June 20, 2008

U.S. vs. Scoblic

Recently, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” polished off our office copy of U.S. vs. Them: How a Half-Century of Conservatism Has Undermined America’s Security. This dry tome is the work of J. Peter Scoblic, the executive editor of the normally rational New Republic.

Ah, what arrant nonsense! We’ll spare you of specifics, dear reader, and merely inform you that Mr. Scoblic earnestly wishes that Ronald Reagan had been sufficiently bright to follow the coruscating genius that was Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy.

Yes, yes: That was a complete success. Just ask those plucky Iranian hostages how much they cared for the peanut farmer’s overtures to the world. Criticizing the Shah for human rights abuses was a real good call, eh?

Overall, Mr. Scoblic chastises conservatives for clinging to a good-versus-evil approach to foreign policy. Humorously enough, Mr. Scoblic doesn’t appear to perceive that he himself presents his own version of a good-versus-evil mindset: According to him, liberal foreign policy is good, whilst its conservative corollary is evil.

And, naturally, Mr. Scoblic maintains his aversion to moralistic approaches to world affairs by routinely failing to discuss the horrid actions of any US enemies. Bereft of the vocabulary of evil, how does he suggest we characterize the Gulag, for example? Well, he never mentions it. A regime could engage in premeditated genocide, and the brilliant Mr. Scoblic would still label conservatives knuckle-dragging buffoons for labeling such a junta evil.

Mr. Scoblic also contends that American conservatives demonstrate an appalling distrust of scientific and social-scientific evidence. You know, like in regard to sociobiology or IQ tests. Charles Murray and E.O. Wilson must have oodles of stories pertaining to conservative mistrust of their findings. Or how about research on single-parent households and their effects on poverty? We suppose these are devastating examples of conservative distaste for experts.

Along with this patronizing view of American conservatives come Mr. Scoblic’s assertions about the Bush administration’s patent anti-intellectualism. For instance, the sharp and debonair Mr. Scoblic asserts:

…Bush would later explain to a journalist: “What angered me was the way such people at Yale felt so intellectually superior and so righteous.” Such elitism would be strictly forbidden at the Bush White House, where degrees from the University of Michigan or Texas A&M were welcomed, while Ivy League pedigrees aroused suspicion.

Leave to one side the ridiculousness of Mr. Scoblic claiming that the Bush administration’s purported love for the University of Michigan—amongst the most esteemed of public institutions of higher learning—amounts to an example of anti-intellectualism. Instead, let us move on to test his claim about the “suspicion” “aroused” by “Ivy League pedigrees.”

Now, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” fully recognize the conservative disdain for evidence. Thus we hope you’ll pardon our nod to a few minutes of Wikipedia “research.”

Below we have provided a cursory list of past and present Bush administration officials and some of their educational backgrounds:

Douglas Feith attended Harvard University.
John Bolton attended Yale University.
Richard Cheney attended Yale University.
I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby attended Yale University.
Donald Rumsfeld attended Princeton University.
John Ashcroft attended Yale University.
Michael Mukasey attended Columbia University.
Elaine Chao attended Harvard Business School.
Joshua Bolten attended Princeton Univerity.
Robert Zoellick attended Harvard Law School.
Paul Wolfowitz attended Cornell University.
Tom Ridge attended Harvard University.
Michael Chertoff attended Harvard University and Harvard Law School.
Spencer Abraham attended Harvard Law School.

Ah, the chilly reception these poor fellows must have endured in the anti-intellectual precincts of the Bush administration! We hope these chaps didn’t bristle too much at the obvious suspicion that their colleagues demonstrated toward them.

Posted at June 20, 2008 12:01 AM | TrackBack