When I’m in trouble with Charles Murray, I’m in real trouble.
I am not convinced I was out of line, though. Himmelfarb’s views on Darwinism came up. I took issue with them. A reader with some expertise took the trouble to go to his college library, read ‘em up, and send me a long email about them. (And about Strauss’s, which he found much better informed.) I posted an edited version of his email, making my own lack of acquaintance with Himmelfarb’s work very plain, and urged curious readers to go to the source, which my reader had carefully listed.
That’s the kind of thing we do on The Corner. It may not be High Table at King’s College, but that’s what we do. If someone were to send me an email as lucid and informative giving a contrary view of Himmelfarb’s views, I’d post that, unless I was busy doing something else. It’s called blogging. So is Charles’s spirited rebuttal.
That’s blogging, too. That’s what we’re doing. Not everybody likes it.
To Ramesh’s indignation that I find “this line of thinking” — the line expressed, or at a minimum implied, by an Irving Kristol quote in Ron Bailey’s piece — “unspeakably horrible and inhuman,” well, that’s how I find it. Sorry.
And to Wesley Smith’s comment about what questions a public intellectual is or is not obliged to answer: That needs thought.
Certainly there are things in the private sphere he is NOT obliged to answer — it is easy to think of instances. I’m not at all sure that questions about religious beliefs are really that private, though, for a person as prominent as Kristol. It’s a good & interesting point, though. I’d like to chew on it a while, & would appreciate opinions.