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March 13, 2009

Comments

Michael in nyc

"If I want to repudiate past writing, I should start with an acknowledgement that I am at any moment imperfect and can and do change my opinions on a number of things."

This is the key point, really. People need to be accountable for what they say (and do) regardless of their age and there is nothing so easy as for someone to acknowledge their position has evolved -- when did learning become an enterprise of simply reaffirming everything you already knew and not an exercise in potentially seeing things differently? And when did seeing things differently become a bad thing? What fragile creatures feel they will be counted as lesser beings if someone digs up a silly or contradictory statement from their past? Opinion-makers need to worry less about the Tim Russert interview and worry more about the Jon Stewart interview. Be responsible and be honest.

There are a lot of pre-baked cultural assumptions about childhood and innocence implicit in the criticism of your piece that are pure tripe, I agree with you, but at its heart it's simply special pleading for people not to be held responsible for things they've said or done years earlier (it's the all-purpose excuse of the Baby Boomers). I would be quite surprised and disappointed if Douthat felt as dismissively about his college writing as Sullivan and Avent seem to be.

Greg Kuperberg

That posting material from The Salient or The Crimson is somehow low or mean.

No, on the contrary, that material merits extra scrutiny, because Douthat has Ivy League loyalties. Anyone who reads his column should consider whether he really has in mind what's best for all Americans, or whether he cares more about what's best only for Harvard and its alumni.

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