Popping the Talk Radio Bubble, Cont'd

The prospect of my open letter to Mark Levin listeners reaching its intended audience got a huge boost over the weekend when the radio host himself linked my piece on his Facebook page. Mr. Levin’s reaction is characterized by the petulance and lack of substance you’d expect, but there are two arguments he makes that are worth highlighting.

Excerpt one concerns my core argument — that it is laughable to call Jim Manzi of all people a global warming zealot, and that Mr. Levin’s listeners shouldn’t trust a man who has demonstrated a willingness to mislead them so drastically in order to insult a critic.

The talk radio host responds:

His defense of Jim Manzi is an evasion. Manzi is not to be measured by his associations or Obama-related comments but by his post about me, my book, and what I said in my line-by-line response to Manzi.

I just love that he is explicitly acknowledging that his characterization of where Jim Manzi fits into the global warming debate isn’t based on an assessment of his work or beliefs, but is exclusively based on Mr. Manzi’s assessment of the talk radio host and his book. In the talk radio host’s world, we’re all judged according to the single metric of how we treat him — only real world events that somehow touch on Mark Levin matter in assessing reality.

Later in his post, Mr. Levin asks:

…ask yourself: what has Friedersdorf done to help confront today’s growing soft tyranny? Attack talk radio, prowl the blogs looking for fights, sharing emails with Sullivan, etc. When I was his age I was chief of staff to an attorney general, having already served Ronald Reagan at the White House and campaigned for him before that.

I’d direct my answer not only to Mr. Levin, but to his defenders, Kathryn Jean Lopez and Andy McCarthy: unlike you three, I’ve been doing my utmost to write against unchecked presidential authority to assassinate American citizens, a war on drugs that has been ruinous to civil liberties, torture, overzealous laws making sex offenders of normal teens, a military budget that is one factor threatening our fiscal future, the abandonment of Founding era attitudes toward foreign affairs and separation of powers, the knowing imprisonment of innocent men, etc.

You’ve all got bigger platforms than I do, as Mr. Levin is so fond of pointing out, so how about shelving the irrelevant attacks on straw men and the ultimately ineffective critiques of a flawed health care bill that I also opposed, and refocusing your attention on the unprecedented new powers that are being seized by the year in order to fight The War on Terrorism and The War on Drugs, two conflicts that are apparently going to drag on without end. (Actually, Mr. McCarthy doesn’t need to refocus his attention so much as argue on the side of liberty rather than the side of “the president is allowed to seize any power so long as we’re at war with terrorists” position he currently advocates.)

It is incredible that people who are so self-satisfied about holding themselves up as bulwarks against tyranny are complicit in the policies most likely to lead us there, and utterly oblivious to that fact.