Humility, Known Unknowns, and Ted Cruz


Yesterday I wrote one of the most criticized posts I’ve ever written in ten years of blogging about Ted Cruz. Probably a large portion of the blowback was due to the deliberately inflammatory title, which hit bloggers right in their pathological insecurity about being told that they are not really qualified to offer an intelligent and perfectly cromulent opinion about literally any subject. We have been told by the mainstream media for so long that we are not qualified to opine about anything that we have an institutional reflex reaction to this criticism even when it is legitimate. A blogger could be a high school English teacher by trade writing a piece on quantum physics and if Stephen Hawking told this blogger politely that he didn’t know what he was talking about, the blogger would get his back up. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, half of succeeding in life is knowing what you don’t know, but there never has really been a place for that philosophy in the world of Internet commentary which pretty much demands instant and bombastic reaction. So I get that and perhaps to some extent I bear part of the blame for reactions like this, where people either flat out lied about what I said:

Oh holy wow. “But Cruz went to Haaaavad, you see,” he actually writes. “And you aren’t fit to tie his shoes.”

— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) December 16, 2014

Mischaracterized what I said:

.@LeonHWolf That post. Why even challenge people’s arguments when you can just say that Sen. Cruz has a Harvard Law degree? #easybutton

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— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) December 16, 2014

Or engaged in a little fun hyperbole:

This may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. –

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) December 16, 2014

Look, whatever, I could not possibly have made it more clear that I welcomed criticism of Cruz, even on the merits of Senate procedure. Literally the first sentence of the article indicated that I welcomed the premise that Cruz might have been wrong about objecting to unanimous consent for the weekend recess. I understand that some people will literally not read (or understand) past the title of a piece though and I guess I bear some of the blame for titling the piece the way I did.

The reaction, though, speaks to a troubling phenomenon that is becoming increasingly …read more    

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