Jonathan Turley seems hurt that Ann Althouse and other conservative academics acted in a way that shows “we have lost the tradition of civil discourse in this country.” Yeah, umm, Professor Turley, perhaps you didn’t read the footnotes, but here on the internet we don’t have a tradition of civil discourse. We do have a tradition of ad hominem attacks, hyperbole, and pictures of cats.My posts are "Don't like the Supreme Court's decision? Propose a Court-packing plan!" and "How did Jonathan Turley come up with 19 as the best number of Supreme Court Justices?"
Obviously, Professor Turley doesn't enjoy my fun-loving, bloggy approach to his professorly musings and proposals. It's not what he's used to, and it's not what the Washington Post is hoping for when it publishes all those op-eds from law professors to launder its partisan politics into something with that looks scholarly and thoughtful. These lawprofs who experience the inflation of elite media publication — and I've been there — do not want other lawprofs tweaking and puncturing them. It might seem that I'm just crossing a line and being unprofessional or insufficiently submissive when I call bullshit — and in this case I literally called bullshit. ("Oh, spare me the bullshit.")
What I'm doing might seem careless and lightweight. But I am passionate and serious about what I am doing, which is about speaking clearly and showing you things you might not be able to see. Most law professors write for other law professors (as well as elite media and powerful politicians). In this enterprise of career building, they cultivate and trade on respect. Most law professors accept this discipline, because they imagine it's in their self-interest, and it actually is. In this game, I'm a big outlier. I call out the lawprofs, and I've been doing it a lot lately, because —in advance of the health-care decision — the big newspapers have been publishing a lot lawprof op-eds. (By the way, did you know that "19 of 21 constitutional law professors who ventured an opinion" — and who were elite enough to be polled by Bloomberg — said the law is constitutional?)
In a later post, I'll respond to more of Turley's long, professorly post which denies that his Court-packing plan arises out of a distaste for the Supreme Court's opinions. In the bloggerly tradition, I'm keeping this post short and clear. My point is: I'm about clear speech, telling the truth, starting conversations, and having some fun. I'm not about being nice to powerful speakers.
And I'm really not about getting pushed back with calls for "civility." As you know if you're a regular reader of this blog, my tag for this subject has long been "civility bullshit." So this is another post with the "civility bullshit" tag — and it's one where someone used civility bullshit against me for saying "bullshit."
Here's a cool book on bullshit called "On Bullshit." It's by a professor! ("One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted.")
UPDATE: The promised additional post is here.