November 20, 2013

The Influence of Andrew Sullivan, Ctd

Ross Douthat wrote of Andrew Sullivan in The New York Times here:
"The day the gay marriage rulings were handed down I raised the possibility, on Twitter, that Andrew Sullivan might deserve to be remembered as the most influential political writer of his generation, and I was happy to see Tyler Cowen flesh that argument out:                           
Doesn’t... Sullivan have a reasonably strong claim to that title, especially after the recent Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage? Sullivan was the dominant intellectual influence on this issue, from the late 1980s on, and that is from a time where other major civil liberties figures didn’t give gay marriage much of a second thought, one way or the other, or they wished to run away from the issue. Here is his classic 1989 New Republic essay. Here is a current map of where gay marriage is legal and very likely there is more to come.
Ross Douthat continued his analysis of Andrew Sullivan:
"No writer of comparable gifts was on the issue earlier, pushed harder against what seemed at the time like an unassailable consensus, engaged as many critics (left and right, gay and straight) and addressed himself to as many audiences as Sullivan. No intellectual did as much to weave together the mix of arguments and intuitions that defines today’s emerging consensus on the issue — in which gay marriage is simultaneously an expression of bourgeois conservatism and the fulfillment of the 1960s’ liberative promise, the civil rights revolution of our time and a natural, Burkean outgrowth of the way that straights already live. And no intellectual that I can think of, writing on a fraught and controversial topic, has seen their once-crankish, outlandish-seeming idea becomes the conventional wisdom so quickly, and be instantantiated so rapidly in law and custom."
I wrote an earlier post on the influence of Andrew Sullivan here. New York Times post in full here.

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