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Palmer vs. Bollier — Steel Cage Match

July 21st, 2002 · No Comments

There’s an entertaining highbrow pissing match between Cato’s own Tom G. Palmer and a guy named David Bollier from the New America Foundation linked at Tom’s blog. It’s a little hard to tell just what NAF is about; they do have the usually-interesting Newsday columnist James Pinkerton, but they also sponsor the insufferable Jebediah Purdy, author of For Common Things (in which he proved that the promiscuous use of the word “we” will get you taken for profound by people who think Utne Reader is insightful and Garrison Keillor is funny) and a one-man reminder that a culture of postmodern irony, for all its faults, is not nearly as obnoxious as its opponents. From what I can extract from Bollier’s essay, he’s probably appealing to the same folks who get off on Purdy and Benjamin Barber. As with Barber, he doesn’t so much construct an argument — there is one, but just barely — as create a textual environment, a warm word-blanket peppered with serotonin-releasing trigger phrases like “robust community” and “civic trust.” Tom pimp-slaps him around a bit in a short response, but there’s plenty of silliness and confusion left for you to uncover.

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