it’s for two reasons. He provides a typical example. And he has an established minor celebrity status, at least in Manhattan lefty scene. The characteristic he represents is a hedged position far enough left to be taken seriously at least to the pink side of orthodox Marxism but calculated to avoid saying anything seriously offensive to those in the mainstream. I don’t think I am being pedantic bringing this up.

Because Henwood and kindred souls are smart enough to figure out what’s really going on and because they can’t claim ignorance of gross injustice (I’ve often brought examples to DH’s attention and he has replied, usually by expressing gratitude it’s not he who suffers) I actually believe they are in some ways worse than those that support the status quo without hypocrisy. But because they are in basically the same class as the rest of us they are our natural allies and are worth shaming until they change their habits–i.e., getting them to stop gossiping and start taking human welfare seriously.

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