The conspiracy theory meltdown at the Times (cont.)


Reader Greg Richards writes in regarding the conspiracy theory meltdown at the New York Times, and what we might call political epistemology:

Liberals do not inhabit the real world.  They inhabit a world that is PLAUSIBLE, but is not real.  In their world, if you pay people not to work, they will continue to work just as hard as before.  If you pay women not to get married, they will still get married as often as they did before.  If you appease implacable enemies, they will be impressed by your sensitivity and forswear their goals.

Part of being an adult is knowing that none of these things is true.  But when reality crashes through the papier mache world of liberals, they rage at reality, not at their own foolishness.  I suspect they have been able to get away with this because of their control of so many social institutions — universities, government bureaucracy at all levels, the mainstream press, and the great foundations.  This gives them a lot of reinforcement, and if they can secure jobs that are not subject to the market — as these sectors tend not to be — then their created reality IS reality.

I had sufficient residual respect for Paul Krugman's intelligence that I never expected him to go as far as to be unable to grasp that his 'right—wing conspiracy' is simply politics at work.  I suppose I should have learned from the example of Noam Chomsky that high reputation in one's field is no guarantee against being a fool in other fields.

Frank Rich shares with Maureen Dowd and, indeed with the editorial page at the NY Times, the trait of having "attitude" rather than opinions.  It is important for him to channel the latest fashionable cliches from the left.  I have to assume that neither he nor Krugman has any awareness of history, particularly of McCarthy's "conspiracy so vast."

I have never seen in my lifetime a president defamed in the way that Bush has been over the last year — with Gore, a former vice president after all, saying that he betrayed the country; with Jimmy Carter implying that he was derelict in his duty; with the well—funded Democrat 527's implying that he started the war to make profits for his friends at Halliburton.

Amidst all that, Bush has laughed the attacks off as affirmations of free speech, which, of course, they are.  But free speech works for both sides. 

In Frank Rich's column which you link to, he implies that the Swiftvets are lying in their charges against Kerry.  That is pretty clearly not the case.  The Kerry campaign has already conceded on Christmas in Cambodia and has conceded on "no man left behind" — i.e., that only Kerry's boat left the scene of the mining rather than that only Kerry's boat returned to that scene to rescue Rassmann.

One can say a lot of things about the Swiftvets charges.  But their TRUTH has held up very well.  If Frank Rich is saying that the Swiftvets lied about the first purple heart, he should be aware that he is still on the field while the rest of Kerry's team is back in the showers.  They have conceded the Swiftvets description of the facts and the nature of that wound.  Whoever may have signed the medical certificate the Kerry campaign is not challenging that it was a superficial wound. 

I am not familiar with military procedure, and if you deserve a Purple Heart for receiving metal in your body in a confrontation with the enemy, I for one have no problem with that.  But what that metal was has been conceded as being correctly described by the Swiftvets. 

I have to let the vets fight this out amongst themselves.  I would only say that I do not think that Kerry looks ridiculous for wanting recognition of the fact that he was wounded in an action.  If that wound was "self—inflicted" — meaning accidentally receiving a ricochet from a grenade that he fired — I leave it to the experts to say if it was worthy.  I think it WAS worthy that he was there firing at our enemies even if on this occasion they did not fire back.  But that does not seem to be enough for either him or for Mr. Rich.