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June 7, 2009 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Ed Whelan, a lawyer and conservative law pundit at National Review has been making the rounds criticizing Sopreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, largely for her statements regarding judges making policy. publius, a pseudonymous legal blogger, wrote a harshly critical post of Whelan's behavior, accusing him of being a willing stooge of the right-wing - a "legal hitman"

In response Whelan outed publius, publishing his identity on the National Review website. publius added his side of the story. It's also worth reading Volokh's take on the original policy debate, which publius and Whelan each use in defense of their position
posted by crayz (117 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Christ, what an asshole.
posted by grouse at 8:26 AM on June 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


National Review? The National Review with the inexplicably Asian Latino caricature on their latest cover?

Yeah, fuck those guys.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:29 AM on June 7, 2009 [22 favorites]


While doing some CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training the other day, the instructor was talking of the importance of keeping an emotional distance from people who have been involved in tragedy that we might assisting with, as they're understandably highly emotional at that moment and tend to sweep people up in the drama. Instead the teacher instructed us to maintain sympathetic while remaining calm and keeping an emotional, and perhaps physical, distance in order to help keep the situation as calm as possible.

So, yeah, what's his name has my sympathies.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:29 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole.

Which one?
posted by philip-random at 8:30 AM on June 7, 2009


The funny thing is that the publius post did not seem that egregious to me when I read it origonally, it was taking a paragraph from the eminently respectable Eugine Volkah and a paragraph from Anonymous Liberal and adding some connective tissue. The hitman quote comes from Anonymous Liberal.

The emails from Whelan show him to be small minded and spiteful.
posted by shothotbot at 8:34 AM on June 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wow, I kinda love this bit:
In the course of a typically confused post yesterday, publius embraces the idiotic charge (made by “Anonymous Liberal”) that I’m “essentially a legal hitman” who “pores over [a nominee’s] record, finds some trivial fact that, when distorted and taken totally out of context, makes that person look like some sort of extremist.” In other of his posts (including two which I discussed here and here), publius demonstrated such a dismal understanding of the legal matters he opined on—including, for example, not understanding what common law is—that it was apparent to me that he had never studied law.
Okay, so, let's break this down:

Part #1: Whelan complains that he is mischaracterized as someone who takes a magnifying glass to the corpus of someone's writings to find some "error" as a way to discredit them.

and then he

Part #2: Goes over publius' writings with a fine-toothed comb, finds some potential errors, and brings them up as a way to discredit publius.
posted by adipocere at 8:36 AM on June 7, 2009 [61 favorites]


Contact info for Mr. Whelan here. Apparently, he's the president of something called the 'Ethics and Public Policy Center.'

And, while I'm throwing up Google results, here's another example of his keen legal mind--suffice it to say that it contains the phrase 'former fetus Barack Obama.' And here's Glenn Greenwald complaining about Whelan innacuracies, and Andrew Sullivan wondering what role he played in Bush-era torture policies.
posted by box at 8:39 AM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.

Which one?


The victim, obvs.
posted by DU at 8:42 AM on June 7, 2009


Mr. Whelan brings a quiet dignity to this matter the likes of which I have not seen since the popular girls' lunch table in seventh grade.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:49 AM on June 7, 2009 [42 favorites]


Yes, but when are Floyd getting back together?
posted by cortex at 8:54 AM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow - this email is just amazing: Passive-aggressive indication that Whelan knows publius's real name, followed by "Now who's the hitman". As if now that Whelan is going to out publius out of spite, that makes publius "the hitman".

I think Whelan doesn't understand what "hitman" means.
posted by Flunkie at 8:56 AM on June 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


A social conservative who is an asshole. Why, colour me surprised.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:10 AM on June 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


This is a man who was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General. He's currently the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Shouldn't that be President of the Lack of Ethics and Public Policy Centre?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:16 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The National Review with the inexplicably Asian Latino caricature on their latest cover?

Angry Asian sums up that cover nicely with his signature catchphrase.
posted by crataegus at 9:16 AM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not going to kid you folks that I've been all over the political map in the past and may be again in the future. I used to enjoy some articles at the National Review, or at least I used to engage with them.

A few years ago I met one of their staff writers through a mutual friend. There are very few people I have met, in my adult life, whom I have simply wanted to strangle. This was one of them. Her idea of joking was "Hey, you're going to Tennessee -- bring me back a slave!"

That anecdote is neither here nor there, but what with all this and John Derbyshire too, I'm beginning to think there's something profoundly wrong with the culture of the National Review; it may be tonier and more highly degreed than VDare or WorldNetDaily, but it's losing distinction otherwise.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:29 AM on June 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


Perhaps he meant for "Now who's the hitman" to be taken as a taunt. With the implicit addendum "That's right I am. How'd you like being in my crosshairs?"

I like to imagine that Washington lawyers also complain about people getting to close to their grills and too concerned with their bidness.
posted by oddman at 9:29 AM on June 7, 2009


I know arguments exist for the value of anonymity to free speech, but in most cases I find anonymity an discursive irritant, one that does little to advance the merit of the claims advanced by an anonymous blogger.

In certain cases, anonymity is essential for protecting the well-being of a writer, but in many cases anonymity is a distraction at best and a cover at worst. I think in publius's case, anonymity was a distraction and its maintenance may affect his career (tenure) depending on the history of his publishing as publius.

There are arguments that advise against anonymity plus warnings about tricking yourself that you are anonymous on the Internet.

If your livelihood or life depend upon not being outed, you probably should reconsider your highly-trafficked anonymous blog.

Whelan's an ass; publius picked on the wrong person.
posted by mistersquid at 9:32 AM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


> That anecdote is neither here nor there, but what with all this and John Derbyshire too, I'm beginning to think there's something profoundly wrong with the culture of the National Review;

I forget who said it (maybe Sullivan?) but they described NRO as 'third generation smart', which is to say that it was started by truly, profoundly smart people, who found replacements for themselves who were of like stature. Now that second generation has been replaced with the idiot scions of the first to pay off the debt to the first they incurred when they took over (c.f. Jonah Goldberg of Liberal Fascism fame), and they really aren't that smart, just connected and practiced at carrying on the orthodoxy they inherited, rather than developed for themselves.
posted by fatbird at 9:37 AM on June 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


You know, the combined internet talents we have on the progressive side ought to be able to run a full court press on the whole NRO/Human Events/far right wacko crowd, revealing not only any anonymous identities but any other dirty littler personal secrets we can find.

Because you know they've got dirty little personal secrets. They're right wingers.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:40 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps he meant for "Now who's the hitman" to be taken as a taunt. With the implicit addendum "That's right I am. How'd you like being in my crosshairs?"
Yes, that sounds likely. So, I'd like to amend my earlier statement:

Either Whelan doesn't understand what "hitman" means, or he doesn't understand what "now who's the" means.

Or both.
posted by Flunkie at 9:43 AM on June 7, 2009


If your livelihood or life depend upon not being outed, you probably should reconsider your highly-trafficked anonymous blog.

Publicus had perfectly valid reasons for blogging anonymously. But his "livelihood or life" didn't depend on his anonymity, and it sounds like he'll probably continue to blog despite being outed. That still doesn't really matter.

As everyone on Metafilter knows, you can argue substantively and heatedly with someone without knowing their RL identity. Whelan chose to out someone who asked him specifically not to do so. There was no reason in this instance to out him other than for spite and to specifically go against publicus' expressed wish to remain anonymous. IMHO, that's why Whelan is wholly deserving of the "Christ, what an asshole" sentiment.
posted by gemmy at 9:47 AM on June 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Actually, Publius didn't call Whelan a hitman. That's a quote from Volokh. This is how publius actually assessed Whelan:
And don't feel sorry for Ed. He knows all this -- he's a smart guy with outstanding legal credentials. He just enjoys playing the role of know-nothing demagogue.
I think what set Whelan off was the part about not feeling sorry for him. WATB.
posted by wexford_arts at 9:58 AM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


The emails from Whelan show him to be small minded and spiteful.

A small-minded, spiteful right-winger? Wow, that's about as rare as a dollar bill with a picture of George Washington on it.
posted by bashos_frog at 10:08 AM on June 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Is Whelan a print troll who has made the jump to the internet? Would this be true of the NRO as well? (asking as someone who doesn't know about either).
posted by zippy at 10:09 AM on June 7, 2009


One of the things I find fascinating about this is that publius mentioned "not wanting to discourage participation by his conservative students" as a reason for keeping the blog pseudonym. Obviously, one could say he doesn't REALLY care about that, and he's just hiding. But given the conservative obsession with Liberal College Professors Who Harass Their Conservative Students, it's ironic...

I've been reading Publius' posts since he started at obsidian wings, and always found them interesting and enlightening.
posted by verb at 10:28 AM on June 7, 2009


The lead article in the current issue of NRO is by crazy neocon Mark Steyn.

Whelan can obviously be judged by the company he keeps.
posted by zarq at 10:38 AM on June 7, 2009


I can understand why Whelan would like to know who is criticizing him, but his method of publicly outing and his (Whelan's) overblown, overwrought near hissy fit really didn't do much to garner any sympathy.

publis should have been upfront about ho he was (at least to Whelan), Whelan should have acted less like a complete asshole. A nice lose-lose scenario there.
posted by edgeways at 10:50 AM on June 7, 2009


publis should have been upfront about ho he was (at least to Whelan)

Why? Should every anonymous person on the Internet disclose their full identity before offering even a mild rebuke of someone else's writing? He wasn't publishing an investigation of Whelan's private life: Whelan said something in public, publius and several other bloggers responded in public. Big deal. And given Whelan's track record, publius would have been a fool to try to appease him by disclosing his real name. He did nothing wrong.

It looks as if publius will be OK after being outed, but this episode has shown us a hell of a lot more about Whelan's character than anything else.
posted by maudlin at 10:55 AM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


A few years ago I met one of their staff writers through a mutual friend. There are very few people I have met, in my adult life, whom I have simply wanted to strangle. This was one of them. Her idea of joking was "Hey, you're going to Tennessee -- bring me back a slave!"

That anecdote is neither here nor there, but what with all this and John Derbyshire too, I'm beginning to think there's something profoundly wrong with the culture of the National Review; it may be tonier and more highly degreed than VDare or WorldNetDaily, but it's losing distinction otherwise.


Matt Yglesias has an interesting take on the National Review cover of Sotomayor. The basic idea is that not everybody in the conservative movement is a racist, but the movement as a whole has an ideology of anti-anti-racism. In other words, it's a widely held assumption among movement conservatives that anti-racism inflicts more harm than racism itself. This assumption seems to hold regardless of whether anti-racist efforts are economic (e.g., voluntary affirmative action by private companies), political (e.g., hate crime laws), or cultural (e.g., discouraging people from making racially offensive statements).

When the right encountered the 1960s-era New Left's ideology of anti-anti-communism, they said it was no different from an objectively pro-communist stance. If you're feeling similarly uncharitable, you can say that current conservative movement's anti-anti-racist stance is objectively pro-racist as well.
posted by jonp72 at 10:58 AM on June 7, 2009 [20 favorites]


publis should have been upfront about ho he was (at least to Whelan)

Why?
posted by prak at 10:58 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


publis should have been upfront about ho he was (at least to Whelan)

Why?


Because a lot of people were raised with idiotic notions of honor and "fighting fair" and all that horseshit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:04 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why?

Dammit.

I guess not having a delete function means having to stand by whatever stupid poorly thought out post you failure to fully consider before hitting the "post" button. If this is the price I have to pay to not worry about quoting something that no longer exists; so be it.
posted by prak at 11:04 AM on June 7, 2009


Because a lot of people were raised with idiotic notions of honor and "fighting fair" and all that horseshit.

I'm not sure I understand how knowing a person's name makes an argument fairer and/or more honorable.
posted by prak at 11:09 AM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't see what honor or "fighting fair" have to do with it at all.

The only reason you would need someone's real name (as opposed to their well-known pseudonym) is if you wanted to launch some kind of dishonorable, unfair ad hominem attack.

Otherwise, you might just debate your pseudonymous critic on the merits of his argument.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:10 AM on June 7, 2009 [12 favorites]


Because an honorable person wouldn't hide his or her arguments behind a psuedonym and would stand up proudly and blah fucking blah blah
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:15 AM on June 7, 2009


Publius wasn't anonymous; he was pseudonymous, which is different. The name "publius" carried its posting history with it. He wasn't just a random anonymous guy. He stood behind his own words as publius, and he looks like he'll continue to stand behind them now that his name has been connected to his pseudonym.

Yes, that's a nitpick, but anonymous <> pseudonymous. As someone noted in the comments at Obsidian Wings, writing about politics under a pseudonym is part of an American political tradition that goes back to the Founding Fathers. You might think "conservatives" would have respect for traditions that go back to the Founding Fathers, but of course, you'd be wrong. What's tradition when it gets in the way of a temper tantrum at your political opponents?
posted by immlass at 11:19 AM on June 7, 2009 [16 favorites]


Why? Because he was/is a fairly well known writer criticizing another fairly well known writer. If we can't put our names by what we write where is the accountability for what we write? (hi, my name is Edgewood Smith: seriously).

All in all the critique of Whelan was fairly mild this time, but it need not have been.

I actually was not raised with the "idiotic notions of honor and "fighting fair", quite the opposite, but I see this as akin to the right to know your accuser. Many of the same arguments made for internet anonymity could be applied to keeping the anonymity of someone who is afraid of you when they bring charges against you, or protecting the identity of persons testifying on a witness stand. Yet, by and large we accept the loss of anonymity in these cases as a good thing. To be sure, I do recognize that the significant difference is in scale, a online blogger writing nasty things is not the same as the person testifying in a case that could result in jail time. But, it is analogous in that both are attacks, justified or not.

People seem to have this romanticized view of anonymity, that it allows us to be honest without suffering the consequences of being honest, yeah, sometimes that is the case and is valid. I think anonymity more often allows us to say borderline, and outright, offensive things allows us to attack other people without suffering real-world consequences, half to 3/4 of the shit said online would never be said face to face, occasionally that is a tragic loss, more often it is a blessing.

And let me clarify, I do think Whelan's 'outing' behavior was assholish and over the line, I think his actions should have stopped once he knew who the blogger was, that should have satisfied his desire.
posted by edgeways at 11:30 AM on June 7, 2009


immlass, that's not a nitpick. That's the central and most fundamental issue at stake. And you are entirely correct otherwise.

Arguments should be judged on their merit, regardless of who or what makes them.
posted by Xoebe at 11:37 AM on June 7, 2009


If we can't put our names by what we write where is the accountability for what we write?

A hit and run anonymous poster does little to stand by what they write. But someone who has consistently operated under the same pseudonym for several years, has contributed to several blogs, and permits comments on his writing is, by any reasonable standard, being held accountable for what he says.

If a pseudonymous writer's arguments are good or bad, first deal with the arguments. If a blogger is consistently a poor writer, acts badly, and makes crappy arguments, then they will probably lose stature online. That sounds like accountability, too.

Finally, Whelan has operated under his real name for years, but his actions show that he has no sense of honour or accountability. Giving your real name does not automatically make you accountable.
posted by maudlin at 11:46 AM on June 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


I see this as akin to the right to know your accuser

He already knew his accuser. His accuser was Publius.

If I got into an argument with John Wayne, how does it benefit me to force him to admit to his real name of Marion Morrison?
posted by bashos_frog at 11:51 AM on June 7, 2009 [16 favorites]


I find this post rather disturbing.
posted by publius at 12:20 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


High school lunch table, indeed. Whelan's outing of publius served no purpose other than being able to do it. He response to an acedemic attack on the quality of his own blogging was to find a petty and vindictive means to personally hurt the person who he felt slighted him. This was the intellectual equivalent of responding to someone by calling them gay or fat or something.

I imagine Whelan feels very proud of himself and given it's the National Review the idea that he'll actually face a direct reprimand for this is highly unlikely, but I think Whelan has already realized really quick he's been revealed as the loser here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:29 PM on June 7, 2009


So the founding fathers were craven dogs without honor when they published the Anti-Federalist and Federalist Papers under pseudonyms? The Federalist Papers, for a big dose of irony, were actually published under the name Publius.
posted by winna at 12:35 PM on June 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


There are legitimate reasons for anonymity that go all the way back to the founding of this Union.
posted by publius at 12:37 PM on June 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Because an honorable person wouldn't hide his or her arguments behind a psuedonym and would stand up proudly and blah fucking blah blah

Indeed.

I was going to out Whelan as a douchebag, but he outed himself.
posted by ryoshu at 12:58 PM on June 7, 2009


Publically outing people on message boards is nearly always a dick move. Occasionally it's done to reveal hypocrisy or something along those lines, but the majority of the time its done to get them into trouble with their employer for not echoing the organizational line. So unless you prefer PR department doublespeak to actual conversation by involved people, it shouldn't be tolerated.

Occasionally it's also done to provoke vigilantism, which is even more vile. That's the kind of thing they'd do on 4chan.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:59 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are legitimate reasons for anonymity that go all the way back to the founding of this Union.
posted by publius at 3:37 PM on June 7 [+] [!]

Eponysterical!
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 1:00 PM on June 7, 2009


you know ... with people like whelan, limbaugh, o'reilly, malking if i were a conservative, i wouldnt want to call myself one. i mean, who calls themselves conservatie these days w/o taking into consideration that automatically you'd be considered one of their supporters?

and calling them "not real conservatives" doesnt work when they have the reins of mainstream news and political commentary.
posted by liza at 1:12 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


geez. forgive the typos ... TAKE 2:

with people like whelan, limbaugh, o'reilly, malkin if i were a conservative, i wouldn't want to call myself one. i mean, who calls themselves a conservative these days w/o taking into consideration that automatically you'd be considered one of their supporters?
posted by liza at 1:14 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'm beginning to think there's something profoundly wrong with the culture of the National Review"

By chance a copy of National Review ended up in our house the other day and I thought, "Well, why not give it a read?"

It's hard to put words to explain how really, really bad it is, but let me try:

1. It's complete and very transparent propaganda.

2. It's sort of like those alternative newspapers, where there is actual news and editorial content but then all simmered and seasoned with a super-strong dose of 'attitude'. With an alternative newspaper the attitude is something like "hip 20-something" whereas with NR the attitude is more like of the racist classist hyper-establishment good-old-boy network of self-entitled and extremely smug, yet stupid, social cretins.

Or, to put it more simply--the type for whom "Hey, you're going to Tennessee -- bring me back a slave!" really is a hilarious joke on every possible level.

And it's not necessarily that the writers themselves belong to that group--more that they are, in a very conscious way, working to pander to that audience.

3. On top of all that there is a really icky sort of undergraduate frat-house vibe, involving certain Very Important People on their side whose opinion is given short shrift by certain other academics, all at or from various Ivy League schools. This enables both the production of masses of undergraduate-level pseudo-intellectual venom and their stock superiority/inferiority complex--superior because "We went to the same Very Important University as they did so we're just as smart neener-neener-neener" and inferior because "Those other guys are always picking on us and keep us from getting credit for our true brilliance!"

On top of that, add the pseudo-intelligent frat-boy attitude that they can win any debate by talking faster and louder and cleverer than you, and using bigger words, because "Hey, I'm smarter and richer than you plus I can beat you up!"

4. And of course, the "National" Review is in fact extremely provincial--anything west of, say, eastern Virginia (with the possible exception of small portions of Chicago) isn't really treated as a serious part of the country and doesn't matter much. Just a bunch of rubes & hicks out there.

5. An incessant "Us vs. Them/Conservative vs. Liberal" take on every single possible issue or historical event, with NR of course representing the aggrieved Conservative cause and pretty much everyone else the evil, incompetent, nefarious Liberals-who-are-ruining-everything.

So, to sum up: incompetent, racist, pandering, smug, pseudo-intellectual, polarizing, distorting, provincial, chip-on-the-shoulder, transparent propaganda.

If you enjoy reading that, then you'll enjoy reading the National Review . . . .
posted by flug at 1:15 PM on June 7, 2009 [13 favorites]


Has anyone mentioned that Ed Whelan is a douchebag? I hope so. It really ought to become part of the public record.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:20 PM on June 7, 2009


so you're saying National Review like the twit olympics but for right-wing pundits.
posted by liza at 1:26 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see this as akin to the right to know your accuser

What in the world...?

Whelan wasn't accused of commiting a crime, whisked off to trial, and then convicted without knowing who he supposedly victimized. His public arguments were criticized by someone using a pseudonym. There's such a huge difference between the two that it shouldn't even have to be pointed out.

Anonymity protects political speech. By confusing anonymous political speech with someone anonymous accusations of a crime to disguise one's personal stake, you're basically arguing for an internet where people can't be politically active for fear of unfair real-world consequences.

That would suck.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:29 PM on June 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Whelan:
Law professor John Blevins (aka publius) and others seem to assume that I owed some sort of obligation to Blevins not to expose his pseudonymous blogging. I find this assumption baffling. A blogger may choose to blog under a pseudonym for any of various self-serving reasons, from the compelling (e.g., genuine concerns about personal safety) to the respectable to the base. But setting aside the extraordinary circumstances in which the reason to use a pseudonym would be compelling, I don’t see why anyone else has any obligation to respect the blogger’s self-serving decision. And I certainly don’t see why someone who has been smeared by the blogger and frequently had his positions and arguments misrepresented should be expected to do so.
hilzoy:
... the argument [Whelan makes] is, imho, transparently silly. "I don’t see why anyone else has any obligation to respect the blogger’s self-serving decision". You have, I think, an obligation to respect other people's decisions about what stays private absent a compelling reason not to. Thus, if I worked at Ed Whelan's favorite bookstore and I learned that he has some taste in books that really doesn't square with his public persona, I should not disclose that absent really compelling circumstances. (He asks me to special-order child pornography and he is the Attorney General, for instance.) If I work at his laundry and he regularly takes in fetish gear to be dry-cleaned, ditto. This is part of the general obligation to respect people's wishes about their business, something I would have thought conservatives would recognize.

Is there any compelling interest here? No. He's just being a thug.

(Something like this comment, slightly expanded, might turn up as a post. Prepare to be bored.)
posted by maudlin at 1:48 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


This Supreme Court nomination process seems to have revealed a huge amount of frustration in the right wing. I think that they've gone so bull goose looney on Sotomayor because her nomination really hit them over the head with the fact they they've lost power big time in the last two and a half years. Three years ago, the Republican party controlled the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court, now they've only got the court left. And they know that they can't even muster up the forty votes to block her appointment. The fact that Obama picked a candidate who's both a woman and a minority just sent them over the edge. I think that we're going to see a lot more frustrated and angry behavior like Whelan's for the next couple of years.
posted by octothorpe at 1:53 PM on June 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Occasionally it's also done to provoke vigilantism, which is even more vile. That's the kind of thing they'd do on 4chan.

Frankly, it's also something that "they" do on Metafilter, albeit rarely.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:57 PM on June 7, 2009


By chance a copy of National Review ended up in our house the other day and I thought, "Well, why not give it a read?"



Uh huh. Tell the truth. You found it in the woods.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:59 PM on June 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Has anyone mentioned that Ed Whelan is a douchebag? I hope so. It really ought to become part of the public record.

I'm not sure if anyone has ever mentioned that Ed Whelan is a douchebag. If not, someone should probably mention that Ed Whelan is a douchebag.
posted by ryoshu at 2:14 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'm beginning to think there's something profoundly wrong with the culture of the National Review"


I don't think William F. Buckley, Jr would approve of how his baby has changed in his absence. You may not have agreed with him often, or almost never, but he earned a certain respect even from his fiercest opponents for his integrity, and for his erudition. I think conservatism as an intellectual endeavor has kind of died along with the man. Today it is all talking points and frothing mouths. If you were going to debate Bill Buckley, you had better be prepared with more than a set of talking points.
posted by caddis at 2:19 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Buckley wasn't erudite in any serious way. He was loquacious, and had a powerful vocabulary, but his arguments were streams of fallacies, long chains of inanities cloaked in a veneer of what people tend to think intelligent writing looks like. He was no more a great thinker than Dennis Miller, and it's a tragedy that the filth he lent legitimacy has benefited from his rhetorical skills.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:42 PM on June 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


Would you be saying that Ed Whalen isn't even fit to lick the sweat from William F. Buckley, Jr's ballsack?

Really, what an irredeemable asshole.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:43 PM on June 7, 2009


"I'm beginning to think there's something profoundly wrong with the culture of the National Review"


It was the smiley face Hitler with the blog calling liberals fascists that tipped me off on this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:43 PM on June 7, 2009


Yeah, I have a conservative friend who once tried to persuade me that The National Review was actually a serious journal of serious ideas.

This, of course, was back before they hired Jonah Goldberg.

(Come to think of it, this was in the narrow window in the years between when TNR was defending segregation, and the modern era when they're paying Jonah Goldberg for his insights.)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 2:54 PM on June 7, 2009


If Obama ever nominated a true liberal the entire right wing would die of a heart attack. Seriously, does anyone doubt the far right politics of either Roberts or Alito? When I voted Republican I always wondered why the left only dared to go slightly left of radical right. Go big or stay home.
posted by UseyurBrain at 3:01 PM on June 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


with people like whelan, limbaugh, o'reilly, malking if i were a conservative, i wouldnt want to call myself one.

Ah, but if you were conservative, then odds are good that it would be because your outlook and temperament were in line with that of whelan, limbaugh, and o'reilly. Modern movement conservatism isn't a set of principles that informs policy preferences; it is a temperament and desire to wield social and political power in a certain way. Thus, if you were a conservative, you'd be the sort of person who would identify with whelan and o'reilly.
posted by deanc at 3:21 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The only possible reason for knowing the real names of people criticizing you is if you want to try to humiliate them publicity for what they've said, and create real-world consequences for them.
posted by delmoi at 3:51 PM on June 7, 2009


The National Review's multipart plan to improve these United States seems to be:

1) Help rich people get richer
2) that's it.
posted by shothotbot at 4:05 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I always wondered why the left only dared to go slightly left of radical right. Go big or stay home.

The Democratic party = the left.

The American left is a very tiny thing with little or no power. The two major parties are slightly right of center versus quite right of center. We try to cover this with the facile claim that "left" and "right" are relative terms. In a global age it's becoming increasingly obvious how backward we are, but I imagine it will still take decades for the US to develop a true left with any kind of political voice.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:24 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry that should be "The Democratic party does not equal the left".
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:33 PM on June 7, 2009


Would you be saying that Ed Whalen isn't even fit to lick the sweat from William F. Buckley, Jr's ballsack?

Well, that might certainly taint my opinion.

But I can see where Whalen is coming from, even if I completely disagree with him. If you were arguing about scientology on the intertubes, and you discovered the person you were arguing with was Katie Holmes... Ultimately her identity is irrelevent if you can disprove her words - but, man, what a temptation to reveal her vested interests (In Publius' case, a legal academic! Must be so left wing he flies in circles!).

As I get older, it seems more and more likely that conservatism as its practiced is a psychological cover for following your most basic, and base, instincts of personal protection, tribalism, and scapegoating. If a liberal is a conservative that hasn't been mugged, then a conservative is someone who believes liberals just haven't been mugged...yet.
posted by Sparx at 4:35 PM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Or, if you're Rush Limbaugh, enough
posted by Sparx at 4:37 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


The only possible reason for knowing the real names of people criticizing you is if you want to try to humiliate them publicity for what they've said, and create real-world consequences for them.

This is the big thing to remember about this. Whelan's entire train of thought here, as it is for most of these vindictive shits, is that he's basically trying to openly threaten publius- here's something you don't want people to know, I'm going to tell them. It's a pathetic power grab. So is rape. So is bullying. It's the same mentality. I can hurt you, that's why I'm better than you.

Of course, the thing Whelan has to deal with now is he's sort of fucked for the rest of his career. By and large, the general consensus has him labeled a complete loser, publius is still smarter than him and will likely not stop deconstructing his lousy arguments, and now about fifty times as many people know who Whelan is, likely most of them in a very negative light.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:03 PM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


This Supreme Court nomination process seems to have revealed a huge amount of frustration in the right wing.

Yeah, you could say that
Steele On Sotomayor: ‘God Help You If You’re A White Male Coming Before Her Bench’

Steele couldn’t help but paint Sotomayor as a racist. “God help you if you’re a white male coming before her bench,” declared Steele before agreeing with a caller who wanted the GOP to raise questions about her “character”.

Steele’s fearmongering about Sotomayor treating “white males” differently in the courtroom has no basis in fact. A recent study of Sotomayor’s race-related opinions by SCOTUSblog’s Tom Goldstein found that Sotomayor had “rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.”
Pfft. So? Since when are facts supposed to matter here? Obama appointed her. She CAN'T be fit for the job. So anything you say about her goes. Sotomayor also likes to go waterskiiing, using live basset hounds for skis. Is that true? I don't know - she's been awfully quiet about where she stands with basset hounds and waterskiing. Coincidence?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:47 PM on June 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


"I think that they've gone so bull goose looney on Sotomayor because her nomination really hit them over the head with the fact they they've lost power big time in the last two and a half years. Three years ago, the Republican party controlled the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court, now they've only got the court left. And they know that they can't even muster up the forty votes to block her appointment. The fact that Obama picked a candidate who's both a woman and a minority just sent them over the edge. I think that we're going to see a lot more frustrated and angry behavior like Whelan's for the next couple of years."

That would be an explanation if their behavior had changed—it hasn't. They were vicious, racist beasts when in power, and they're vicious, racists beasts out of power. We're going to see more behavior like this for the next couple of years, but only because that's the only behavior they have.

(I will toss out as a tangent how it's interesting to see the difference here between folks who support outing gay conservative Republicans who vote against gay interests and those outraged at Publius's outing.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:04 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


"(I will toss out as a tangent how it's interesting to see the difference here between folks who support outing gay conservative Republicans who vote against gay interests and those outraged at Publius's outing.)"

Because one is an elected official and another is a blogger? Because the fact that someone is promoting an agenda as an elected official which runs contrary to their own secret life? Because the consequences of legislation promoted by that elected official has a direct, negative impact on the lives of people who are like himself? Because the blogger's identity is immaterial to his posts, and because anonymous speech is a long-held tradition of the political discourse in this country? Because outing a closeted "family values" Republican politician has nothing to do with anonymous speech?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:17 PM on June 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


(I will toss out as a tangent how it's interesting to see the difference here between folks who support outing gay conservative Republicans who vote against gay interests and those outraged at Publius's outing.)

Why is that interesting? They are two completely different things. The identity of publius doesn't demonstrate any hypocrisy, does it? He's not responsible for legislation that hurts others like him, right? He's not using his anonymity to shield himself from said legislation, is he?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:38 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Of course, the thing Whelan has to deal with now is he's sort of fucked for the rest of his career.

Unless he running for president of metafilter, this seems extremely unlikely. No one but publius will remember this in the fall. If I read Mr. Whelans colleagues correctly being extremely - but not actionably - rude to someone you don't like is only a good man's fault.
posted by shothotbot at 6:44 PM on June 7, 2009


I will toss out as a tangent how it's interesting to see the difference here between folks who support outing gay conservative Republicans who vote against gay interests and those outraged at Publius's outing.

Does Publius maintain anonymity to disguise hypocritical behavior? I'm really not grokking you, here. Can you explain what you mean?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:46 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


mistersquid writes "If your livelihood or life depend upon not being outed, you probably should reconsider your highly-trafficked anonymous blog."

Exactly. I'm as anti-NRO/wing-nutter/conservative bed-wetter/GOP as they come, and my whole response to this is "meh." People get outed all the time on the intarweb. To write something and truly believe it's "anonymous" is, frankly, asinine. If somebody wants it badly enough, they'll easily figure out who you are, eventually.

Was Whelan a dick? Yes. Is the internet filled with vindictive dicks? Absolutely. Is blogging under the assumption that your employer will never make the connection incredibly stupid? Yup.
posted by bardic at 7:02 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole.

It just goes to show, you can't be too careful.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 9:00 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


bardic: "Exactly. I'm as anti-NRO/wing-nutter/conservative bed-wetter/GOP as they come, and my whole response to this is "meh." People get outed all the time on the intarweb. To write something and truly believe it's "anonymous" is, frankly, asinine. If somebody wants it badly enough, they'll easily figure out who you are, eventually."

I remember one time I saw in the news about this woman who locked her door (just one lock!) at night, thinking it would protect her, but the robber came in and raped her anyways. I mean, didn't she know how little protection that was? Anyways, she was crying and everything, but I was pretty apathetic about the whole thing.
posted by TypographicalError at 9:08 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Would you be saying that Ed Whalen isn't even fit to lick the sweat from William F. Buckley, Jr's ballsack?

Who is fit for that job?

I thought so, there are so few worthy candidates. Justices Scalia and Roberts probably fit that bill. It is a pretty rarefied air here. There are a few liberals too but they would refuse. That leaves Scalia and Roberts. Thomas would love the job, but he certainly is not worthy of even licking the sweat off of Ann Coulter's balls.
posted by caddis at 9:15 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I remember one time I saw in the news about this woman who locked her door (just one lock!) at night, thinking it would protect her, but the robber came in and raped her anyways. I mean, didn't she know how little protection that was? Anyways, she was crying and everything, but I was pretty apathetic about the whole thing."

Because what Whelan did to publius re: outing is exactly the same as a woman being raped.

Get bent.
posted by bardic at 9:29 PM on June 7, 2009


If your livelihood or life depend upon not being outed, you probably should reconsider your highly-trafficked anonymous blog.

Okay... so the highly trafficked blogs are only open to certain people. Anyone with any knowledge or expertise whose income does not depend on a tenured professorship, a think tank, or a corporate fellowship should either STFU or go on LiveJournal. Good to know!

(I will toss out as a tangent how it's interesting to see the difference between people who can make meaningful distinctions and people who can't.)
posted by dogrose at 9:53 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember one time I saw in the news about this woman who locked her door (just one lock!) at night, thinking it would protect her, but the robber came in and raped her anyways. I mean, didn't she know how little protection that was? Anyways, she was crying and everything, but I was pretty apathetic about the whole thing.

Fuck right off. It's not even remotely the same thing and you should be ashamed that you ever made this ridiculously false equivalent.
posted by dogrose at 9:59 PM on June 7, 2009


Can we stop using irrelevant rape imagery to make minor points? It's worse than Godwin.
posted by spaltavian at 10:11 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]




(I will toss out as a tangent how it's interesting to see the difference here between folks who support outing gay conservative Republicans who vote against gay interests and those outraged at Publius's outing.)

I think the main difference is this: there is nothing inherently hypocritical about writing under a psuedonym. Most people would recognize that this is not the real name of the author and in fact the real name of the author is immaterial to the context.

On the other hand, whether a congressperson is gay or not should reflect on their legislative behavior. It is morally questionable to publicly state that homosexuality is immoral when you yourself are homosexual. Furthermore, if you write laws to restrict homosexual behavior when you are a homosexual, it implies that you intend to break the law you yourself are involved in creating. That is not just run-of-the-mill hypocrisy, that is really unethical.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:38 PM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Okay... so the highly trafficked blogs are only open to certain people."

No, if you write or write for a highly trafficked blog you should expect that at some point people will figure out who you are. Feel free to blog, but don't be surprised when you piss somebody off and they out you. Better yet, just blog under your real name, or under a pseudonym that isn't an attempt to hide your identity (e.g., Kos). Whelan was no doubt a douchebag about it, but Whelan was also making obvious what many people already knew re: publius' identity.

Christ, people get outed on Metafilter once in a while. I'd hardly call it "rape." Honestly, that's a pretty fucktarded analogy.

You guys realize this is the 21st century, correct? And that people know how to use the Google?
posted by bardic at 10:39 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


btw, there are plenty of academics who blog about politics and potentially charged issues under their real name, or under easy-to-figure-out pseudonyms (Michael Berube, the guys at Lawyers, Guns, and Money). If you're blogging anonymously about things that might prevent you from getting tenure, you might want to consider not blogging about things that might prevent you from getting tenure if your academic career is more important than your blog.

That not censorship, direct or indirect. It's common sense. Don't shit where you eat.
posted by bardic at 10:42 PM on June 7, 2009


I am very sympathetic to publius, but internet anonymity is kind of a farce. I understand the value of anonymity - from the Federalist Papers to Deep Throat - but publius's anonymous blogging is not exactly equivalent. I know that if I say anything bad enough to get a rise out of anybody, the gig could be up for ol' jabberjaw. I don't think that publius really believed that his anonymity was eternal or sacred, and if he did, it was foolish.

But outing identities in this situation is just a dick move. Incredibly petty. In this case, it ironically reveals more about the out-er than the out-ee.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:50 PM on June 7, 2009


No, if you write or write for a highly trafficked blog you should expect that at some point people will figure out who you are. Feel free to blog, but don't be surprised when you piss somebody off and they out you. Better yet, just blog under your real name, or under a pseudonym that isn't an attempt to hide your identity (e.g., Kos). Whelan was no doubt a douchebag about it, but Whelan was also making obvious what many people already knew re: publius' identity.

This is ridiculous. It's akin to saying: if you live in a certain part of town, your home is going to get broken into, and you should take that into account. And if somehow moving isn't an option, then the victim is essentially responsible.

Publius had something to say, and while it may be possible for him to say such things with his real name out in the world, it is going to be harder for him to associate with his family and his tenure board. And just because he's right and he believes in what he's saying doesn't mean that some ridiculous person on a tenure board who disagrees with his politics won't torpedo him just because he said something completely innocuous that got taken entirely out of context. And we sure as hell shouldn't blame him for attempting to make his life a little easier, or for calling foul when Whelan, for no reason at all, decided to out him.
posted by TypographicalError at 1:10 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Typo, you are the master of terrible metaphors. First you claimed outing an "anonymous" blogger (scare quotes here because as others have mentioned, anonymity after Google is an illusion) was the same as physical rape. Now you're saying it's the same as breaking into somebody's home and taking their stuff.

Outing an "anonymous" blogger is outing an "anonymous" blogger. I can't give you a precise ethical definition of this relatively recent phenomenon, but rape and breaking and entering it ain't. Impolite disregard for highly malleable internet etiquette that makes Whelan a mega-douchebag, perhaps. But nothing more.

I didn't say it was nice to out anonymous bloggers, I'm just arguing that a) there is no such thing as actual, effective anonymity on the internet and b) to act as if there is is the height of naivete.

As I've mentioned, there are plenty of academics (tenured and pre-tenure) who blog about politics. They do it under their own name, or with a slender pseudonym. They do it with the understanding that if they were to write something really stupid or offensive, they might lose their job. And this is a good thing, IMO. Publius is/was welcome to blog full time. His university has the right to take his (entirely public) internet writings into account.

To put it another way, if State University X discovered that one of their professors was actually an anonymous poster at Freep or Stormfront, wouldn't they have a right to ask questions as well? Obviously Obsidian Wings is far from a right-wing hate site, but I think the principle holds. You write it on the internet, you own it forever and ever.
posted by bardic at 1:27 AM on June 8, 2009


And btw, let me state for the record that I've posted things on the internet that I wish I hadn't . Nothing too risque or obviously improper, but things that I've learned I can't take back.

This isn't a censorship issue, it's an issue of common sense.

We all know the internet is serious business, so please get a helmet.
posted by bardic at 1:29 AM on June 8, 2009


I know publius, I've met him in real life, we exchange e-mails. His real life identity has been known to many people throughout the years since he started blogging back in 2004. I've known who he was since 2005. A lot of people have, including, for instance the very conservative feddie (a.k.a. Steve Dillard) of Southern Appeal. He wrote about the incident here.

Since publius started blogging at Legal Fiction back in 2004 a whole lot of people have known his real life identity, on both ends of the political spectrum, and nobody has thought it necessary to give his real world name. What Ed Whelan did was thoroughly shitty.

For further context, he has been blogging pseudonymously for much longer than he has been an academic. My impression is that it's family matters that are the principal reason why he chooses to blog under an assumed name.

I suppose it's interesting to note that hilzoy, another Obsidian Wings blogger, had her identity outed earlier this year by Slate. Her reasons for blogging pseudonymously were mainly so that her students (she's a philosophy professor) wouldn't be able to know all about her political views through some minor googling.
posted by Kattullus at 5:38 AM on June 8, 2009


A few years ago I met one of their staff writers through a mutual friend ... Her idea of joking was "Hey, you're going to Tennessee -- bring me back a slave!"

That's not racism, it's just Katherine Jean Lopez craving a social life.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:26 AM on June 8, 2009


He should hire an attorney, drum up some tort and sue Whelan's ass off. There is at least intentional infliction of emotional distress, and perhaps a trade secret cause of action here.
posted by caddis at 7:16 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Y'know, I vaguely support the outing of gay Republicans who vote against gay issues, even as I understand it's controversial and likely has more to do with my petty and vindictive nature than a real public policy concern, and I'm vaguely against outing Publius here, as it's mostly a dick move done out of petty vindictiveness.

But given the apoplectic scorn upon raising the point, I'll gladly argue that it's the right of students who take Publius's classes and those who engage in argument with him to know who they're dealing with—a prior condition to knowing whether Publius advances hypocritical arguments and a leveling of discourse, given that Publius can criticize anything Wheelan has written, and Wheelan, without outing Publius, does not have the same luxury.

And I can also point out that the same arguments used here in defense of Publius—that arguments can stand or fall on their own merits, that the harm of outing is a nasty attack outside of public discourse—do apply to gay politicians as well. The idea that one cannot be gay and not support marriage for gays (or any number of other equal rights) is fallacious and the outing is the very definition of a to the man attack. Not only that, but the cries of hypocrisy are pretty thin, given that none of the politicians actually enjoy the benefits of gay marriage, and descriptions of the supposed privilege or actions of these closeted politicians almost always describe hypothetical acts or bad behavior from fellow straight Republicans, not actual acts, in order to justify outing them.

So yeah, if you can't see any connection, you're either an idiot or a liar.
posted by klangklangston at 9:02 AM on June 8, 2009


I'll gladly argue that it's the right of students who take Publius's classes and those who engage in argument with him to know who they're dealing with

No, it's really not.

They have a right to a professor who is fair and professional. Whether he gets into online arguments about politics is irrelevant; he's allowed to have a life outside of the classroom that his students don't know about. They aren't entitled to know all of his opinions about politics.

They would have a right to know if he was doing something that would interfere with his teaching ability, but he's not.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:25 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


"No, it's really not.

They have a right to a professor who is fair and professional. Whether he gets into online arguments about politics is irrelevant; he's allowed to have a life outside of the classroom that his students don't know about. They aren't entitled to know all of his opinions about politics.

They would have a right to know if he was doing something that would interfere with his teaching ability, but he's not.
"

Not only did you misread the sentence, you missed the point. Without knowing his beliefs, it's hard to say whether his beliefs are influencing his classroom behavior. And from the other end, for people engaging with him online, it's fair to want to know whether he is disinterested or not.
posted by klangklangston at 10:05 AM on June 8, 2009


I'll gladly argue that it's the right of students who take Publius's classes and those who engage in argument with him to know who they're dealing with

You haven't made that argument yet.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:08 AM on June 8, 2009


... whether Publius advances hypocritical arguments ...

I had no idea that arguments could be hypocritical. Actions, not arguments, demonstrate hypocrisy.

... the cries of hypocrisy are pretty thin, given that none of the politicians actually enjoy the benefits of gay marriage ...

No, they don't enjoy the benefits of gay marriage. They do, however, enjoy the benefits of being accepted by their peers for being something that they are not, while they vote - they act - against others unwilling or unable to cloak themselves in the invisibility of denial. This isn't just about gay marriage, it's about being able to keep your job, have visitation rights to your kids/significant others, work as a federal employee, etc, etc. Unless those politicians willingly withdraw their claims to all those rights too - and I haven't seen any of them do that yet - they are clearly hypocrites.

If you can't see the difference between the voting record of a public official and the personal behavior of a teacher outside the classroom, if you can't distinguish between words and actions, I'm tempted to say that you're either an idiot or a liar, but I don't think you're either. Perhaps you're just a bit obtuse.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:11 AM on June 8, 2009


... it's hard to say whether his beliefs are influencing his classroom behavior ...

Wha? Well of course his beliefs are influencing his classroom behavior. Does this mean that he has no right to privacy at all? Can we rummage through his secret journal, because after all we have a right to know? If he drops said secret journal while walking down the street, is the ethical response to publish its contents and associate them with him?

And from the other end, for people engaging with him online, it's fair to want to know whether he is disinterested or not.

Do we know that any better now that we know he's a law professor somewhere?
posted by me & my monkey at 10:17 AM on June 8, 2009


Man that Ed Whelan is a douchebag.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:38 AM on June 8, 2009


Without knowing his beliefs, it's hard to say whether his beliefs are influencing his classroom behavior.

Really? Really. Really? So - where exactly are you going to keep track of everyone's beliefs? Who is going to maintain that?

I'm pretty sure that EVERYONE has beliefs, be they academics, janitors or whatever. Why would his beliefs compromise his ability to do use his skills and perform his job?

So - what are your beliefs and how are they influencing this discussion? We need to know, please ensure that everything is included in your response...
posted by jkaczor at 1:18 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Really? Really. Really? So - where exactly are you going to keep track of everyone's beliefs? Who is going to maintain that?"

I'd like to introduce you to a marvelous repository of all sorts of searchable data—it's called the Internet, and guess what, you're there right now!

I'll give you a moment to gasp in astonishment.

"I'm pretty sure that EVERYONE has beliefs, be they academics, janitors or whatever. Why would his beliefs compromise his ability to do use his skills and perform his job?"

Right. So, no complaints about creationists teaching biology or white supremacists teaching sociology. But from this comment, I take it that you're completely unfamiliar with any sort of academic experience at all, and have never had a teacher whose subjective opinions colored in any way their presentation of a topic for a class. If you earnestly held beliefs that Publius was publicly contemptuous of, why shouldn't you seek another professor? Or at least factor that into your decision to take a class with that professor? I certainly chose my professors in part due to their personal behavior—if one of my profs hadn't been the only one to teach a required class, I certainly wouldn't have sat through his repeated proclamations of Objectivist bullshit, and I let everyone in my program know that they should avoid him if they were able to.

"So - what are your beliefs and how are they influencing this discussion? We need to know, please ensure that everything is included in your response..."

Well, way to miss the point again, but yes, I can definitely say that the beliefs I put forth here are also reflected in my freelance writing, such as it is.

It's also worth noting that the identity/identities of the Federalist Papers' Publius was an open secret. As is Blevins' now.
posted by klangklangston at 1:45 PM on June 8, 2009


The Countess Elena Sayeth:
I'm beginning to think there's something profoundly wrong with the culture of the National Review.

Yes. But it's not so much with the internal culture of National Review as it is a congenital cancer within modern conservatism as a whole. Consider the fundamental difference between liberal and conservative attitudes toward abuses in government. It's a myth that Republicans are anti-big government and liberals are for it. We just see different uses as legitimate or abusive. Liberals get outraged when government power is used to imprison people, conduct warrantless surveillance, or practice torture. What gets the same outrage in today's conservative movement? What will get them marching on the streets or blogging in high dudgeon?

The idea that rich people will have to pay taxes.

Seriously. That's the modern conservative idea of governmental abuse. That you'll have to pay taxes. That shows a very distinct difference in the conceptions of what democracy or oppression is between the left and the right, and it's why I'm really proud to belong to the former.
posted by Stochastic Jack at 3:36 PM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


it's called the Internet, and guess what, you're there right now!

Yeah - and unlike you, I post with my real name - but I am not about to trawl through your profile to "out you" because I disagree with you. (... and yes, I know your profile here is not anonymous, nor do you try to make it so...)

So, no complaints about creationists teaching biology or white supremacists teaching sociology

As long as they teach the curriculum, it should not matter. So you determine that anyone who does not share your beliefs is inherently incompetent? So wait a minute - free speech, Jeebus and guns for everyone if you are Republican, but shut the fuck up if you ain't? Nice little republic you guys want to have down there...

If you earnestly held beliefs that Publius was publicly contemptuous of, why shouldn't you seek another professor?

Ah yes, one of those "entitled" students who prefers not to be educated with any challenges. At any point willing to whine for a change of venue because things didn't match your worldview.
posted by jkaczor at 6:16 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


"So - what are your beliefs and how are they influencing this discussion? We need to know, please ensure that everything is included in your response..."

Really? That's your real name—Jkaczor? Were your parents doing Czech crosswords when they named you?

Oh, you must have meant that I can find your real name with only a few clicks. Which hey, you can with me too.

"As long as they teach the curriculum, it should not matter. So you determine that anyone who does not share your beliefs is inherently incompetent? So wait a minute - free speech, Jeebus and guns for everyone if you are Republican, but shut the fuck up if you ain't? Nice little republic you guys want to have down there..."

Are you part of some Canadian subsidy to get more gas-huffers onto the internet? Yeah, I'm a big bad Republican here to silence everyone and march my jackboots across your border, stealing your mickeys and two-fours.

"Ah yes, one of those "entitled" students who prefers not to be educated with any challenges. At any point willing to whine for a change of venue because things didn't match your worldview."

Though it will BLOW YOUR MIND, I've had professors whose politics I agreed with and still would have avoided had I known how they expressed them. But like I said, you've obviously no experience with academia, so the point will be lost on you. Either that or you're too far off barking at Republicans to remember what college was like (or maybe one of those idiots who can't reason beyond agree/disagree).
posted by klangklangston at 6:43 PM on June 8, 2009


And just to rerail this slightly, what brought to mind the comparison was how Wheelan phrased the possible objections to outing—the "self-serving reasons," etc.
posted by klangklangston at 6:44 PM on June 8, 2009


Really? That's your real name—Jkaczor? Were your parents doing Czech crosswords when they named you?

This the best you can do with your edumacation? Wow, impressive.
posted by jkaczor at 9:52 PM on June 8, 2009


But - this is a pretty typical tactic for republicans, isn't it? Attack the individual rather than the argument.
posted by jkaczor at 9:54 PM on June 8, 2009


Maroons.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:37 PM on June 8, 2009


But - this is a pretty typical tactic for republicans, isn't it? Attack the individual rather than the argument.

The standard phrase that I see in right wing blogs is "consider the source here". Whenever there is some news that they don't like or doesn't fit in with their world-view, they start trying to find ulterior motives for the source to be saying that.
posted by octothorpe at 4:44 AM on June 9, 2009




Whelan apologized again, in more detail, in the ObWi comments of that last post by publius.

I think he's pretty clear and gracious. Better, of course, that he had never outed publius, but instead of digging in, as he says is his habit when opposed, he rethought his position and took responsibility for his bad actions.
posted by maudlin at 6:39 AM on June 9, 2009


"But - this is a pretty typical tactic for republicans, isn't it? Attack the individual rather than the argument."

God, literacy standards must be low in Canada.
posted by klangklangston at 8:04 AM on June 9, 2009


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