“Conservative” = “Lying racist”? Who knew?

No, it wasn’t some shrill lefty who implied that equation. It was Ross Douthat. If I were a non-lying, non-racist conservative, I’d be annoyed.

1. Professional racist Steve Sailer writes a dishonest, bigoted anti-Obama screed for The American Conservative, in which he grossly misrepresents Obama’s Dreams from My Father.

2. Assistant editor Alex Koznetski, having failed to convince his bosses not to print a piece of lying trash, quits The American Conservative in protest.

3. Ross Douthat makes fun of Koznetski:

If you’re not at least somewhat conservative, you probably shouldn’t go to work for a magazine called, um, The American Conservative. And if you do, you probably shouldn’t get all outraged and resign in protest when they turned out to be, um, conservative.

So telling racist lies is a natural and expected part of being, “um, conservative”? (Douthat doesn’t challenge Konetzki’s careful account of the falsehood of Sailer’s review, or Sailer’s own solidly racist credentials as a contributor to the VDare website.)

Am I missing something, or did Douthat just imply that “conservative” connotes “lying racist”?

If I were a non-racist, non-lying conservative, I’d be offended. It will be interesting to see if there are any still around.

Update No, I haven’t bothered to argue the case for Sailer’s racism and dishonesty. If someone wants to defend Sailer in attributing to Obama the bad features of East African traditional leadership, go ahead. (I never said that Sailer was a crude racist.)

My point was that Douthat doesn’t bother to argue that Konetzki is wrong. Douthat simply dismisses Konetzki’s outrage on the grounds that Konetzki had no right to be surprised at seeing material like Sailer’s in a magazine that’s “um, conservative.” Since Konetzki’s claim is that Sailer’s piece is racist and dishonest, Douthat’s response is cogent if and only if racism and dishonesty are to be expected in any outlet that calls itself conservative.

I’m still hoping to find a conservative who disagrees. Of course, if Douthat had said that dishonesty and racism were only to be expected in a magazine associated with Pat Buchanan, I’d have no quarrel with him at all.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com