Biden calling some Republicans semi-fascist (I would have preferred losing the “semi-“) is, of course, sending a bunch of pundits to the fainting couch. John Ganz takes apart one of those pundits, Shandi Hamid, in a really interesting (and long) post:
The fact of the matter I don’t know Hamid or really wish him ill, but to me he emblematizes a certain public mode of expression that I’ve grown to detest: the banalities of the pundit class disguised as daring counterpoints to popular delusions. These are always sprinkled with brow-furrowed concern that whatever the public seems to be enthusiastic about in the moment will lead to some disaster. In the construction of his arguments he closely follows something similar to A.O. Hirschman’s famous theses from his Rhetoric of Reaction: the “perversity thesis,” where any action actually result in the opposite of its intent, the “futility thesis,” where any action will actually accomplish nothing, and the “jeopardy thesis,” where any action will threaten some already accomplished social good. These three simple guides provide a template for the pundit for a long career in journalism. They give the appearance of thoughtfulness and counter-intuitive brilliance, when they are just methods to generate rote responses.
This is what angers me so much: this is all about posing as an intellectual without actually saying much of anything of actual substance. […]
Ganz has a couple of paragraphs discussing Hamid’s style of argument, which is slippery, laced with appeals to authority and credentialism ,and generally a reflection of someone who expects that his words have more meaning simply because he typed them.
Anyway, it’s a good read, courtesy of Cheryl Rofer on Twitter. Something to ponder while we wonder if the DoJ will charge Trump for obvious violations of important laws.