You, Sir, Are No Buckley: A Reply to Stephen Herreid

You, Sir, Are No Buckley: A Reply to Stephen Herreid November 24, 2014

Stephen Herreid has written a reply to two critics of his post, “How to Fend Off Freeloaders,” a personal and petty attack on Artur Rosman. The two critics he mentions are J. Arthur Bloom (based on private correspondence) and myself (based on my reply). For some reason Herreid did not reply to Rosman, who wrote a graceful reply of his own. Since then Bloom has posted a reply and Justin Tse has posted as well, at Rosman’s blog, Cosmos the in Lost.

Herreid did me the favour of writing a follow-up so clueless and unaware that the post itself serves as its own rebuttal. Any serious conservative will surely want nothing to do with Herreid’s caricature of conservatism. I have heard this from a number of serious and thoughtful conservative friends of mine.

A few anomalies stand out in the self-indicting post. For one, while Herreid sees it fit to imply that Bloom needs to be censored, and even names Bloom’s boss in the title of the post, Herreid omits his own place of employment (the Intercollegiate Studies Institute) from the email.

Even more bizarre is Herreid’s claim, “For my part, I’m only a mainstream, constitution-loving conservative of the Bill Buckley variety.” This is an odd claim to make, seeing as Herreid uses me as something of a stand-in for a lefty professor, and even goes as far as to misrepresent the post where I clearly condemned both Republicans and Democrats as favouring the latter. He even claims that this blog is “an unmistakably left-leaning blog.” 

All of this is odd for a fan of the late William F. Buckley, a conservative to be sure, but also a person willing to talk and debate seriously with people like James Baldwin, Saul Alinsky, Noam Chomsky, Woody Allen, and Mother Teresa. The latter exchange (posted above) is the most interesting one, considering what Herreid has to say about the poor. If Herreid really was a Buckley conservative, he might actually try to initiate a serious dialogue with those he disagrees with.

That Herreid sees nothing odd or tense about his disgust for “freeloaders” (nor his devotion for the nation-state), shows that his is a clueless, nasty, and vulgar conservatism that, as Rosman suggests, is to be pitied as a manifestation of spiritual, emotional, and intellectual poverty. He and Rush Limbaugh could certainly get along well, I should think, but I doubt Buckley would find him the slightest bit interesting or amusing.



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