Last week the queer website Gawker bagged another crime-thinker when they “outed” Razib Khan as he was about to take up a space on the NYTimes website. Apparently it was assisted by the in-house racist of the NYTimes, Jamelle Bouie. That’s not surprising. The dumbest employee of the NYTimes is probably the best person to be their ambassador to the Gawker-verse.
As an aside, I always wonder how guys like Bouie and TN Coates live with themselves. They have to know they are ornaments and not taken seriously by their owners. None of the trust fund types running the Times and the Atlantic have any interest in what these guys are saying or doing. I guess it beats working the drive through.
Anyway, as Derb pointed out, it was a bit shocking to see the Times hiring someone like Khan in the first place. The religion of anti-racism pretty much precludes any discussion of genetics beyond the sort of stuff that turns up in grammar school text books. It just shows that the people at the NYTimes are completely unaware of what goes on outside their bubble.
Let me just say that I have read Khan for years and I enjoy his work. I don’t know him, but I suspect he and I would not get along very well. Therefore, my appreciation of him is purely intellectual. He is simply one of the best genetics bloggers/writers on earth. You cannot have an interest in population genetics and not read Razib Khan.
The fact that Gawker now has a veto over hiring at the NYTimes is not entirely surprising. One of the things about these Rousseau-ist cults is they always end up handing power to the worst elements in their cult. From The Reign of Terror forward the pattern has always been the same. The movement grows increasingly fanatical until control is in the hands of psychotic lunatics.
The reason for this is that utopian religions have no natural limit. There’s no line that reads, “This is enough.” Christianity has those lines. Judaism has those lines. Once you do certain things, show you believe certain things, you are pious enough. Built into the religion is an upper bound and a caution about trying to go beyond it. The Catholic Church burned more than a few heretics for trying to immanentize eschaton.
In Rousseau-ist cults, no such limit exists. They are premised on the firm belief that there is a way to arrange things just the right way to create heaven on earth. They don’t call it that, but the echos are there in discussion of health care or poverty programs, for example. Obama spent three years talking about his plan to have more people on government health services while also lowering the cost, a mathematical impossibility.
The dynamic that evolves is one where adherents compete with one another over who is the most pious. Since there’s no objective way to measure piety and no defined limit to piety, a weird race to the bottom ensues.The only way to “prove” yourself is to be more fanatical than the next guy. The following guy has to do more.
During the Reign of Terror, fear of being branded a counter-revolutionary led moderate men to embrace violence against their fellows. The result was an escalation of violence. The Nazis and Bolsheviks went through similar period of fervor during which members were purged and alleged enemies murdered. The Kmer Rouge is probably the most grisly example of how this process can quickly spiral into madness.
I think we’re seeing something similar happen with Progressives. I’m old enough to remember when respectable liberals would not be caught dead in the same room with a guy like Al Sharpton, for example. The ranting lunatics of MSNBC would have been confined to public access cable, not given their own nationwide platform. The face of Progressive America has grown increasing gnarled and ugly over the last two decades.
Now here we are with Gawker running the HR department of the NYTimes. If there are humans more odious than those who work at Gawker, I am unaware of them. These are the lowest of the low. Yet, the trust fund babies at the NYTimes fear them. Entertainment liberals tremble at the mention of Gawker. They have become the Sturmabteilung of the Progressive movement.
Handing authority of any kind to sociopaths is a terrible idea and it never ends well. The Obama coalition has always been fragile because it is a coalition of anti-social misfits and cultural anarchists. Turning over party discipline to sadists and borderline psychotics like Nick Denton is throwing a gas on the fire. Whether or not the remaining sensible elements of the Progressive church can take back control of their thing is unknown.
I’m not optimistic.