July 05, 2003

Drawbacks of Nepotism

It is fair to say that without nepotism Adam Bellow would never have gotten the chance to get his very lousy article in praise of nepotism into the Atlantic Monthly. Armed Liberal, like me, first thought it was a parody...

Posted by DeLong at July 5, 2003 09:01 PM | TrackBack


I'm looking forward to your reaction on Brittan's comment on inflation in ft

Posted by: Hans Suter on July 5, 2003 11:43 PM

I gave up my susbscription to the Atlantic back in 2001, and haven't seen much to make me regret it (except for 'On American Ground').

Note that in Kaplan's article, the prescriptions can be divided into two categories: "don't get bogged down, dont' get involved, hit and run", and "get deeply involved, don't hit and run". A bit contradictory.

Posted by: Barry on July 6, 2003 06:40 AM

Yeah, I found the last issue completely revolting, from Kaplan's Operating Manual For the Imperium, to that article on nepotism, which, like you, I thought was some kind of PJ O'Rourke thingy minus the laughs. Unfortunately, it seems he was serious.

As far as I can tell, Michael Kelly (rip) completely ruined the magazine. Maybe his death gives it a chance to recover. I'm going to send a nasty-gram to the publisher.


Posted by: MarkuMyDog on July 6, 2003 08:13 AM

Oh ho, the aristocrats is supporting aristocracy.

Posted by: lise on July 6, 2003 08:24 AM

I loved the Atlantic for years, but much as it pains me to admit it, it's become a right wing rag.

I also wasn't very impressed by Hitchens' attack on Blumenthal - why is this in the Atlantic? The Atlantic I loved was supposed to maintain some distance from the partisan fray.


Posted by: Ian Welsh on July 6, 2003 11:09 AM

I welcome such candid acknowledgments on the part of the sons and daughters of a cushioned elite. As I see it, Bellow's article and forthcoming book are a rhetorical gift to progressives, who should now be able to talk about poverty and privilege (and maybe even mention the dreaded "c" word) without being accused of making it all up ("America is a meritocracy") and without being charged with inciting class warfare.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct on July 6, 2003 12:52 PM

What with Zakaria and the whole "illiberal democracy" line, we've got a bit of a backlash against democracy going lately. Throw in the Carl Schmitt revival too if you like (tho the dramatis personae are a little different).

Personally, I think it has something to do with the end of the USSR. US elites no longer need to be so defensive about their democratic bona fides without all those "democratic republics" around. If there is no alternative, if ther est of the world doesn't have to be sold on our system because they're getting it like it or not, it's no so important for elites to pretend they don't exist.

of course Brad won;t like that answer....

Posted by: jw mason on July 6, 2003 02:18 PM

Jefferson said there should be periodic revolutions to prevent people from being to comfortable. The laughably bad defense of nepotism in the Pedantic Mothly is merely a sign we are about due for one.

Posted by: Stirling Newberry on July 6, 2003 05:23 PM

>>that article on nepotism, which, like you, I thought was some kind of PJ O'Rourke thingy minus the laughs.<<

Of course, many times I find P.J. O'Rourke to be identical to P.J. O'Rourke without the laughs...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on July 6, 2003 10:30 PM

I used to enjoy P.J. O'Rourke, but found that he palled (or I changed). I heard a while back that he was on retainer with the American Enterprise Institute. That would explain it.

Posted by: Barry on July 7, 2003 06:14 AM

One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.

Posted by: K Harris on July 7, 2003 07:40 AM
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