At WSJ we see what a free market of ideas is – and what it isn’t. There, too, Strassel describes an elitist (sentimental, self-righteous) press which quickly bought the argument of yet another politician that he (and he alone) is “for the people” (“for the children” and “for the poor” are of course versions of this); that this populist argument leads inexorably to power-grabbing hubris should be clear by now. Self-righteousness is a dangerous drug because it so easily quiets not just others’ doubts but our own. Spitzer is an argument, of course, for checks and balances applied by a free press. But we might also remember that any call to our baser instinct to covet another’s success should be suspect.
Update: Gay Patriot suggests three offices often obviously motivated by something other than justice: Spitzer, Nifong and Ronnie Earle, who began earliest and remains in office. That may say something about Austin and I’m not sure it is good. The “Free Market link” is to “Paris Book Burning” – a description of the boycott of a Paris book fair by Muslim nations:
The richness of Israeli society, as shown through its thriving arts scene, makes an illusive target for such venom. Joining Amos Oz and Aharon Appelfeld in the national delegation of 39 writers in Paris will be Israeli Arabs Sayed Kashua and Naim Araidi.
An Israeli Jewish poet, Aaron Shabtai, declined the invitation. “I don’t think that a state that maintains an occupation, that every day commits crimes against civilians, deserves to be invited to a week devoted to culture. That’s anti-cultural.” Working in the Middle East’s most vibrant democracy, Mr. Shabtai is free to make his choice and publicly proclaim it.
His peers in the Muslim world don’t have that privilege. Moroccan novelist Abdelouahab Errami told Le Journal du Dimanche of his “disappointment” at the boycott. “I don’t share the position of my government. But I won’t go…. It is difficult to have a different individual position without exposing yourself to a campaign of pressure.”
An excerpt from Strassel:
There’s little that’s tragic about Mr. Spitzer, unless you consider his victims (which would appear to include his own family). The press would do well to meditate on that, and consider how many violations they winked at and validated over the years. Politicians don’t exist to be idolized by the press, at least not by any press corps doing its job.