Monday, October 20, 2008
The Pundit Wars are a multifaceted thing, and Ross Douthat has been near the center of most of the controversies. Here and here he defends the need for the GOP (and the Right in general) to have associated elites. I'm sympathetic to his conclusion but I think his reasoning is specious. The Right needs to have elites for the obvious (to me, at least) reason that there are important circumstances where knowledge or expertise is not widespread amongst the grassroots and somebody with that expertise has to be in position to make decisions or communicate the state of the game. Ross' concern with the conservative cocoon is well-placed, I think, but doesn't imply what he thinks it does. In fact, it's way more plausible to say that it's the nature of the cocoon is that various members of the conservative elite talk to each other and no one else, which belies the theory that the elite will stop us from putting ourselves in a cocoon.