Andrew Sullivan recently dashed off one of his intemperate missives, excoriating Charles Krauthammer for changing his position on climate change. Sullivan writes that Krauthammer shifted with the political winds in his “latest column” because:
Of course, let's look a little closer at the byline of the Krauthammer column Sullivan is critiquing:
The First Commandment of the Church of the Environment
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, May 30, 2008
Sullivan's entire ad hominem conclusion — that my views are animated by nothing but the basest, most corrupt partisan motives — turned out to be a complete invention based on his inability to read dates.
Krauthammer serves up much more in the way of succulent crow for Sullivan to feast upon and you owe to yourself to read what he has to say. For the record, Sullivan has since apologized but I'm not quite sure that's enough here.
It's not just that Sullivan is hilariously, utterly wrong — it's that he's hilariously, utterly wrong as a basis for attributing the worst possible motives to those he disagrees with. And it's Sullivan who does this with impunity — whether's he's hyperventilating that Bill Kristol approves of Shiite death squads in Iraq killing gay people or writing that “the lies of Sarah Palin are different from any other politicians'. They are different because they assert things that are demonstrably, empirically untrue.” Apparently, politicians more to Sullivan's liking are somehow capable of lying in a way that is “demonstrably, empircally” true.
The conservative blogosphere's reaction to Sullivan is, as a general rule, to ignore him. It's the safe course of action. But it's also worth stepping outside once in a while to marvel that this guy is somehow read approvingly by millions of otherwise sane individuals all too comfortable putting their brains in the glove compartment while cruising down the information superhighway, so long as what they read reinforces their left-of-center political predjudices. Sullivan can quote Michael Oakeshott all he wants — but does any sane person think he's remotely he can fairly be called a conservative anymore? And more mystifyingly, he's cited approvingly by the leader of the free world in prime time press conferences and regularly invited to off-the-record briefings at the White House. This despite pretty demonstable, empircal evidence (see Exhibit A) that Sullivan is either mendacious or bananas or too bananas to realize how mendacious he is. Or maybe he's just on drugs.
In any event, now might be one of those rare occaisons where one makes a note of Sullivan's general insanity and what that says about the people — including the President — that continue to respect his reasoning and defer to his moral authority. Once you've done that, you can now safely go back to ignoring him.