David Frum December 1st, 2009 at 3:17 pm 107 Comments
Charles Johnson, editor of the Little Green Footballs site, has written a post declaring his personal breach with the American right.
He offers 10 reasons, but they all boil down to the same one: His outrage at the bad characters found in right-wing media and blogosphere.
And yes, there’s no shortage of bad characters. No shortage on the left-hand side either. Or the middle, for that matter. But why surrender to them? Why let them get away with their claim to define your movement? Why not stand up to them? That was Rudyard Kipling’s advice to those who felt as Johnson now feels:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;
These are days for stooping and building.
So here’s my own hastily jotted counter-list of the reasons to keep right.
It’s the American right that will sustain the war in Afghanistan, the right that will fight the administration’s overspending, the right that will resist paying for the spending in ways that cramp the future growth of the American economy.
It’s the right that champions competition in education, and it is the right that will prevent the undoing of welfare reform. It’s the right that pushes for color-blind laws, and against the abuse of the legal system for attorney gain.
It’s the right that resists, sometimes blindly but still rightly, overbearing attempts by government to direct the economy. It’s the right that sounds the alarm when government neglects public security.
It’s the right that anchors American society against fads and social experiments, the right that favors immigration policies in the national interest, the right that better respects the freedom of ordinary people to live their own lives and make their own choices.
Yes, the right is the home of a lot of junk thought and huckstering exploitation. It’s also the home of Milton Friedman and James Q. Wilson, Charles Murray and George Borjas, Richard Pipes and Robert Conquest, Tom Wolfe and Philip Larkin, Friedrich Hayek and George Stigler, Leszek Kolakowski and John Lukacs, Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami. I’ll offset Sarah Palin with Margaret Thatcher, Glenn Beck with Melvin Lasky, Pat Robertson with Richard John Neuhaus.
Is Charles Johnson too proud for that company? Come on back LGF – it’s when your team is doing worst that you are needed most.