Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Excellent essay (from the Wall Street Journal, of all places) about how the American Conservative movement destroyed itself by becoming anti-intellectual.

"Most are well-educated and many have attended Ivy League universities; in fact, one of the masterminds of the Palin nomination was once a Harvard professor. But their function within the conservative movement is no longer to educate and ennoble a populist political tendency, it is to defend that tendency against the supposedly monolithic and uniformly hostile educated classes. They mock the advice of Nobel Prize-winning economists and praise the financial acumen of plumbers and builders. They ridicule ambassadors and diplomats while promoting jingoistic journalists who have never lived abroad and speak no foreign languages. And with the rise of shock radio and television, they have found a large, popular audience that eagerly absorbs their contempt for intellectual elites. They hoped to shape that audience, but the truth is that their audience has now shaped them."

I'm not so prepared to accept that American conservatives, taken as a group, were ever as cerebral as all that, and although I'm optimistic, I am not convinced that the movement is dead, either. Somewhere, (probably someone at Lawyers, Guns & Money) someone has set out the proposition that Republicans track their intellectuals into the judiciary, and that rings true to me-- although Scalia's jurisprudence seems reductive, the same couldn't be said of, say, Richard Posner. I think this last election may have been transformative, but there's one more in this cycle before reapportionment, and a lot can happen in two years. Here's an amusing article grading the various theories about the election (which I found thanks to LG&M).

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