Monday, May 11, 2009

Is the Right Intellectually Bankrupt?

We had a bit of a debate a few months back about which of the right or left is in greater need of intellectual revitalization. My two cents: inside the US, the right has become sectarian and doctrinaire -- elsewhere, it may still be the case that the left knows less about how its enemies think and is therefore dumber.

A rather more authoritative voice than mine has spoken. According to Richard Posner:

The major blows to conservatism, culminating in the election and programs of Obama, have been fourfold: the failure of military force to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives; the inanity of trying to substitute will for intellect, as in the denial of global warming, the use of religious criteria in the selection of public officials, the neglect of management and expertise in government; a continued preoccupation with abortion; and fiscal incontinence in the form of massive budget deficits, the Medicare drug plan, excessive foreign borrowing, and asset-price inflation.

By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party.

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