If you haven't yet paid attention to today's episode in the blog-war between Jonah Goldberg and Andrew Sullivan ostensibly in re: John and Elizabeth Edwards but in reality in re: how much they dislike each other, see Sullivan's posts here and here, and Goldberg's inordinately bitchy riposte here.
Sullivan then responded with a post entitled "Blacklisting and Conservatives." After addressing the content of Goldberg's charges --- which had become irrelevant by this point --- Sullivan noted Goldberg's comment that "I think I've been pretty good about not posting much about Andrew Sullivan" and wrote:
What can this mean, except a petty sand-box approach to journalism? I disagree with many people at NRO but I always link and write and even praise when it occurs to me. In contrast, Jonah's comment suggests an actual informal policy of blacklisting this blog and its arguments at NRO. Blacklisting others is not, I think, a sign of a movement's intellectual health. It was done to Bruce Bartlett's book as well. NRO spent much more ink on D'Souza's excrescence than on the serious and increasingly salient critiques that Bartlett and I have made about the Bush administration.Now, reluctant though I am to offer an even partial defense of the author of Liberal Fascism, it seems to me that Sullivan's interpretation of this remark makes sense only on the assumption (to paraphrase William F. Buckley) that Sullivan's opinion of himself and the universe's opinion of him are entirely or at least substantially aligned. That is, only if one takes it as a given that Sullivan's critique of the contemporary conservative movement is as earth -shattering as he believes it to be, does it follow that Goldberg's demurral in responding to Sullivan is the result of an implicit blacklisting policy at NRO. (Jeremy, e.g., reads Sullivan's critique without experiencing any seismic activity.)
Much more likely than that Goldberg is inadvertently copping to an implicit blacklisting policy on the part of NRO, is that Goldberg is making the much more mundane claim that Sullivan's arguments are so overwrought, bombastic, self-contradictory, etc., etc. --- there is a basic list of charges that his opponents on the right level at him --- that serious thinkers should not take him seriously. Never mind that Jonah Goldberg is not a serious thinker. This is a claim that stands or falls --- falls, in my opinion, but whatever --- on its own merits. And it is not the claim that those who stray from conservative orthodoxy must be (literally) proscribed.
Note now, Sullivan's response: A choice by certain individuals and institutions to ignore him is equivalent to blacklisting. What instance of egomania and general derangement does this resemble? Why, none other than David Horowitz's delusion that he has been roundly rejected by the academy because it is populated by Stalinist ideologues [takes one to know one--ed.], rather than, say, because he is an intellectual pygmy. In other words, this is dangerous stuff.