First, a spoonful of sugar: Michial Farmer’s conversation with Zena Hitz (Lost In Thought: The Hidden Pleasures Of The Intellectual Life) will do you more good than anything you are about to read below.
Alright, now that you’re braced . . .
Never say “never,” but I believe with this post I shall put a cap on the matter of my concern for liberalism, its methods of consideration, and the precipitous erosion thereof. The subject is threatening to become not merely a central concern, but THE central concern for me and this blog, and I won’t have that (because it’s not — but don’t let any of that discourage you from commenting).
Here’s how it shakes down:
|"Andrew! Hey, Andrew! Me next, me next!"|
- In my most recent back-and-forth with Paul, I all but confessed that I subscribe to New York magazine primarily for the spectacle of that hyper-woke splash-pad giving Andrew Sullivan, of all people, space to spout (along with other guilty pleasures, of course). Just hours after I typed that I was informed those wet-n-wild days have come to a close.
- Lefty journo Doug Henwood proclaims, “Self-expelling is all the rage!” (cf.)
- Over at The New Yorker Gideon Lewis-Krauss asks: What the heck is going on with SlateStarCodex?
On that last matter Fredrick deBoer framed it as an East-Coast Media vs. Silicon Valley scrap, in which 24/7-ironic ECM twitterers have not the slightest ken to appreciate West Coaster commitment — actual, sincere commitment — to planting a flag up the beach and defending it. I would go further and add that the ECM either does not appreciate the eviscerating effect its spotlight has on its caught-in-the-wrong-intersection subjects, or they know but do not care.
Full disclosure: I’m mostly ambivalent about the SSC project — my presuppositions launch me in a markedly different direction than do theirs (for starters, “Rationalist”? — good luck with that). However, I deeply admire their rigour and good manners. Trolls set up camp in the comments, receiving nearly inexhaustible patience as they attempt to lance the chosen argument with one bad-faith rhetorical ploy after the next. Good manners, patient consideration, careful elucidation — qualities we could all stand to emulate, particularly in these times, no?
Lili Loofbourow wonders to what effect.
I read “Illiberalism Isn’t to Blame For The Death of Good-Faith Debate” and nodded along throughout. I even murmured, “Yikes, that’s me!” at one point. Then she wrapped it all up with her conclusion and — honestly? — only Nietzsche has left me feeling this vertiginous:
“I don’t know how (or if) we get sincerity back.”
Well. In all sincerity I then submit: this isn’t a right-or-left liberal/illiberal woke or tribal thing — it is quite plainly just the latest instance of the Internet gaining its unfeeling mastery over yet another beleaguered member of our groping, simian species.