On Friday, the National Review’s Katherine Jean Lopez wrote a rather innocuous review of the new Oliver Stone movie, World Trade Center. Lopez wrote the movie was “about why we fight.”
Someone emailed Lopez, objecting to the line “it’s about why we fight,” and noting that “you do not fight – you never have and, hopefully, never will have to. You are not a member of any of the branches of the armed forces, nor a reservist.” Lopez was fairly contrite, responding, “To anyone reading from Iraq, Afghanistan, or otherwise serve in our military, let me clarify: I don’t fight. Thank you for serving so we may go about our days of blogging.”
But Cliff May, another National Review blogger and prominent right-wing pundit, objected. May insisted that Lopez, by blogging for the National Review was “fighting a war” and this war was “equally consequential” with the wars that are fought by the U.S. military. An excerpt:
There is a war of arms. And there is a war of ideas. They are not just inter-related, they are interdependent. They are equally consequential.
…Let’s take just one example: In the 1930s, Churchill fought a war of ideas. He tried to warn the world about Hitler; tried to warn Europe and America that Hitler’s hatred and ambition had to be checked. But most people did not listen. Churchill’s ideas did not prevail. They called Churchill a “war monger.”
…So yes, Kathryn, you are fighting a war. And your e-mailer is ignorant about how wars are fought, about how wars are won and lost, and about the way the world actually works.
To be fair, there is some truth in what May is saying. Arguments about ideas can have real consequences. But blogging on the National Review (or ThinkProgress, for that matter) is not the equivalent of Churchill warning the world about Hitler. And blogging is not “equally consequential” to the wars fought by members of the United States military, who put their lives at risk every day.