26 Mar 2010

David Frum Learns That Ideas Have Consequences

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Via Brad DeLong, it turns out David Frum got a 100% pay cut, presumably in response to his “Waterloo” article. (You should skim it if you want to have your bearings as we hear from countless progressives how “right-wing think tanks brook no dissent from the party line.”)

Please don’t misinterpret this post. I am not saying I think AEI is great. All I am saying is that of course they are going to get rid of Frum after that article. And it’s not like it’s a one-shot aberration. They have probably been getting more and more uncomfortable with his “unorthodoxy” and this was the final straw.

I feel the same about Bruce Bartlett. It’s not like he re-ran a regression, came up with new coefficients, and then tweaked his position on the VAT. No, he all of a sudden starts blowing up standard conservative views and big-gun Republicans. Of course his employer was going to be in a really awkward position.

Last point: I am not saying that Frum and Bartlett shouldn’t be allowed to change their views. All I’m saying is, I don’t want to hear a bunch of whining about censorship. If Frum or Bartlett had written stuff in the beginning, like they were writing by the time they got canned, they never would have been hired. It’s not censorship if the Catholic bishop removes a pastor who decides he wants to get married.*

* David Gordon told me an interesting anecdote about this possibility in Catholic doctrine; perhaps he can share in the comments.

4 Responses to “David Frum Learns That Ideas Have Consequences”

  1. Teqzilla says:

    I do find the whining of the conservative apostates intensely annoying. Check Bruce Bartlett’s reaction to this news for a representative example


    Unfortunately he chickens out of titling the post the same as its page URL going for the less incendiary though still ridiculously self important ‘David Frum and the closing of the conservative mind’. It’s maddening that Frum/Bartlett/Sullivan et al cant even entertain the idea that they are unpopular amongst conservatives because lots of conservatives think their policy ideas are crappy and are not endeared to people who insult them. The only way they can account for the conservative movements blindness to their obvious brilliance is by the existence of groupthink and a conservative mind sliding into dementia to paraphrase Bartlett. People are not much inclined to weigh arguments that begin ‘hey, dumbass’.

  2. Bob Roddis says:

    1. At least Austrians ALWAYS thoroughly listen and fairly analyze competing views. Except perhaps for Bryan Caplan, no critic of the Austrian School ever has even the slightest familiarity with Austrian analysis. So, which side is actually composed exclusively of knee-jerks?

    BTW, I’ve thought for a long time that our narative should include pointing out that our opponents meticulously avoid learning anything about Austrian economics. I think it is especially important to point this out if “progressives” are going to make our alleged close-mindedness an issue.

    2. Let’s not forget that Frum’s M.O. is pure intimidation employed in order to deem our Austrian School and antiwar views as outside the scope of reasonable and polite discussion. Remember when he called anyone on the “right” who didn’t support the Iraq invasion a traitor? At the time, he wrote the cover story in National Review entitled ”Unpatriotic Conservatives: A War Against America,” claiming that conservatives who didn’t support the Iraq war hated their country and wanted it to lose the war. He wrote (basically about Buchanan and Novak):

    ”[T]hey are thinking about defeat, and wishing for it, and they will take pleasure if it should happen. They began by hating the neo-conservatives. They came to hate their party and this president. They have finished by hating their country.”

    His whole purpose in life recently has been to play the role of the “reasonable” neo-con in the eyes of dingbat liberals.

    Gary North recently noted that Frum is an economic illiterate, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to smear Ron Paul and company:


    Canadian Frum is wrong about everything all of the time. Good riddance.

  3. Bob Roddis says:

    Back at the time of the Iraq invasion, Robert Novak responded to Frum thus:


  4. Oderus Urungus says:

    Frum may be a Canadian subject, but he only has loyalty to one country.