Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (New Republic Contraversializing-the-Teaching Edition)
Ah. The neoconservative New Republic joins the Republican War and Science by giving its space to Gertrude Himmelfarb, who argues that it is important that we get the science wrong, and respect Intelligent Design, which she mischaracterizes as:
TNR Online | Monkey and Morals (1 of 3) (print) : [a] quarrel... not with evolution itself but rather with natural selection conceived as a purely mechanistic and entirely sufficient explanation for evolution. For them, intelligent design is nothing more or less than teleology, the recognition of a purposiveness or direction in nature, with or without a Creator in the orthodox sense of God....
The kicker is that it is more likely than not that Gertrude Himmelfarb herself doesn't believe in Intelligent Design, or in the Fundamentalist Protestant God that hides behind the mask of the Intelligent Designer. In the circles in which she primarily travels, the Fundamentalist Protestantisms that fuel Intelligent Design are good things for the simple to believe in because (a) it keeps them in line, and (b) it increases the likelihood that the U.S. government will tolerate the policies of Likud (the belief, you see, is that Israel must reconquer the entire territory of the Davidic Kingdom before God can bring about the Day of Judgment and unleash his wrath upon the Idolatrous Jews (and the Idolatrous Others).
All in all, better than in the days when Andrew Sullivan and Marty Peretz gave space to the Blacks-are-genetically-inferior-in-what-counts-even-though-they-can-jump crowd. But not by much.
Whether the New Republic will survive the technological changes of the next decade is an open question. If Peter Beinart wants to keep its only edge--its reputation for publishing smart things--he needs to seize control over the back of the magazine.