Andrew Sullivan breaks out of his post-holiday break slump and delivers an outstanding and devastating piece on Joan Didion's November lecture which recently appeared in The New York Review of Books:
She doesn't seem to grasp that people who differ from her views about this might also have read history, theology, sociology, philosophy, and so on. Does she think that Bernard Lewis or Fouad Ajami have not devoted years to inquiring into "the nature of the enemy we faced"? Does she think that my own post-9/11 essay, "This Is A Religious War," was devoid of any historical or philosophical analysis? Does she think that John Keegan and Victor Davis Hanson are uninterested in military and diplomatic history? The sheer intellectual snobbery of Didion blinds her to the real scholarship on the other side of the debate. Which makes life easier for her, but it doesn't help shed any light for the rest of us.
One of the most infuriating attitudes displayed by the Left is that they are the superior intellectuals, the ones who take the time to study issues deeply, and read the "important" works of the day (listen to NPR for ten minutes for an example) while right wingers are a bunch of ignorant yokels listening to hate (talk) radio and blindly following the marching orders venomously spewed by the hosts. While that description is fairly accurate for listeners of the KQ Morning Show with Tom Barnard, it is a gross misrepresentation of the backgrounds, educations, and intellects of most conservatives today. You can have your Noam Chomsky. I'll take Victor Davis Hanson. Anyday.