Monday, March 06, 2023

Journalists Against Style Guides

George Packer is enraged that the Sierra Club has an in house style guide that he doesn't like, and this is worthy of an Atlantic piece about how mad George Packer is that the wokes are ruining language, or whatever. Same article they publish every month.

Reminded me of this assault on both language and reason.
President Bush has put the idea of spreading democracy around the world at the rhetorical heart of American foreign policy. No one should doubt that he and his surviving senior advisers believe in what they call the “forward strategy of freedom,” even if they’ve had to talk themselves into it. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Bush himself are latecomers to the idea; in earlier incarnations, they sounded a lot more like Henry Kissinger than like Woodrow Wilson. By now, though, it’s clear that, however clumsy and selective the execution, Bush wants democratization to be his legacy. So when his critics, here and abroad, claim that his rhetoric merely provides cynical cover for an American power grab, they misjudge his sincerity and tend to sound like defenders of the status quo. And when the Administration tries to wring every last sweet drop of partisan gain from its foreign policy (sincerity is not the same thing as honesty), critics are driven to conclude that “democracy” is just another word for “neoconservatism.”

This is not a good position for the opposition to be in, either morally or politically. The best role for critics in the President’s second term will be not to scoff at the idea of spreading freedom but to take it seriously—to hold him to his own talk. The hard question isn’t whether America should try to enlarge the democratic order but how. It’s a question that the Administration seems to have thought about very little, yet it makes a big difference. Look at the two examples from the week’s front pages: where the approach has been subtle and collective, the outcome seems hopeful; where it has been noisy and unilateralist, it does not.
Just years and years of that shit. The aughts were not fun, but at least we had this very fine blog.

Packer also spent years trying to force me to put two dots over random vowels.