New York Times Columnist Kristof’s Foolishness

-By Warner Todd Huston

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof is a simpleton. There is really no other way to say it, no gentler phrasing possible, to explain how childish and uncluttered his tiny little mind really is. The latest example of his utter inability to think clearly can be seen in Kristof’s screed against Americans that love America. Kristof thinks that conservatives and Republicans should look with longing at the troubled nation of Pakistan and see it as a model state. He says that they are no better than Muslim extremists that employ oppression, murder, and terrorism as a tool of the state. No, he’s serious.

How does he justify this simple-minded, hyperbolic, partisan hate-speech? Not very well, I’ll tell you that much.

He makes all sorts of idiotic charges against Republicans, but the best way to understand how unthinkingly childish his screed is, is to simply imagine that everything he says conservatives support he must imagine that liberals are against. After all, the only way to see his calumnies as such is to imagine he thinks that he stands on the opposite side of the ideas of which he accuses conservatives of being in favor.

Let’s take his points and then imagine what the opposite is and you’ll see what I mean.

He says that Republicans are for the lowest tax burden. If this is true and he finds this a negative point, then we must assume Kristof wants the absolute highest tax burden, a crushing tax burden that destroys all capitalist endeavors. That would be the opposite, wouldn’t it?

Next Kristof says Republicans want a limited government so that, “burdensome regulations never kill jobs.” The only take away here is to understand that Kristof sees this as a bad thing. He is smarter than we are, you see. So, Kristof, then, wants a government that is so burdensome that it kills jobs. He must. He finds the non-burdensome government to be a negative against Republicans doesn’t he?

He says conservatives embrace “traditional religious values and a conservative sensibility.” He obviously, then, wants no traditional values at all, hates all religion, and wants no common sense, conservative sensibilities to prevail. He wants chaos and no law — because the rule of law is the ultimate in conservative sensibility, after all.

He says Republicans want a world where “criminals are never coddled.” We must understand, then, that Kristof must think that criminals are never really guilty of anything and that they need all the coddling we can afford them. Crime is a misnomer in Kristof’s world… well, unless you are a Republican, of course. Then you are not just a criminal, but evil.

“The budget priority is a strong military, the nation’s most respected institution,” Kristof mocks. Then we must assume he wants no military budget and that even if we do have a military, it should not be a respected institution.

He adds to his pro-military negative by saying, “Citizens are deeply patriotic, and nobody burns flags.” Are we to take it that Kristof wants a world where no one is at all patriotic, not even a tiny bit, and where flags are respected so little that they are burnt everyday? Wouldn’t we have to in order to take his piece seriously?

All these negative things he ascribes to Republicans and conservatives then leads him to the unsupported and hyperbolic conclusion that Republicans should love Pakistan because that terrorist nation displays all the virtues that he claims Republicans love. And so, we have to assume Kristof thinks liberals love the exact opposite sort of world.

Upon reflection, Kristof’s world of polar opposites, one where there is no patriotism at all, where business is crushed by government, where there are no jobs, and chaos rules because there is no rule of law, is as disgusting as the world he says conservatives want. But we are forced by the extremist rhetoric in his ill thought out piece to believe that he thinks liberals want that chaotic world nonetheless. Just to take his piece seriously we’d have to believe it.

Now, do I think that this fool Kristof really desires a nation built in a starkly obverse fashion to the points he charges as negatives against Republicans? Not in all cases, certainly, and absolutely not in those harsh terms. His liberal ideas are far more subtle than those cartoonish opposites would entail. It would be childish to claim that he and his liberal friends did feel this way. However, he employed the same childish, anti-intellectual thinking process to attack conservatives and gave them no such benefit of truthfully considering their conservative values.

Certainly the differences between conservative Americans and Muslim radicals are obvious to anyone that engages their brain even a little bit. The fact is the “values” that Pakistani radicals support are not in any way at all similar to those that conservatives and Republicans in America support.

Take his charge that conservatives and Republicans are all about those “traditional religious values” and how, in his warped thinking, Kristof says Pakistan is somehow just like the Republican ideal in this respect. Kristof is, of course, employing the worst in half-truths.

Yes, both Pakistani Muslim radicals and conservative Americans believe in “traditional religious values.” But their core principles are not in any way similar. The religious principles that Americans believe in are varied but none of them include the rape of infidels, the murder of children that date the “wrong” sort of people, or the torture and oppression of those that disagree with them. Using the simpleton’s argument that all “traditional religious values” are exactly the same is as anti-intellectual as can be.

In fact, using his empty thinking process we could claim that America’s founders are no better than Muslim radicals, can’t we? Is Kristof saying that George Washington, John Adams et al are no different than Osama bin Laden?

In the end Kristof’s thinking is as simple minded as saying that conservatives Americans and Radical Islamists are exactly the same because both like sunny days, as brainless as saying that all animals that have fur must, then, be dogs. His sort of foolishness dispenses with having to think about anything, which is comforting to liberals because thinking is anathema to their need to feel their way through life.

Sadly, his sort of anti-intellectualism is what passes for “deep thinking” with so many on the American far left, not just among the illiterati of journalism but the university set as well. It is a complete failure to use their heads for anything other than a hat rack.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001