There are two thinkers on the Left whom I credit with helping me become more conservative: Paul Krugman and Andrew Sullivan. Both of them wrote (and still write) incredible horse pucky in publications I routinely read as a yuppie liberal. I eventually realized that, if these two were lauded as the shining intellectual lights of my political ideology, than I was in the wrong ideology. (And yes, I know Sullivan used to advertise himself as “conservative,” but that was a skin deep pose as far as I’m concerned. His writing always pushed Progressive boundaries.)
Both men are not only ideological dead ends, they’re also unpleasant human beings, given to hurling personal insults and hiding behind their own hyper-inflated reputations. Andrew Sullivan, though, adds to this a measure of spite and monomania — something that became apparent with his obsession about Trig Palin’s birth — that makes him the kind of person one just loves to see knocked down, and then kicked around a bit. I don’t mean physically, of course, I mean intellectually.
If you enjoy the sight of having Andrew Sullivan get the intellectual stuffing kicked out of him, please take a few minutes to read Jesse Bering’s Scientific American post detailing the “debate” he’s had with Sullivan over male circumcision: Hey, Andrew Sullivan, Stop Calling My Penis “Mutilated”. Debate really isn’t an accurate word, though. Sullivan’s contribution is a single shrill, vicious, emotion-laden, fact-free, strawman-filled, heterophobic screed. Even by Sullivan’s own standards, it’s bad. Bering’s part of the debate is humor and lots and lots of scientific fact.
By the way, as you read it, please keep in mind that Sullivan is a darling of all the science-worshiping Progressives. He perfectly illustrates the fact that science is to be worshiped only when it marches in lockstep with the agenda. When it doesn’t, as the Climategate scam demonstrated, Progressives will bend the science rather than change the agenda.