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Thursday, May 15, 2003

I'm finding Jane Galt's "Diogenes-looking-for-an-intellectually-honest-person" act a bit cloying lately. First, she takes EJ Dionne to task for making an unverifiable statement (that, if Gore were President, he'd be pilloried by the press if he did the same things that Bush has done), and then turns around and prints a long e-mail containing a medical horror story whose sole purpose is to make another unverifiable statement (that this person's medical care would have been disastrous under the Hillary Clinton healthcare plan).

And then there is another instance of her "wink-wink-nudge-nudge" defense of that book, The Bell Curve, in which she sharply criticizes the book's critics while first saying, "I've read it, but I have no opinion on it". This could be true, of course, but I find it hard to believe that someone as intelligent and well-read as Jane could read that book without forming an opinion of its merit, or that she would expend so much effort to taking on the book's critics (this is not her first post on this subject) also without having an opinion on it. She seems to be expending an awful lot of mental energy on an issue on which she has no opinion. I mean, if she knows the book and its arguments well enough that she can castigate Steven Jay Gould's attack on it as consisting of "egregious selective quotation", how can she at the same time profess to not knowing the book and its arguments well enough to have an opinion on it? What gives?

(For the record, I have not read The Bell Curve, and I have no opinion at all about it. Whenever that book comes up in conversation, my general tactic is to nod sagely and reach for the pretzels.)

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