Mark Levin Wrong About the Marketplace of Ideas

Influence and worth aren't measured just in dollars.

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By Scott Galupo, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I have no dog in the fight between Mark Levin and Jim Manzi—which, for the uninitiated, began when Manzi, a conservative policy wonk, accused radio talk show host Levin of propagandizing to the echo chamber of global warming deniers. But I will note, as a sidebar, that Levin has a tendency to resort to Howard Stern-style chest-thumping about his popularity. He does here, in this Facebook retort at David Frum, and I noticed it as well in Levin’s infamous radio showdown with Frum.

“No one is buying it—or his books,” he writes of Frum. You might call this the argument from vulgarity, to employ one of the literal senses of the word. What’s the deal?

Lots of people bought Al Franken’s books. Lots of people have seen Michael Moore’s documentaries. Does this validate them in any meaningful way? Does the fact that the major journals of political opinion, conservative and liberal alike, have tiny paying readerships mean they’re not influential? Of course not.

Memo to Levin: The “marketplace of ideas” is more than, well, the marketplace.

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