Thursday, October 7, 2010

Intellectual Discourse

Ron Radosh, an author and political commentator, has a post today (10/6/2010) on cultural hegemony (h/t Instapundit). Mr. Radosh discusses the ideological rigidity of “liberal intellectuals,” making the point that these individuals are unable to accommodate contrary evidence that disrupts their world view. It’s a cultural phenomenon, much like the ancient antipathy for non-Moslems in the Moslem world. The dominant culture establishes what is “right and natural.”

I got a taste of this the other day when I posted a comment on a site run by a gentleman in Vermont. The post was about the contention of author Jon Krakauer that 41 percent of the casualties in the current war in Iraq are attributable to “friendly fire.” Mr. Jack McCullough, the blogger in Vermont, had represented that statistic as being a fact.

Here’s my comment:
Mr. McCullough:

I would be interested in your take on a similar review I did of Mr. Krakauer’s book last year. For a work of non-fiction, I think his “facts” on friendly fire are distorted. See if your review of the Brookings data leads to a similar conclusion.

If you have better data, please let me know and I’ll post it at
Mr. McCullough commented back:
I didn’t jump into the ancient discussion on your blog, but I’d be curious if Krakauer has ever responded to your claims.

I also note that there is really no attempt to refute Krakauer’s central thesis: that Tillman was the victim of fratricide and the Bush administration lied and covered it up as long as it could possibly do so.
Oops—I should have said more.

There is also no question that the Bush administration lied about the Jessica Lynch incident, and that it did everything it could to make political hay of these twin tragedies.
My attempt to have Mr. McCullough evaluate contrary evidence was rebuffed, and in a distinctive pattern:
1. My citation was dismissed as “your claims.”
2. My question was skirted (other than to wonder if Jon Krakauer was interested).
3. My intent was derided through characterization of side issues.
Dismiss, Skirt, and Deride. Does that sound like intellectual discourse or what?

It reminds me of another pattern: The Apology.

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