The Corner

The Virtues of Elizabeth Warren

It can be tedious to answer this sort of thing, but it is a duty: A few liberal critics of my story on Elizabeth Warren (which our blessed subscribers can read here) have suggested that the piece is somehow inconsistent because I noted that, among other things, she is smart, tough, and principled. My experience of the liberal worldview is that it is for the most part crude and Manichean, holding that conservatives do not merely hold different political preference but are in fact either malevolent or ignorant. Conservatives, on the other hand, are taught to cultivate an “affection for the ‘variety and mystery’ of human existence,” and therefore need not subscribe to such primitive notions.

That being said, let me repeat: I do believe that Ms. Warren is smart, principled, and tough. Also wrong, wrong, and wrong.

A great number of smart people hold political preferences that are to some extent at odds with my own, from Paul Krugman to Andrew C. McCarthy. One of the odd facts of American political life is that some of our most intelligent presidents have been our worst — Hoover, Wilson, and Nixon leap to mind. One can muster a great deal of intelligence behind ideas that are wrong and destructive; one can be very tough imposing policies based on ideas that are wrong and destructive; one can hold out of sincere principle ideas that are wrong and destructive. It is possible to be wrong without acting out of ignorance or malice, though you can go many moons without meeting a liberal who acknowledges as much.

Here endeth the lesson. 

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