Tom Levenson gives McMegan’s latest far more time and space than her work deserves. Still, someone has to answer the nonsense, and Tom is an excellent writer. Go read and enjoy.
I don’t read McArdle much because I know she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and the glibness of her ignorance and the infantile quality of her ideology (that brand of libertarianism present in populations that include my nine-year-old and that can be summed up “you can’t tell me what to do”) piss me off. Why read annoying, uninformed –if glibly written — dreck?
But Andrew Sullivan, who is one of the most infuriatingly variable bloggers in the quality of his bullshit detector, pointed me to this post by McArdle, calling it a “must-read.”
Well, if I must, I must, and so I did.
McArdle’s upward trajectory would make less sense if Ross Douthat had not already shown that her mix of casual, right-tilting obliviousness and cheap moralizing has a paying audience in senior news editors. I guess that as long as respectable rags have to keep some sort of conservative on hand, glib and dense sells better than bitter and hateful. These days the rightwing bench isn’t exactly brimming with intellectual honesty.
It is worth pointing out that many right-of-center writers exist who should be considered intellectually honest. Greg Djerejian and Daniel Larison come immediately to mind. Andrew Sullivan counts for relentlessly airing every reasonable perspective on an issue. Rick Moran qualifies better than any other rightblogger I can recall. These writers all consistently write ideas worth reading, and more or less to a man movement conservatism has written them off as hopelessly compromised (one could say impure). That’s not an accident.