Just about everything in Rusty Reno's essay at First Things about the departure of Leon Wieseltier from The New Republic is wrong, and the part that is not wrong is confused. Reno allows that:
Wieseltier found expert scholars capable of writing as public intellectuals—or at least capable of being goaded, brow-beaten, and edited into writing in an intellectually serious way for a general audience. This is an extraordinarily important vocation if we hope to have a public life in which ideas matter. He was one of the best, perhaps the best.
You would think that would be enough. But, no. Reno makes the case that the changes at TNR are reflective of the confusions within liberalism. This is akin to Sen. Rand Paul's argument that the root cause of the protests in New York over the death of Eric Garner was the tax on cigarettes. The problem at TNR was not that its willingness to wrestle with first principles was something no longer needed. The problem was they got a bad owner.
But, what really galled me was Reno's suggestion at the end of his little essay that those now former TNR readers who are interested in the world of ideas can get their needs met in the pages of First Things. This brought o mind the most memorable vice presidential debate moment in history.
Mr. Reno. I know Leon Wieseltier. Leon Wieseltier is a friend of mine. Mr. Reno, you are no Leon Wieseltier.