I’ll be in Washington next week. I’m giving a lunchtime talk at the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, February 1 at noon, but you have to rsvp. Details are here. That may be full already, though, but I’ll be giving another talk the same night, February 1, at Busboys and Poets at 14th and V at 6:30. Come say hello. US News did an interview with me for the book here.
Ok, back to work. I’ve got a new Think Again called “Craven News Network” about CNN and Ms. Bachmann’s address, and that’s here.
And OK, I’m sorry, but these Tea Party types are idiots. Bachmann, above, is the worst. (How ironic that they profess to reify the constitution when the woman they appoint as their spokesperson doesn’t know a damn thing about what’s in it. Ended slavery? I guess that’s true if you don’t include black people. And lookit Sarah Palin: The Soviet Union collapsed because the Soviets spent so much money winning the space race and no serious person should take them seriously. And now take a look at these know-nothing congressmen, pawns of the NRA, who won’t even allow research on the incidence of gun deaths to take place.)
And these—many of the same people, who won’t allow the CBO to run honest numbers on the cost of healthcare reform and its repeal. These people are proud of their ignorance. No wonder Fox is so popular with their fans and CNN so salivates after their numbers. What could be easier than to make money catering to peoples’ ignorant prejudices? You can fire the entire reporting staff and just make stuff up.
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I mourn the loss of Daniel Bell, the very archetype of a committed liberal intellectual who kept his head about him when so many were losing theirs, and who managed to hold onto the friendships of people with whom he stridently disagreed, something I admire enormously but do not always pull off. I got to know him a bit late in life and was deeply proud of his interest in my work, critical as he could be. And while I am undoubtedly a better liberal for his work, it’s fair to say I might not be as committed an anti-Communist were it not for his patient conversations with me about why anti-Communism, at this late date, mattered at all, particularly to liberalism.
He told me, as he told many people, that he quit Public Interest, the journal he co-founded with Irving Kristol, because of the latter’s drift to the right, and Bell’s belief that friendship was more important than politics.
In the same journal, he wrote, “The Public Interest began as a journal that was anti-ideological, with the hope that a public philosophy would emerge out of reasoned discourse; it is now enlisted in an ideological campaign against liberalism.” “The Revolt Against Modernity,” The Public Interest, Fall 1985.