Going with the flow
Back in the 1970s, Joseph Sobran at National Review came up with the image of the Hive, by which he meant the uniform way that progressives, without any explicit central direction, automatically embark on the same coodinated response to any particular issue. I wasn’t aware of Sobran’s definition of the Hive, however, and when the idea floated into my mind yesterday, I thought of it as simply conveying the image of liberal journalists and intellectuals as social insects rather than as independent thinkers, and I also thought that the same idea applied to many establishment conservatives as well as to liberals.
The thought that “the Hive” triggered in my mind was that the intelligentsia, instead of being engaged in the effort of understanding and articulating the truth of things, are engaged in the effort of responding to what is being said in the intellectual environment around them, and of adjusting themselves to it from moment to moment. Their mental activity is not internally directed, but externally directed, not aimed at apprehending an object, but aimed at going with the flow. Once we realize this, once we realize that various well-known intellectuals are not concerned about truth and are not seeking truth, but are merely accommodating their thoughts to their social and political surroundings, much that is puzzling and aggravating about contemporary pundits, including some prominent conservatives, starts to make sense.