The Corner

‘Liberal Intelligence’

I’ve just received something interesting and depressing in my inbox. Let me share it with you. Yesterday, the Dalai Lama, when asked to name a leader we could look up to, cited President Bush. In commenting on this, I said, “In my experience — and I’m just generalizing here — the better the person, the more positive he is about George W. Bush. Certainly the less snarky and narrow. Most of the people I admire most, admire the 43rd president. (Please note that I said ‘most of the people,’ not ‘all of the people.’) This is particularly true of those who know something about tyranny, and the need to resist it: e.g., the Dalai Lama.”

A short list of people I admire, who also admire President Bush? Paul Johnson, David Pryce-Jones, Norman Podhoretz, Robert Conquest, Armando Valladares, Natan Sharansky, Álvaro Uribe, Hamid Karzai, Barham Salih, John Howard, and . . . the Dalai Lama. As I said, just a short list.

When I wrote those words between parentheses — “Please note that I said ‘most of the people,’ not ‘all of the people’” — I thought, “Is that necessary? Am I condescending to the reader? I mean, he can read, can’t he?” But it seems you can never be too careful.

Which brings me to the interesting and depressing thing that landed in my inbox. There is a magazine called The American Prospect, and it has a blog: here. And this is what I read: “Marvel at The Corner’s Jay Nordlinger as he asserts that only morally good people admire the 43rd president . . .”

I don’t believe that only morally good people admire Bush; I’m sure some real snakes admire him. (In fact, I may know a few.) And I admire some people who do not admire him at all. In sum, I think what I said — not what this magazine, or its website, said I said.

The magazine has a little slogan, or boast — it calls itself “The American Prospect: Liberal Intelligence.” If I were liberalism, I would be insulted.

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