Tuesday, December 18, 2001

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Jonah Goldberg, self-appointed Libertarianism expert, offers up this golden tidbit:

Virginia Postrel suspects that my "anti-libertarian outbursts" stem from a desire to get her and other libertarians to link to my site. Well, we can put aside the suggestion that it's a web-traffic bonanza to get linked on something called "Libertarian Samizdata" (I actually lose traffic when I indulge my anti-libertarian bent).

Ahhh -- now I see how what I've been doing wrong in conducting the great "Getting Mentioned" campaign ... I should have been writing about Jonah Goldberg's obssession with pigeonholing people into categories and labels, and goad him into calling me thin-skinned and link-hungry!

But seriously -- why is Goldberg uncomfortable about letting his words stand (or fall) on their own merits? If he's as sure of his position as his attitude suggests, why does he feel compelled to question his critics' motives -- or worse, invent motives on their behalf -- instead of simply debating their ideas?

Whenever a columnist is tempted to write a follow-up piece to "clarify" a previous column and "correct" his critics' misunderstandings, he ought to first consider that his position might be a little shakier than he'd like to admit. Goldberg would do well to engage in a week of quiet introspection before he answers his critics again.

(Then again, I guess we can't all be as sure, sincere and free of hidden agendas as Jonah Goldberg, eh?)


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