Yes, I know that some of the people who bother commenting to this post will reprimand me for wasting time reading the Inspector Javert of Trig Palin’s matrilineal line, but as I have maintained before, and continue to maintain, Sullivan remains influential, which means that it remains a necessity to push back against his more silly arguments.
1. Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin are not neoconservatives. There is nothing whatsoever that is “neo” about their conservatism. Merely wanting a war with Iran (if indeed they do) does not qualify one to be called a neoconservative. Indeed, it is abuses of the term “neoconservative” like the one Sullivan (regularly) engages in that caused Jonah Goldberg to beg that the word be eliminated from our political lexicon. No such luck, alas, at least as long as the Atlantic’s resident sophist has anything to say about the matter.
2. One can certainly point out, without any fear of contradiction whatsoever, that (a) Arab dictators need to liberalize their domestic political environments, and that (b) Arab dictators, whatever their shortcomings in the field of democracy, may well be correct in perceiving the security threat posed by Iran’s desire to gain a nuclear arsenal, leading to their belief that such a threat ought to be responded to via military means. Now, of course, one can also state that at this point in time, a military strike will do more harm than good. I happen to hold that latter opinion, and so does Jeffrey Goldberg (which, of course, means that Sullivan misrepresented Goldberg’s position by claiming that Goldberg believes that “the US should take [the] advice [of Arab dictators] on launching a war against Iran”). But there is no possible inconsistency found in stating both that Arab dictators need to liberalize, and that, in Goldberg’s words, “Arab regimes supports the muscular confrontation of Iran by the West, [and] it is not just Israel that seeks to pull America into a fight with Teheran.” The two points don’t even coincide. Indeed, they are barely related to each other, save the use of the word “Arab.” One wonders why anyone even has to waste time showing how both of these points could be maintained without violating any laws of logic, but nowadays, Andrew Sullivan shows a practiced indifference to the need to hold more than one thought in his head at the same time, even when the multiple thoughts do not necessarily oppose one another.
This leads to Point 3: Andrew Sullivan is singlehandedly wrecking the image of the Atlantic. Perhaps those in charge of the magazine would like to do something about that, before the damage is irreparable.
Assuming, of course, that it is not irreparable already.