The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Few Thoughts on Henry Olsen’s Attacks

Henry Olsen writes (on Twitter) that “the libertarian-inspired GOP high priesthood of econ policy has blasted [Marco Rubio’s] ‘common good capitalism’ speech. They’re wrong; it’s time for conservatives to throw them and their tired liturgy out of the GOP temple.” He adds: Kevin D. Williamson “represents a strong element that seeks to stamp out dissenters.”

A few thoughts.

  1. The GOP is not a temple. It is a political party. Republicans would do well to remind themselves of that from time to time, and to spare themselves any effort throwing me out of it, inasmuch as I do not belong to it.
  2. I am interested in the juxtaposition of “throw them out” with Olsen’s accusation that I am one who “seeks to stamp out dissenters.” That’s a funny pairing. In what sense have I ever attempted to stamp out dissent? Through criticism and disagreement? I am afraid that Henry Olsen has gone Millennial on us and now cannot tell efforts to “stamp out” disagreement from the instruments of disagreement themselves. And wouldn’t “throwing out” dissenters be included in efforts to “stamp out dissent”? It seems to me obvious that it would.
  3. In his Washington Post column, Olsen writes that I am among those libertarians who are, as he puts it, “philosophically opposed to any federal government action.” But I am not philosophically opposed to any federal government action. Olsen’s claim here is categorically untrue, and demonstrably untrue, and obviously untrue, and known to be untrue by Henry Olsen. There are many federal government actions I support. What I oppose is the course of action proposed by Senator Rubio and shared to an extent by Senator Warren. My attitude toward Rubio — and his fondness for corporate welfare benefiting Florida business interests such as sugar — does not constitute blanket opposition to “any federal government action.” Olsen’s characterization here is intellectually dishonest, and he and the Washington Post ought to correct the record.
  4. Olsen’s headline reads: “Conservatives’ debate over their future is going to be bitter and fierce.” That’s fine. It will be as bitter as it needs to be, and probably more. But it should be honest, too.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Elections

More Bad News for Medicare for All

The hits keep coming for Medicare for All. Gallup’s annual health-care survey of adults found that Americans back a system based on private insurance rather than government provision by 54 percent to 42 percent. “This could create a challenge in a general election campaign for a Democratic presidential ... Read More
Elections

More Bad News for Medicare for All

The hits keep coming for Medicare for All. Gallup’s annual health-care survey of adults found that Americans back a system based on private insurance rather than government provision by 54 percent to 42 percent. “This could create a challenge in a general election campaign for a Democratic presidential ... Read More