Saturday, February 12, 2011

Conor Friedersdorf misses the point

Understanding The Implications, Ctd - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan: "
Part of what I'm trying to persuade conservatives in journalism is that by being loyal to talk radio hosts, they're by necessity being disloyal to the rank and file; to any moral code that prizes truth over utility; to their professional obligation to be forthright with their audience; and ultimately to themselves. It is precisely the conservative who prizes the virture of loyalty, rightly understood, who should criticize Rush Limbaugh when it is warranted. It is a perversion of that virtue to do otherwise. The reader concludes, 'I just wanted to say that all of those conservative media figures are intelligent, worldly men, but some of them really do strongly believe in the value of in-group loyalty -- and this distorts their ability to think clearly about the world.' What I see are people being loyal to the elites at the expense of the group (see Limbaugh's lies, the sketchy Human Events advertisements that prey on elderly readers, and the Glenn Beck gold business, to cite three examples).

While I am pleased that Conor has taken up this noble cause I cannot help but think that he is doomed to failure. What looks to those of us that are not part of the top of the food chain as hypocrisy is in fact simply self-reinforcing behaviour. This is NOT a bug in the system as he seems to think. It is how the system is designed to work. I do not understand how someone as smart as Conor seems to miss the fact that the system is gamed in favor of the oligarchs and those that shine their boots. He may indeed be a true believer but he is surrounded by people that cynically support utter lunacy because it helps them maintain power, wealth or fame. Ethics, as most of us understand them, simply do not enter into their calculations.

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