The Spectacle Blog

Still Unenlightened

By on 6.15.09 | 11:42PM

Rod Dreher:

Boarding the flight for Dallas at Heathrow, I saw a stack of American Spectators free for the taking. I saw on the cover a story titled, "Obama's national socialism." I picked up the magazine anyway, and was glad I did, because there's always something worth reading in the Spectator.

[...]

[W]hat if you were a normal person looking for something to read on a long flight, and you eyeballed that magazine near the gate. Would you think a magazine that called Obama an exponent of "national socialism" had anything interesting and important to say to you? Or would you be more likely to think it was a scream-sheet of the loony right, one safely ignored?

James Srodes's piece, "The National Socialism of Obamanomics," was a judicious and thoughtful take on the similarities between the economics policies engineered by the Nazi central banker Hjalmar Schacht and those implemented by Obama and his economic team today. He referenced two new books, both of which are very well respected and mainstream: Liaquat Ahamed's Lords of Finance and Adam Tooze's The Wages of Destruction. Furthermore, Srodes's piece, published in the May issue, followed on the heels of an article by David Leonhardt published by the New York Times on March 31st that drew the connection between Obama's policies and Schacht's even more explicitly. "Every so often, history serves up an analogy that’s uncomfortable, a little distracting and yet still very relevant," Leonhardt wrote. "...No sane person enjoys mixing nuance and Nazis, but this bit of economic history has a particular importance this week." He then presented the successes of Schacht's stimulus policies as historical precedent validating the theory behind the Obama stimulus. 

So is Dreher prepared to deride the work of Liaquat Ahamed, Adam Tooze, and The New York Times for looking like "scream-sheets of the loony right"? If not, he should back off his criticism of Srodes's article.

Rod goes on to say,

These guys [like the Spectator's R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.]  act like there is only one conservatism, and Ronald Reagan is its prophet....

Until and unless conservative magazines and opinion leaders are willing to undertake a serious rethinking of what it means to be a conservative in 2008, it is unreasonable to expect that they will offer any enlightenment or guidance.

Well if "rethinking what it means to be a conservative" means no longer publishing undeniable and uncontroversial observations that happen to reflect poorly on the liberal leadership, then I hope we never do offer the kind of enlightenment or guidance Rod's looking for.

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