Conor Friedersdorf vs. Dan Riehl

Dan has a link to an hour-plus online discussion he had with Conor Friedersdorf. You can listen to it and try to figure out WTF Conor’s problem is, besides the fact that he is young and had the bad judgment to (a) attend the Columbia University J-School and (b) hire on at Culture 11.

It’s OK, I made bad judgments when I was young. Back in the day, there was less of a downside risk to being a young fool. There was no Internet then, so it wasn’t like nowadays, where every 20-something who can type his own name gets the idea he’s going to solve the world’s problems with a blog.

To imagine what I would have been blogging about in 1986 . . . shudder.

UPDATE: I’m listening to the debate now and a big part the problem is, Conor wants to define conservatism as “what I like,” or, “a philosophy espoused by writers I like.” He cannot separate his admiration of, inter alia, Andrew Sullivan from his own self-conception as “conservative.” It’s fan-boy politics.

Sully is a student of Oakeshott, therefore Conor name-checks Oakeshott. Dreher constantly invokes Russell Kirk, therefore Conor name-checks Kirk. It’s as if Conor has been studying his pledge book in preparation for initiation into a fraternity.

Why is it that none of these “dissident” conservatives can be bothered to read Hayek or Mises? Why do they never seem to take any interest in the basic questions of political economy and limited government? Why must they seek out this conservatism that, they assert, transcends mere politics — a conservatism of “temperament,” as Conor calls it?

Sigh. OK, let me go smoke a conservative cigarette and then I will return to my conservative laptop to listen to more of the debate.

UPDATE II: I’m back. That cigarette had a suspiciously neo-conservative flavor. (“The Jooooz!”) So I’m going to eat a paleo ice cream sandwich while I listen to the next segment of the debate.

UPDATE III: A-ha, Friedersdorf! I just paused the audio at 19:14, as which point you have just accused unnamed others of having an “ahistorical definition of conservatism.”

Q. How much history of conservatism does Conor Friedersdorf
know?
A. A helluva lot less than I do!

As they say in military tactics, your flank is “in the air,” and I’ll drive a goddamned division into that flank.

UPDATE IV: As the perspicacious Professor Donald Douglas points out in the comments, Friedersdorf has attained his life’s goal, blogging at The Atlantic Monthly, just like his hero. As I have often said, the rule in D.C. is never to attribute to ideology that which can be adequately explained by ambition.

Friedersdorf is rarity at The Atlantic. Last time I checked, Megan McArdle was the only non-Harvardian at that notorious snob shop. Perhaps his stint at Columbia J-School was close enough for horseshoes.

UPDATE V: Over at Dan Riehl’s, I congratulate Conor on his ascent to the ranks of The Republicans Who Really Matter. Well played, old sport!

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