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Way Out of Left Field

February 1, 2010

John Guardiano is eager to follow up on Frum’s “Quit Whining!” meme in his treatise attacking the “young hipster cons”:

So stop whining and do something! Build a website and join the fray. Demand a seat at the political, intellectual, and policy table. Marshall your arguments and organize like-minded writers and thinkers. Pick a fight and come out swinging. Recall the stirring example set by a young William F. Buckley, Jr. at a time and place when the opportunities for bright young conservatives were far fewer and far less significant than they are today.


That’s why I’m building my own (military modernization) website: Because America is worth fighting and arguing about; because the conservative movement is worth fighting and arguing about; because fame, riches and popularity are not what life is all about (or should be all about).

David Frum knows this; I know this; and, deep down, I think, the American people know this. However, Dougherty, Friedersdorf, Douthat, and other young hipster cons, do you know this? And if so, what are you waiting for? What’s your excuse for silence and inaction?

Okay, but one wonders.  To paraphrase Friedersdorf’s response, what the hell is he talking about?

Here I am a full time freelance writer who made my name in political journalism as founding features editor at a start-up conservative magazine. Did I not build a Web site? Did a manifesto not precede it? I now do part of my blogging at The American Scene, another Web site filled with young right-of-center writers. Does my output there seem like it belongs to someone hesitant to join the fray? How about my Daily Beast columns? Or my second blog at True/Slant? Or the sundry other freelance pieces I write often enough to keep me housed among coastal liberals, eating arugula and making good on NPR pledges? I’ve even written at FrumForum (about my efforts to poll GOP County Chairmen all over America). Failure to “pick a fight and come out swinging” isn’t among my countless faults.

Yeah, my suspicion is that Guardiano hasn’t read much Friedersdorf.  I don’t know much about Dougherty, but accusing Douthat and Friedersdorf of “silence and inaction” just seems ignorant.  The latter is more of a “conservative contrarian” than Douthat, who I would describe as a conservative reformer, but isn’t that what Frum is too?  The whole essay reeks of old-guy-in-a-general-store advice that the advice-receiver doesn’t want and, as an added fly in the ointment, isn’t really applicable.  It seems like it should be directed at people who don’t have blogs/don’t write at the same place the author writes.  I mean, seriously, what is he talking about?

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