One response to the debate over conservatism and “epistemic closure” has been to argue that, well, conservatism is ailed by no such disease. I highlighted Jim Manzi’s excellent takedown of Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny earlier, but the reactions to his post at The Corner really have to be read to be believed:
There is heart and soul and years of experience in his book — and a heck of a lot more than cut-and-paste Google searching (!). He’s heard a lot worse and can handle his own battles, but as one who has followed Mark’s career, I found Jim’s tone deeply disappointing. Especially at a time when Liberty actually is endangered and Mark Levin is not to blame.
But for now I would just observe that Jim Manzi’s post on Mark Levin’s widely acclaimed book is beneath him. No one minds a good debate, but Jim’s gratuitously nasty tone — “awful,” “Trilateral Commission,” “wingnuttery,” etc. — is just breathtaking. I’ve read a number of Jim’s articles and posts over the years, including more than a few involving exchanges with other writers. He has always struck me as a model of civility, especially in his disagreements with the Left. Why pick Mark for the Pearl Harbor treatment?
There you have it, folks. No arguments, no substantive responses to the original post, nothing more than assurances that Levin’s heart is in the right place and a reminder that we’d best train our fire elsewhere. Maybe I’m over-generalizing from a sample that is too small and too skewed, but the knee-jerk quality of National Review’s response to a challenging and level-headed post on global warming seems pretty damning to me.