Ross let things go at that, but the difference, clearly, is that Goldberg — like a lot of people drawn to the conservative movement — is drawn to it specifically because a faux-Burkean fussy aversion to “new ideas” provides a decent cover for the fact that he lacks the capacity to grapple with actual ideas. ~Matt Yglesias
To recap: Reihan wrote a really interesting post, Goldberg harumphed about whippersnappers not knowing anything, Ross intervened on Reihan’s behalf, I unleashed my standard furious attack, Reihan said some nice things about me and other paleos, which prompted a much more obnoxious Goldberg post, a reply from Reihan, and a number of even more furious attacks on Goldberg from me. This debate then got tied in to Ross’ response to the Sullivan-Brooks spat (which was an entirely one-sided Sullivan conniption), leading to a Goldberg comment, Ross’ reply and Goldberg’s concluding remarks, which Yglesias roundly and rightly mocks. It is hard not to agree with Yglesias’ observation, at least as far as Goldberg is concerned, since I said much the same thing last week, and especially since Goldberg’s mudstick act is consistent whether he is confronted with older ideas of a traditional conservative bent, relatively newer ideas from a Sam Francis, new potentially valuable ideas of the Ross-Reihan school or non-conservative ideas from anyone else. He not only cannot discern between radically different, even opposed, ideas (thus, in his strange, strange world, crunchy cons are vaguely fascist and Ross and Reihan’s “Sam’s Club Republicans” are supposedly the same as Sam Francis’ MARs), but he also cannot engage with any of the proponents of these ideas without reaching for a heavy-handed smear or tendentious over-reading of someone’s position as a way of avoiding real debate and tarring his opponents as political untouchables or hopelessly naive loons. I would instinctively like to think that many people in the “movement” are not like this, but a great many seem to love the Goldbergs and Hewitts of the world and relatively few see them for the faux-Burkeans that they are.