The Corner

The Leviathan Slate

Well, the feedback from Slate readers on my critique was really illuminating. About a quarter of the self-identified liberals agreed with me. About a third, offered criticisms of varying merit. And the rest were just straight out of central casting. Lots of people were outraged that I didn’t spend lots of time defining the word “liberal” as if its basic meaning (as opposed to its definition) is some sort of deep and enduring mystery. It’s also interesting how so many liberals instinctively assume that it’s an insult to be called a “liberal magazine.” The defensiveness of this point was really quite amazing. “Why do assume it’s bad to be a liberal magazine!?” asked several of Slaters. My response: Who said I did? I don’t denounce the New Republic or American Prospect for being liberal magazines. Why? Because that’s what they are and there’s no shame in that. What bothers me about Slate — among other things — is that it thinks it’s above such things. Indeed, so do many of their readers who think it’s “childish” and “partisan” to care about “labels.” I think this is highly cultivated obtuseness and always have.

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