Sullivan has reconsidered his suggestion

Sullivan has reconsidered his suggestion that Johhny Taliban springs from the corrupt mores of those blue Gore-voting states. But he does so not because the suggestion is full-on stupid, but because Mr. Walker is in fact a right-wing extremist. In the end Sullivan holds fast, reasoning that the only authentic rebellion against liberal permissiveness is illiberal authoritarianism. He concludes:

… the link between his chosen lifestyle and the culture in which he was born is still valid, I think.

The link is what, Andrew? That the culture in which he was born didn’t flat out prohibit Walker’s eventual choices? As Daschle might put it, I’m disappointed in Andrew’s sloppy thinking. Walker is one guy. He is not a representative sample of Marin County. I know the first rule of punditry is to make wild generalizations on the basis of your own experience, and I guess it carries over naturally to wild generalizations on the basis of some other guy’s experience. But hasty generalization remains a canonical fallacy.

I know folks with permissive parents from permissive places who are conservative/liberal activists (take your pick). I know folks with strict parents from conservative places who are themselves permissive/strict (take your pick). So what! Sullivan’s misplaced eagerness to use Walker as a bludgeon against “permissiveness,” liberalism, and bluehood is mystifying.

I guess when you see cracks in the walls of hegemony, you beat at them with anything you can grab.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center