You are forgiven if, upon first reading the following passage from this recent Sunday Outlook op-ed about the ongoing contemporary struggle between conservative populism and heady intellectualism, you too thought that AEI glue-sniffer scholar Steven F. Hayward was taking the piss.
Alas, it appears Hayward is indeed opining with earnest (if extraordinarily absurd) resolve:
About the only recent successful title that harkens back to the older intellectual style is Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism,” which argues that modern liberalism has much more in common with European fascism than conservatism has ever had. But because it deployed the incendiary f-word, the book was perceived as a mood-of-the-moment populist work, even though I predict that it will have a long shelf life as a serious work. Had Goldberg called the book “Aspects of Illiberal Policymaking: 1914 to the Present,” it might have been received differently by its critics. And sold about 200 copies.
Now, there’s a novel line of spin — the razor-thin line between brilliance and buffoonery is merely semantic. Yeah, um, anyone who doesn’t recognize that Goldberg’s remainder bin magnum opus is the literary analogue to I Can Has Cheezburger really has no business taking up the tattered flag of intellectual [sic] conservatism.
Oh, and I won’t even touch the sloppy handjob Hayward delivers to Weepin’ Glenn Beck, or his bold contention that Rush Limbaugh’s “keen sense of satire makes him deserving of comparison to Will Rogers.” Up is down, black is white and Beck is apparently “on to something with his interest in serious analysis of liberalism’s patrimony.” Of course, this charitably assumes Beck can even spell patrimony.
Somewhere, David Frum’s face is getting better acquainted with his palm
Make no mistake: this is pure, undistilled wingnut propaganda masquerading as opinion journalism — articulately baffling bullshit, carefully buffed for high-brow consumption. And it’s all being excreted onto the WaPo opinion page, which is starting to rival The Weekly Standard as the go-to Beltway source for droning Wurlitzer recitals.
h/t Henry Farrell