Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Highest Form of Wankery

From the article linked below:

I’ll just come out and say it: the netroots' attitude toward professionals isn’t that different from the neocons', both being convinced that the very concept of a foreign-policy clerisy is unjustified, anti-democratic and pernicious, and that the remedy is much tighter and more direct control by the principals over their supposed professional agents.

There is a bunch of stuff here. Obviously, if the necons were so absurdly wrong one would've imagined that those in the "clerisy" would have taken a strong public stand against them. What we saw and still see, of course, are Father O'Hanlon and Pope Pollack, clerics in good standing, still carrying water for them.

But, more to the point, yes "a foreign-policy clerisy is unjustified, anti-democratic, and pernicious." Does this point even need to be argued? There isn't actually an "economic policy clerisy" or an "environmental policy clerisy" or a "housing policy clerisy." Instead we recognize that, expertise aside, there are people with competing agendas on all of these topics. Some are more honest "experts" than others, but even if we all have the same facts at our disposal we can come to widely different conclusions about what policies should be implemented. This is because we disagree about stuff.

The "foreign policy clerisy" apparently exists to close off public scrutiny of or wider debate about America's appropriate role in the world, to limit the range of options which are "on or off the table" and which are open to public debate or discussion. They exist to monopolize debate and have veto status over club members. Members of the community are clearly chosen for the ability to perpetuate this agenda, rather than for their expertise. Max Boot? Peter Beinart? Pollack? O'Hanlon? Can anybody in this gang tie their shoes?