Brilliant essay in the Wall Street Journal on how conservatives squandered their authority by embracing know-nothing populism — culminating in their fatal embrace of Sarah Palin. Mark Lilla says of the right’s anti-intellectual intellectuals:
They mock the advice of Nobel Prize-winning economists and praise the financial acumen of plumbers and builders. They ridicule ambassadors and diplomats while promoting jingoistic journalists who have never lived abroad and speak no foreign languages. And with the rise of shock radio and television, they have found a large, popular audience that eagerly absorbs their contempt for intellectual elites. They hoped to shape that audience, but the truth is that their audience has now shaped them.
You should definitely read the whole thing. (Via Hub Blog.)