26 October 2007

The Baleful Effects of Inbreeding Among Neo-Conservatives

While I was in graduate school at the University of Chicago, I paid the rent for a while by working as an academic advisor in the College there. At one late in the year staff meeting we were discussing who should win some awards for special extra-curricular achievments. One of my colleagues announced that John Podhoretz, then an undergrad in the College, ought to win for having established a glossy right-wing student publication on campus. I cannot recall the name of the rag, but it was standard conservative drivel and whining. I take it as an accomplishment in that job to have sucessfully argued that Podhoretz should not win anything given that the resources for the publication came directly from his daddy and daddy's friends.

John's daddy, of course, is the truly loathsome Norman Podhoretz (pictured above), long time editor at Commentary magazine. Although I don't waste a lot of time thinking about the matter, I have always considered Podhoretz-the-elder to be a blowhard and Podhoretz-the-younger to be a mediocre 'mini-me' of poppa-P. One recent news story* reveals not much has changed in the days since I left Hyde Park; who-you-know still trumps merit among the neo-conservative crowd ( see also Bill Kristol and Adam Bellow and the various nefarious Kagans [1] [2] ... ). John has been picked to succeed Norm's successor at Commentary. All of that is, I suppose, to be expected given the extreme intellectual inbreeding among the neo-con crowd. What I find remarkable is the handwringing the neo-cons seem to be engaged in regarding the younger's "intellectual credentials for such a highbrow journal." Are you kidding? Commentary is a propaganda sheet, no more no less. Having written for the Reverend Moon's The Washington Times and The Weekly Standard (I only wish I could say the latter were run by the Reverend Billy or even Biily Crystal instead of Bill Kristol!), the younger has all the 'qualifications' one needs to pilot it. In the meantime, daddy apparently has announced that W will go down in history as "a great president.” Regardless of whether young Podhoretz has any ability, he surely cannot be as out of touch with reality as his daddy seems to be. Norm's friends should take his pen away before he hurts himself.

According to the review in The Times, Norm's new book ~ The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism ~ is standard Commentary fare:

"How good a case does Mr. Podhoretz make for his hard-line views in this volume? Instead of trying to produce a reasoned argument for a forward-leaning foreign policy, he has served up a hectoring, often illogical screed based on cherry-picked facts and blustering assertions (often made without any supporting evidence), a book that furiously hurls accusations of cowardice, anti-Americanism and sheer venality at any and all opponents of the Bush doctrine, be they on the right or the left."

That sure does make you want to rush out and hunt down a copy of the book or maybe re-up your Commentary subscription. And, of course, the notion that there is such a thing as "Islamofascism" is pure propaganda; it would be fine to treat it as an intellectual howler but for the fact that various minions in BushCo seem to embrace the notion.

* It must be a really slow news week for the allegedly "liberal" New York Times to be devoting so many column inches to covering this sort of right-wing intrique.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

An additional scary thing to note: N. Podhoretz is one of candidate Guiliani's top foreign policy advisors. So we run the non-negligible risk of getting more of this for another term. Hence, all of Rudy's bluster about "Islamofascists" and his chronic use of the line "they hate us".

29 October, 2007 13:22  

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