For some time now, I’ve heard a fair amount about Andrew Sullivan, from colleagues. They’ve said, “He’s gone crazy, you must not pay any attention to him,” etc. I didn’t know this for myself — because I haven’t read him in several years.
Not long into the War on Terror, I sent him a contribution — contributed to his blog. I really found it invaluable. Not just for the opinions it expressed, but for the information it provided. This is the only contribution to a blog I have ever made (probably to my shame). This is the only time I’ve ever used PayPal (but I still get messages from them!).
I stopped reading Sullivan at some point — can’t say exactly when. I stopped, not because he went “left”; but because it seemed to me he went kind of — strange (not in a good sense).
(You know that Harold Bloom’s highest word of approbation is “strange,” don’t you? I’ve used it many times in arts criticism.)
A reader sent me something Sullivan wrote about me today — here. The item comes under the heading, “The Far Right Concedes.” And by “far Right,” he means me.
Sullivan says, “Jay Nordlinger’s posts at the Corner the last two weeks are worthy of a mindless, hollow, fanatical hack. But even this apparatchik for the far right cannot excuse Palin’s first two interviews.”
Okay, if an old-fashioned liberal like me is far Right — what language do you have left over for the far Right? I’m for limited government, individual freedom, free trade. Low taxes, light regulation, property rights. Equality under the law, equality of opportunity. Colorblindness, E pluribus unum. Broadly liberal education (and de-ideologized education). A social safety net, though not a social-welfare state. Constitutionalism. Free speech. Religious toleration. A strong national defense. Internationalism. Human rights. A sensible stewardship over the environment (rather than a radical, quasi-religious environmentalism). Etc., etc.
In other words, I’m a Reaganite, a Jeffersonian — a child of the Scottish Enlightenment. Whatever.
And what I favor is basically the ADA (Americans for Democratic Action, not the Americans with Disabilities Act!) circa 1965. But now all this stuff, of course, qualifies you for the far Right.
My reader said — the forwarder of Sullivan said — “Put his comments on your next book jacket. It would make me more likely to buy it than words of admiration from any conservative.” I appreciate the sentiment. But the loss of Sullivan, to rational thought and decent expression, is a terrible thing. May it not last forever.
Speaking of books — how ’bout a plug? In this collection, I have an essay (along with about 100 others) on the National Education Association, and what it once was. Read it and weep.