The left-liberal magazine The Nation has just published its 150th-anniversary issue, which includes Alterman’s piece on the state of American conservatism. Alterman makes two main points. One is that conservatives are ideologues, whereas liberals are pragmatists. The other is that prominent righty pundits routinely spew nonsense not because they’re dumb, but because extremist plutocrats control the conservative movement.
“We have allowed conservatives to define the terms of debate at a time when conservatives have lost all sense of moral, intellectual and especially practical responsibility,” opines Alterman. “Today’s conservative intellectuals [are] making calculated attempts to undermine our democracy, exploiting and manipulating a public that has decreasing resources for the kind of reliable information that would lead to a pragmatic ‘liberal’ response. It’s time we woke up to that reality while we still have a country—and a planet—left to save.”