The value of cynicism, and defunding the left

I’ve long thought that Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas and One Market Under God, editor of the late, much-lamented The Baffler, and current WSJ columnist, was my psychic twin. Here, from his latest book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, comes the proof:

Now, I’m the kind of guy who believes there is a wholesome quality to cynicism. I think it’s healthy to laugh at the powerful and the at the rococo fantasies they dream up in order to rationalize their exalted place in the world. One of my favourite books is a 1931 compilation called Oh Yeah? made up entirely of optimistic quotations from the great economists and bankers of that era, interrupted every now and then with charts and headlines about the ongoing disaster in Wall Street.

I must find a copy — or start drafting my proposal for Oh Yeah – 2008 Edition.

This little gem from a later chapter, on Moral Majority founder Howard Phillips’ imperative to “defund the left,” might sound just a little familiar after these last couple of weeks:

As political entrepreneurship goes, this was something new: a plan to systematically destroy or redirect the income of the other side.
In explaining his “defund the left” approach, Phillips was fond of quoting a Thomas Jefferson pronouncement — “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propogation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrranical” — the idea being that by spending tax dollars on programs conservatives disliked, the government was violating basic American rights.