The first Kinsley Award nomination goes to the New Republic's Michael Crowley. Over at Slate Crowley ponders the U.N. oil-for-food scandal and concludes: "Everyone here deserves some blame for Saddam's outlandish thievery. But what was the ultimate damage? . . . The greatest tragedy of the oil-for-food program may be that, for all its Byzantine corruption, we never realized just how effective it was."
The principal defect of Kinsleyism is that it makes a fetish of counterintuition, nearly to the exclusion of every other virtue. This often makes for entertaining reading. It also often leads to obvious wrongness. Conventional wisdom is conventional because, more often than not, it's right.
Anybody can be wrong on any given topic. But it takes a particular combination of intelligence and intellectual unseriousness to arrive at wrong conclusions in the manner which the Kinsleyite does.
So from here on in, I inaugurate the Kinsley Award, for the shunning of truth in the pursuit of cleverness.
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