I read Tyler Cowen’s blog a couple of times a week, despite the fact he banned me from his site. I mostly skim the comments looking for familiar names. There are a handful of commenters there that post interesting responses. Cowen is not all that interesting. He’s Thomas Friedman without the mega-rich wife. Here’s Friedman’s wife’s home, in which she permits him to live. Banal rump-swabbery pays well, but not as well as marrying the daughter of a billionaire, so Cowen remains a junior rump-swab.
Looking for material, I stumbled upon this in Cowen’s links. It’s not a very interesting article, so don’t bother reading it. What is interesting is the author is a guy named Reihan Salam and he wants to reorganize American politics to be more like some place not called America, perhaps his home country of Bangladesh. Proportional representation has always been antithetical to the American creed, because it breeds the sort of tribalism and sectarianism a continental sized country can never afford.
One of the reasons many of us gave up on conventional politics is that in the mainstream, guys with weird, unpronounceable names, from foreign lands keep demanding we change our country to suit their needs. That would be tolerable if the response was “shut up and learn how to be Americans.” Instead, the political class goes out of its way to celebrate these people. Our rulers make it clear that the opinions of newly arrived boat people count for more than the opinions of the natives, who made the country possible.
Putting aside my justifiable xenophobia, take a look at Salam’s biography.
Salam was born in Brooklyn. His parents are Bangladeshi-born immigrants who arrived in New York in 1976; his father is an accountant and his mother is a dietician. Salam attended Stuyvesant High School and Cornell University before transferring to Harvard University, where he was a member of the Signet Society and lived in Pforzheimer House. He graduated from Harvard in 2001 with a degree in Social Studies.
Everything sounds like an American success story until that last line. What we have is a classic example of how the affirmative action game is played at the highest levels. Most likely he went into Cornell through the agricultural college, which has much lower admissions standards. He then transferred into Harvard because he ticked the right boxes and was placed into a nonsense track like social studies. Barak Obama was at least able to pass the bar. Salam has yet to prove he can stock shelves at a grocery store.
That’s not the worst of it. According to his bio, “Salam has been described as Literary Brooklyn’s Favorite Conservative. He has written that he intends to pump ideas into the bloodstream of American conservatism”. If there is any question about the dullness of Reihan Salam, it is answered right there. Conservatism, by definition, is the rejection of exactly what he claims as his goal. Conservatism, allegedly, is not about chasing the latest fads or ideas. It is the preservation of the proven and the traditional.
That’s not the worst of it. Again, according to his bio, “He believes it is “racist” for people to date only those of their own race.” Everyone knows that a cornerstone of conservatism is race mixing. Of course, that’s a requirement to get invited to the “right-wing” platforms on which he regularly performs. Salam is a regular on Slate, Vice, NPR, The Bill Maher Show, Chris Mathews Show and The Colbert Report. He also writes for National Review when he is not too busy with all of his other media ventures.
You can certainly see why Salam is Brooklyn’s favorite conservative. He’s a regular on all of their favorite shows and writes for their favorite publications. He even holds most of their favorite opinions. If you were one of those ridiculous racists who thinks words have meaning, you would erroneously think that Salam is just playing a well crafted role as the house broken conservative. That would be ridiculous. Salam is a conservative in the tradition of Bill Buckley and Ronald Reagan. What sort of bigot are you?
Obviously, Reihan Salam is just another guy working the Conservative Inc hustle. His utility lies entirely in the fact he has brown skin and a weird name. Instead of being an ornament on the ankle bracelet of Elizabeth Warren, he is a token on the charm bracelet of Rich Lowry. Even so, he is always ready to better deal himself and become a full-throated Progressive if there is a well paid opening. For now, he’s perfectly willing to convince people that today’s Progressive lunacy is tomorrow’s conservative dogma.
It’s why Conservatism is dead. It’s not just that they outsourced their movement to Asian migrants. It’s that they stopped being serious. They turned their thing into a parlor game, where they play a role the Left designed for them. Instead of being in opposition to the Left, they have embraced the morality of the Left, in order to party with the Left. If the public leaders of conservatism prefer to hang around degenerates like Bill Maher, rather than fight for the causes they claim to champion, why would anyone follow them?