Palin and the anti-intellectualism of American Thinker
Over at American Thinker, Stuart Schwartz demonstrates the conservative thought process which tells conservatives that if the left says something negative about Sarah Palin, the opposite is, for that very reason, true. Thus, because the left considers Sarah Palin unintelligent, therefore Palin is very intelligent, indeed she is the embodiment of that uniquely American quality of common sense praised by Toqueville. Because Palin’s enemies unfairly mock her for not being an Ivy League elitist, therefore she is possessed of all kinds of deep wisdom which qualifies her for national leadership.
While I have been critical of Palin from the start, I like her for her good qualities and I have no desire to dump on her needlessly or alienate rational Palin supporters. However, just as I condemn Palin’s vicious enemies such as Steve Schmidt (and based on the picture I formed of him from earlier press reports, I believe everything Palin says about him in her book), I chastise ridiculous Palin worshipping writers such as Stuart Schwartz, whose main effect on their readers is to make them even more mindlessly reactive than Bush’s supporters were. Remember how their worship of Bush was directly proportional to the left’s hate for him? Remember how they rationalized his every bad, disastrous, or liberal-leaning act by insisting that it was really part of a deeply thought-out conservative strategy? Even after many of these people distanced themselves from Bush later in his presidency, they never expressed second thoughts about or took responsibility for the absurd things they had said on his behalf. And now an even more worshipful collectivity has gathered itself around Palin, with their love for her a direct response to the left’s hate for her, and with her every oddball or not-bright comment getting treated by them as though it were some genius-like emanation from the Alaskan version of flyover country. In propagating such mindlessness among its readers, American Thinker is causing deep damage to conservatism.
As for Palin herself, there are all kinds of unresolved issues from the campaign that cried out for a serious accounting in her book, such as her actions and statements in relation to Bristol’s pregnancy at the time of the nomination, and she just touches on them briefly and moves on, leaving even more unanswered questions in her wake than before she wrote the book. The impression she creates at such moments is of superficiality and a complete lack of reflection. Needless to say, you will never see such matters discussed at the fanzine that calls itself American Thinker.
Here is my take on Palin. She is, as I’ve said from the start, an American original. She was born to be governor of Alaska. But when McCain offered and she accepted the vice presidential nomination, she was raised up beyond where she was supposed to be, with the result that everything was thrown out of whack. The country was thrown into a tizzy and became obsessed, whether out of irrational love or irrational hatred, with this silly but addictive Palin phenomenon, and has remained so ever since. The whole thing shouldn’t have happened. She wasn’t meant to be at the national level, at least not at this stage of her career. She needed more experience and seasoning, and her children needed to be older, and her family problems needed to be worked out, so that she would not be running for the vice presidency with a four month old special needs infant and a seven year old daughter and a 17 year old unmarried pregnant daughter. The original sin was McCain’s choice of this talented and interesting but unprepared and unqualified candidate. He shouldn’t have picked her. She shouldn’t have accepted.
I read your blog pretty frequently and enjoy the analysis for its depth. Thank you.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 27, 2010 11:14 AM | Send