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Ross Douthat on teh Real Story: Ezra Klein Is Awesome

Ross Douthat on the Rise of the Juicebox Mafia:

The Rise of Ezra Klein: Ross Douthat: maybe the email list is just a wonderfully high-minded attempt to "illuminate standard political reporting with expert policy commentary," with no partisan purpose whatsoever. How should I know? I'm not on it! Either way, though, isn't the real story here not the list itself, but the man behind it? I mean, email chains come and go, but the ability to bring your elders together for a common purpose is a rare thing indeed in media-intellectual circles. Isn't it possible that we're seeing the emergence of Ezra Klein as the William F. Buckley of movement liberalism - the wunderkind around whom older thinkers orbit, with JournoList as the equivalent of National Review in the Fifties, and with your Paul Krugmans, Jeffrey Toobins and Joe Kleins playing Willmoore Kendall or James Burnham to his WFB?... Ezra's organizational genius is ultimately the story here, his modesty about his own importance notwithstanding.

Let me, however, say that neither Paul Krugman, Jeff Toobin, Joe Klein nor anyone else on J-List bears any resemblance whatsover to Wilmoore Kendall.

Remember this?:

As this columnist never misses a chance to say, it isn't that the Liberals aren't anti-Communist; they are merely anti-Communist in a peculiar sort of way... [that] automatically exclude[s] effective anti-Communist action. And they cannot go along when the community sets out to do something about [i.e., lynch] its Communists...

Note that for Wilmoore Kendall, "Communists" includes all African-American "agitators"...

And remember this?:

[Harry] Jaffa's Lincoln sees the great task of the nineteenth century as that of affirming the cherished accomplishment of the Fathers by transcending it.... The idea of natural right is not so easily reducible to the equality clause, and there are better ways of demonstrating the possibility of self-government than imposing one's views concerning natural right upon others. In this light it would seem that it was the Southerners who were the anti-Caesars of pre-Civil War days, and that Lincoln was the Caesar Lincoln claimed to be trying to prevent; and that the Caesarism we all need to fear is the contemporary Liberal movement, dedicated like Lincoln to egalitarian reforms sanctioned by mandates emanating from national majorities, a [Civil Rights] movement which is Lincoln's legitimate offspring. In a word, it would seem that we had best learn to live up to the Framers before we seek to transcend them...

Note that when Kendall writes "Caesar" he means "illegitimate tyrant," when Kendall writes "egalitarian reforms" he means "allowing African-Americans to vote," and when he writes "live up to the Framers" read "abandon any attempt by federal courts or the national legislature to interfere with the peculiar institutions of the American South as they stood in 1950." Abraham Lincoln--and Harry Jaffa--would agree that there are better ways of demonstrating the possibility of self-government than imposing one's views concerning natural right upon others. That's why they objected to Southerners' holding African-Americans as slaves: what could possibly be a greater "imposition"? For a Union army under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant to say to rich white Southerners that they cannot hold African-Americans as slaves would seem to everyone--except Willmoore Kendall--a lesser imposition than for the Mississippi militia under the command of Jefferson Davis to say to poor African-Americans that they are slaves. Oh. And the "transcending" that Kendall italicizes in the first of my quotations from him above? That's code for "under Jaffa's interpretation, Abraham Lincoln is, at best, a fellow traveler of the communists."

Let me say that neither Paul Krugman, Jeff Toobin, Joe Klein nor anyone else on J-List bears any resemblance whatsover to James Burnham.

Remember this?:

Francisco Franco was this century's most successful ruler...

Or this?:

The McCarthy issue was used by the American Communists as their channel back into the stream of Popular Frontism. The Communists, in fact, invented the term "McCarthyism," and devised most of the ideology that went with it.... The liberals, on a roaring civil rights jag... lowered their guard and the Communists closed.... "[A]nti-McCarthyism" as a movement... was a united front, the broadest and most successful the Communists have ever catalyzed in this country...

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