Alan Jacobs, to no one’s surprise, continues to say smart and relevant things about the Naomi Schaefer Riley affair. Here he explains why she really doesn’t have any defense for her standards expressed in the blog posts that got her fired. And then there is this, about a “tidy mind.” Finally, having thoroughly criticized NSR (a friend of his), he turns on the Chronicle of Higher Education for the way it handled this. Excerpt:
It’s a tough situation with no clear win, but did you do the least bad thing you could have done? In the short term, maybe so. You could have tried editing — i.e., let’s admit it, policing — your bloggers more rigorously, which would mean not singling out one offender, but trying to hold everyone to certain standards of civility. But even assuming that your bloggers would consent to be edited, you don’t have the staff for that. So given the petitions and the likelihood of canceled subscriptions… .
But that’s thinking in the short term. Perhaps in the long term there’s something to be gained by keeping an advocatus diaboli around. By firing Riley you’ve pacified your base, but you’ve also created a mini-martyr and have re-solidified the liberal-indoctrination narrative.
(Thanks to reader Hunk Hondo for pointing these out.)