The Corner

Obscurantism

Kate Zernike of the New York Times describes how tea-party activists explore “dusty bookshelves for long-dormant ideas” and study “once-obscure texts” by “long-dead authors.” She is of course referring to Friedrich Hayek, whose book The Road to Serfdom was excerpted in Reader’s Digest and never has been out of print, whose Nobel Prize for economics in 1974 celebrated the importance and mainstream acceptance of his thinking, and whose death in 1992 isn’t exactly ancient history. The article fails to illuminate tea-party philosophy and some of what it tries to say is bizarre. (Check out Zernike’s jaw-dropping attempt to define “the rule of law,” which is apparently a term she hadn’t heard until recently.) But it does serve the useful purpose of highlighting the biases and blinders of certain journalists.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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