Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Many Good Things Come From Spite

Like, for instance, this new conservative library blog. I join at least a half-dozen other library bloggers who don't march to the beat of Noam Chomsky and Michael Moron (see the links for said bloggers on the side).

Why am I starting on such a contentious note? I certainly didn't intend to begin this way. I simply wanted to share books, ideas, websites, and sundry observations with my fellow librarians, especially those who have not sold their souls to the prevailing left-wing orthodoxy (i.e., that tepid pool of psuedo-intellectual drivel that made getting our MLS so much fun).

But then I Googled "conservative librarians." You know, to get the lay of the land, see who's out there. In addition to the aforementioned blogs, I stepped in a big, steaming pile of...Keith.

Keith is one third of a three stooges act called The Invisible Library. In his masterbatory ruminations for February 5th, 2004, Keith opines that "that there is no such thing as a conservative librarian." Why does Keith believe such a thing, other than the fact that all his classmates in library school parrot liberal/radical talking points, just as he does? Here is his explaination:

"This is, on the surface, a simple truism based on the fact that Librarian types like to read books. Lots of books. And then, to organize them. Reading a lot of books exposes one to a lot of different and often contradictory notions, which in turn requires one to expand the peramaters [sic] of their thinking in order to grasp the signifigance of everything read, which in turn, creates a Liberal Worldview. A simple sylogism."

If we are in need of a textbook definition of psuedo-intellectual, I humbly suggest that the above quote will illuminate this definition nicely. Sometimes we need an example to understand a term.

Since Keith is possessed of both mental acuity and breadth of knowledge, he surely knows that a sylogism is true only in as much as its premises are true. Logical flow will make the sylogism valid, but this does not add to its veracity. Without wishing to puncture his comfortable and simplistic world view, I offer the following observations about his conclusions regarding conservative librarians:

1) Conservative librarians also read lots of books. Given that we must read widely in our field (at least while we endure the MLS), it is safe to say that conservative librarians read MORE BOOKS that fall outside of their weltanshaung than do their liberal counterparts, some of whom manage to live their entire intellectual lives between the crumbling pillars of Howard Dean-liberalism and Noam Chomsky-radicalism.

2) If it is true that librarians need to "expand the peramaters [sic] of [our] thinking in order the grasp the significance of everything read," then it does not follow that said expansion necessarily leads to correct, or even defensible conclusions. Do I need to seriously consider Holocaust-denial literature in order to form a reasonable opinion on the Holocaust? This sentence is very slippery (i.e., intentionally vague clap-trap). It suggests that anyone who holds rock-solid opinions on matters of morals, public policy, or ideologically-charged issues has failed to expand his/her parameters and ipso facto will embrace the wrong position. Who, pray tell, is more ensconced in orthodoxy than the reptilian leftists who infest our Ivory Towers?

3) "Liberal Worldview?" Is this 19th Century Liberalism or post-New Deal liberalism? They are very different, although some of the best and brightest minds that Western Civ has produced come from the ranks or the former. I suspect, however, that Keith means the latter, including those robust intellectuals that gave us Jimmy Carter-economics, Bill Clinton-foreign policy, and John Kerry-public policy.

Even leaving aside the tendency of those with a "Liberal Worldview" to turn large sections of this great country into job-free and education-free zones, there is a larger problem: how is it that those with the Liberal Worldview failed not only to recognize Totalitarian Communism as an intellectual, political, and moral abomination, but today fail again to see the true nature of rapacious, radical Islam? Shouldn't our "best thinkers" have a slightly better track record?

For that matter, has not every ideological and political horror show found a comfortable home in the bosom of the University? From scientific racism to Planned Parenthood eugenics, from socialist economics to Islamic fundamentalism (and its appeasement), the "intellectuals" have been falling down on the job for some time now. Could it be that there is no causal relationship between education and virtue?

And then we are treated to this bit of wisdom:

"Laura Bush is about as much of a librarian as I am a First Lady."

I won't honor the slam against Laura Bush with a detailed response. Suffice to say, if one takes Keith-the-invisible-library-boy seriously, all librarians prior to the late 20th century tech revolution would be considered imbeciles. Keith backs up his smarmy pot-shot with a ridiculous example:

"I'd love to sit Mrs. Bush down at a computer terminal and have her preform a command line search of the ERIC database accessed through Dialog."

It's not that difficult, genius. And it certainly doesn't require a freakin' Masters Degree. Just a little training.

But then again, training is easy. Humility, common sense, and virtue are more difficult.

On the other hand, I owe Keith a debt of gratitude. Had I not seen his laughably arrogant post, I would not have decided definitively that I must have a blog. As I said, many good things come from spite.

UPDATE: The Invisible Library blog has moved to http://sanchezkisser.com/ILblog/
The link to the original 2004 post upon which this post is based can be found here


At 6:26 PM, Blogger Jane_of_art said...

Welcome to the blogosphere. I am impressed with the use of what I assume is your real name. Leftie librarians are an unforgiving lot I have learned. Glad to see another Catholic librarian out here. The Lutheran's have been taking over! See Norma's Blog "Collecting my Thoughts" and "Mustang Mama"

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Paul Pennyfeather said...

Thank you for my first blog comment.

Lefty librarians "unforgiving?" But I thought they were bastions of tolerance and purveyors of free speech? :)

At 12:51 PM, Blogger O'Grady said...

Third Blog Comment:

Order Raymond Federman's books for the library!

You'll get some leggy French women in sun dresses and various revolutionaries in there to check out Federman.


At 8:26 AM, Blogger Paul Pennyfeather said...

I'm okay with the leggy French women, but revolutionaries? I think not. Hippies stink, but Revolutionaries REALLY stink.

Thanks for the Federman suggestion! I'm not sure what the parents here would think of him. But if no one complains, maybe I could work in some Michel Houellebecq. Talk about bringing in leggy French women...

At 6:04 PM, Blogger fatwalker said...

Just use Jack-off...it is easier to spell.

At 2:54 AM, Blogger Norma said...

Welcome. You are needed. There are many (I think) conservative librarians, but according to Walt's survey there aren't any left-wing librarians, only right-wing (me). And I'm retired. You are a good writer and I look forward to more. I hadn't seen some of the items you mention. Thanks.

At 6:21 AM, Blogger Paul Pennyfeather said...

Thanks, Norma. I hope I can live up to the high standards set by the other conservative library blogs. I confess, I depend on others (like SHUSH) when it comes to the inside politics of the ALA. I've always stayed clear of that. I'll probably need to dip my toe in those tepid waters now that I'm blogging. Hopefully all of us can become a tight, mutually supportive group. Better to heap scorn upon our enemies.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Susan said...

The conservative librarian universe sure has expanded a lot in the year since I first googled "conservative librarian."

I was eagerly joined the fray until I realized I can't articulate my thoughts nearly as well as Vox Lauri, Norma, Greg, and yourself. Maybe I'll just write about cars!

At 2:19 PM, Blogger chad said...

Choice words there Mr. Pennyfeather. We often have a hard time harnessing our talents with good sense, modesty, and virtue.

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Paul Pennyfeather said...

To Susan,

Thank you!

I think we spoke (by email) about a year ago. We had both read something on NRO's the corner (or maybe I read it and then found you). I just remember a Susan who was wondering where the conservative librarian were on the net. I was too. And you're right, things have changed in a year's time!

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Paul Pennyfeather said...

To Chad,

Thank you, sir!

You are a gentleman and a scholar. I will hoist a tumbler (or three) of single malt scotch in your honor.

Then I'll get really sleepy and start telling made up stories about the time I punched out Norman Mailer in a bar in Algiers...


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