Monday, April 14, 2003

Intelligent Idiotarians and Other Apparent Oxymorons-My fisking of a less-than-pro-war piece at Connexions got a pained reply from Wood. I wasn't in the best of moods on Friday afternoon and I was more than a bit condescending in tone; I have to remember not to do a critique when I’m feeling cranky, for it doesn’t come out overly edifying. We may well have been speaking past each other, Wood looking at things from a British perspective that might alter the view of Pinochet vis-a-vis Argentina. I'd like to point out that Wood isn't an idiot. Where he might have gotten that from was my response to Josh's comment. Josh kicked off the comment section with
Mark, I see "Fiskable" posts like this so often it tires me. I'm impressed you had the patience to comb through it all
I replied with
I must stick to a steady diet of anti-idiotarians, for that was the biggest whopper I've seen in a while.
I'm just about to retire the word idiotarian and its derivatives as unfairly critical of liberals and paleos, putting it into the dumpster that I put Euroweenie and EUnich into. The people who wind up getting that pejorative are generally as intelligent as the bloggers labeling them. However, their backgrounds give them a slant that differs from the small-l liberalism that is the native ideology of the Blogosphere. They'll view things from a different perspective and weight the pros and cons of a topic differently and add in factors that we might ignore or discount. For instance, Robert Fisk, the man who has been verbed by the Blogosphere, would have roughly the IQ of the average blogger, plus or minus 10 points. However, he's been brought up into a view of the world that is decidedly anti-Anglospherian, as he seems to over-weigh the negatives of Western culture and political economy and under-weigh the positives. His writing shows more a lack of wisdom than idiocy. I have a standard line when I start my classes-there's no such thing as a dumb question. There are ignorant questions. Dumb means you can't learn; ignorant means you haven't yet learned. Ignorance is curable. Our "idiotarians" aren't dumb, just either ignorant and/or misguided. Wood's essay might well be "idiotarian" in the parlance of conservative blogdom, but he's not an idiot. Nor is Connexions an idiotarian web site; it's a notch to my left, but it's well written and thoughtful. When I disagree with Rev. Hall, I generally do so agreeably. Wood noted that he was ambivalent about the war; however, his critiques of the war seem to be rather pessimistic about the post-Cold War changes in US and British foreign policy. We're not angels, but I think there is a lot less realpolitic than there was in the 70s or 80s. There's still too much realpolitic and too little practical altruism. He'd like me to give a fairer shot at his piece, and I'll try to do that within the next 48 hours.

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