2 thoughts on “Link, Link, Nudge, Nudge”
  1. Nathan,
    But doesn’t Brooks miss the whole point? It’s not the “incivility” of public discourse, but the impoverishment of public discourse by our so called pundits–like Brooks! The man still believes in the benefits of “voodoo” economics! How do we agree or disagree with civility when folks tell us with all sincerity about “Anchor” babies–to pick one absurd case out of millions that the main stream media entertains.

    PS–LOVE the Podcast!

  2. Here’s the point that Brooks is making, as I understand him: the content of ideas is certainly important, and that’s precisely why toleration, in the Lockean sense, is a worthwhile political virtue. If competing ideas can live in proximity, the Lockean philosophy holds, sharing a common light of public scrutiny, the probability of the best ideas’ rising and the worst falling into disrepute increases.

    The phenomenon that I see as a threat to that sort of toleration, to which Brooks certainly nods, is the closing-off of so much of reasonable inquiry behind the curtains of specialization and the vocabularies that go with it. As “popularizer” has become a mild insult rather than a valued vocation, more and more ideas that should rightly wither under public scrutiny, because unchallenged in a tolerant and civil public exchange, not only stand largely unchallenged but can claim a sort of martyr status because the specialists dismiss them (with insults like “voodoo economics”) instead of engaging them in the long, sometimes tedious process of arguing it out, over and over again, because someone who needs to hear missed it last time.

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