I'll be short today as an email screw-up of mine kept LTC Bob on TNR and NRO from going up at a reasonable hour, so read me quickly and keep going on to him.
We've seen many examples of what we have no trouble labeling intellectual dishonesty on the part of The Washington Post editorial page, but I've never seen one quite so clear and unarguable as this one -- or if I have, I don't recall it. The Post editors write that "Mexico's gross domestic product, now more than $875 billion, has more than quadrupled since 1987." This is unarguable nonsense. Mexico's GDP has not even doubled in this period. The Post editorial writers have ignored the most fundamental fact in making such a comparison: inflation. As Dean Baker points out, "If we don't adjust for inflation, Zimbabwe's economy, wracked by hyperinflation of several thousand percent annually, is the fastest growing economy on the planet. If the Post editorial writers use a consistent measure, we can expect to see warm praise for Zimbabwe's extraordinary growth on the editorial pages in the near future."
I suppose that it's possible that a reporter could honestly have allowed the phenomenon of inflation to slip his or her mind. But that such a reporter could somehow be involved in writing editorials on the topic -- and his or her editors as well? Sorry, that's just beyond belief. For me the test of an honest mistake is whether it is consistent with a person's ideology. The Post editorial board has consistently smeared opponents of what it falsely terms "free trade," and here it demonstrates the lengths to which it is willing to go. What was telling about Joe Klein's misreporting of the FISA bill last week was the fact that it was consistent with Klein's obsessive campaign to consistently cast aspersions on Democrats and liberals when it comes to their manliness -- or at least what constitutes manliness in Klein's eyes. So as with Klein, the Post editorial writers make an intellectually indefensible mistake that just happens to further their ideological obsession. If we let this kind of thing pass, we end up with tyranny. Think about it.
Marty Peretz, 11/21/06:
What [Bush] did not grasp -- and what, for that matter, Baker and those for whom he speaks also do not grasp -- is the sheer and relentless butchery of which Jews are capable.
Posted by M. Duss
I try not to speak ill of the recently dead, and I don't if I know people who would be hurt by it, but I don't think Evel Knievel and I have any mutual friends, and Bob Arum's girlfriend at the time did actually take me (and her son) to Madison Square Garden to see the ridiculous non-event that was his Snake River Canyon jump, and so I feel personally involved. Anyway, I'm not actually saying anything, I'm just reminding people that, according to Arum, "He used to always say the three things he hated the most were New Yorkers, lawyers and Jews so I was three for three with this guy."
Thinking Politically: Essays in Political Theory by Michael Walzer (Yale University Press)
Michael Walzer is one of liberalism's most important contemporary philosophers, as he seeks to meld communitarian concerns with traditional Rawlsian arguments together with a healthy dose of patriotic feeling and never-entirely absent concern for the well-being of Israel. In James P. Young's terrific survey on the history of the idea -- the best I've ever read -- Walzer alone emerges all but unscathed. These essays, selected and edited by David Miller, this volume brings together some of Walzer's more important works, are wide-ranging, and also include a previously unpublished essay on human rights. It also includes a recent interview with Walzer and a detailed bibliography. The Amazon page for the book is here.