Defeating the Tyranny of the ‘Conventional Wisdom’
Another world is possible…
by Justin Raimondo
I really feel sorry for Katharine Mangu-Ward: she walked into a hornet’s nest when she appeared on Fox News the other day and disparaged Ron Paul – or, rather, mocked his chances of winning the GOP presidential nomination. She might have thought she was merely expressing the Conventional Wisdom on Paul’s candidacy – which, indeed, she was – but her comments underscored an important point about how social change works, which I’ll get to in a moment. But first …
As senior editor of Reason magazine, an ostensibly libertarian publication, the Paulians rightly expected her to stand up for her team. Oddly, it was left to the other panelist, journalist and author Liz Trotta – not a libertarian, as far as I know – to defend Paul, and her defense was interesting: she said the wars are a bigger issue than anyone realizes, and since Paul is the only Republican candidate calling for an end to US intervention around the world, the issue could conceivably catapult him into the top tier. Mangu-Ward, a former staffer at the Weekly Standard, sat there and rolled her eyes, as if someone had suggested the moon is made of green cheese.
Immediately after her performance, a howl of outrage went up from the libertarian ranks, demanding Mangu-Ward’s head. “Fire her!” they demanded – indeed, so numerous and loud were the protests and subscription cancellations that Nick Gillespie, former editor-in-chief at Reason and now resident Talking Head, was forced to take to the Reason blog with a rather weak defense of his colleague’s faux pas. Since Reason’s slogan is “free markets and free minds,” averred Gillespie, their editors are free to say and write whatever they want. According to this theory, Mangu-Ward could predict the victory of the Socialist Party candidate, and not collect a pink slip. That this would never happen is irrelevant: Reason is a Beltway institution, although they still retain their office in Los Angeles, and Gillespie was simply defending his fellow Beltway pundit – and the Conventional Wisdom she gave voice to – against the mob of ignorant hoi polloi,