Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Edmund Burke would shoot you in the face, son

Ezra hits one of the most annoying habits of conservatives - their pseudo-intellectualism:
Cherny recalled a conversation with a conservative pundit who asked, "Who's on your tie?" Apparently, the Reaganites signaled their seriousness by using Edmund Burke and Adam Smith as neckwear....It's odd, though. The sartorial symbolism of our unnamed conservative is just one manifestation of the rightwing punditocracy's sort of ostentatious intellectualism, which is usually signaled by smug and constant reminders of their slavish devotion to philosophical forebears.... Their standard bearers, after all, aren't tweedy guys who quote Burke, but swaggering Texans who misquote Christ. George Bush, not George Will.
Well said, and something that we should have called bullshit on a long time ago. Edmund Burke would never have been a Republican, or a republican for that matter. Adam Smith was quite clearly in favour of government provision of public goods. I don't remember where Burke said that gays shouldn't marry (though I'm certain he would have believed that, if he knew what gays were) and I don't remember Burke advocating for Congress to pass laws requiring brain-dead women to be kept alive by force. Conservatives talk a big game about their intellectual lineage, but its crap from beginning to end.

Can you guess why? I'll give you a hint: It's not fucking 1776 anymore, and The Wealth of Nations isn't exactly cutting-edge economics research anymore. If I want to read about economics, I'll read Krugman or Baker. That's not because I don't think there's merit in reading, say, John Stuart Mill, but because somebody who's used an Intel-era computer probably has something more relevant to say.

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