The Corner

This We Believe

Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of the New Republic, thinks that in the aftermath of the election liberalism is being caricatured, and condescended to. His apparent remedy is to indulge in some caricaturing of his own: “Perhaps the most odious feature of contemporary conservatism is its equation of success with virtue. In the realm of economics, this long ago resulted in the strange belief in the moral superiority of the wealthy, a vulgar Calvinism according to which money is a proof of merit and riches are a mark of righteousness. . . . It is not the triumphalism of the Republicans that is so distasteful. . . , it is the sanctimony; and this is owed to a further refinement of the Republican worldview, according to which moral values are finally religious values. . . . The good are with God, the bad are without God. And since winners are good and losers are bad, it follows that the winners are with God and the losers are without God. What clarity!”

Well, I don’t know about you, but Wieseltier has described my views perfectly. It’s like the man has a window into my soul!

And there’s more: “Moreover, the ‘faith’ that is being praised as the road to political salvation, the Bush ideal of religion, is a zealous ignorance, a complacent renunciation of proof and evidence and logic and argument, as if the techniques of reason were merely liberal tools.” All of us conservatives know we can’t hold a candle to the reasoning powers of the New Republic. We also know that the most odious feature of contemporary liberalism is, of course, Leon Wieseltier.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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