Monday, April 1, 2013

Conquest's laws and the NYT

Not just wrong, but also ignorant

Robert Conquest, the pre-eminent historian of Stalinist terror, proposed the following three laws of politics (as summarized by John Derbyshire):

"1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
2. Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will
sooner or later become left-wing.
3. The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by
assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies."

If a law (if p, then q) is true, then its inverse (if not p, then not q) is also true.  The inverse of Conquest's first law would be something like "anyone who is not conservative about a subject must know that subject very poorly."  The NYT, which is wildly un-conservative on many subjects, and is particularly un-conservative on the subject of Christianity, today seemingly set out to demonstrate the truth of the inverse of Conquest's first law of politics with the following correction:

Correction: April 1, 2013

An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the Christian holiday of Easter. It is the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, not his resurrection into heaven.

(By the way, did you notice the part of the correction that still requires correction?)

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