Megan McArdle Knows Absolutely Nothing About Any Form Of War And Wouldn’t Even If A Member Of The Military Bit Her!

Which I wouldn’t recommend, because despite all the vaccinations they’re given, I’m pretty sure they don’t cover whatever variant of Jakob Cruetzfeldt disease afflicts libertarian pundits who have never held an actual job and have absolutely no real world experience. But I repeat myself!

Now that the throat clearing is out of the way, I want to make a quick follow on point to AL’s cataloguing of McArdle’s idiocy. Specifically that the US has never actually fought a civil war. A civil war refers to a form of low intensity warfare – as in less than interstate war* -where the supporters of two or more claimants to power fight for control of the state. The claimants may have either de jure (legal) or de facto (extant) claims to control the state. This is not what happened in the US in the 1860s. Rather, what we call the US Civil War was actually a rebellion in support of secession from the state in the attempt to set up a new one. There was no dispute as to the legitimacy of the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. What was in dispute is that the southern states that would become the Confederacy refused to accept the election’s outcome and sought to break away and form their own nation-state.

Had supporters of Secretary Clinton, including Democratic elected and appointed officials at all levels of government, refused to accept the President’s election as legitimate and contested his inauguration, including violently, once they learned that the US intelligence community had determined that the Russians had interfered in the US election with the specific objective of electing the President, then we’d be talking about a civil war. That did not happen despite some of the comments posted here over the past 18 months or so…

What McArdle doesn’t understand, because she knows nothing about war – theoretically, conceptually, and/or experientially – is that there has been a low level insurgency in the US going back decades. We sometimes call this the culture war. Sometimes it’s referred to as the Southern Strategy, but it involves one of the two major political parties and its supporting movements, including religious movements, in the US refusing to accept the legitimacy of any other ones. It includes frequent use of dehumanizing language and threats of violence ranging from legislatively and regulatorily directing the power of the state, utilizing lawfare, and actually threatening and sometimes undertaking violence against their opponents or the objects of their dehumanization campaigns when the insurgents don’t get their way. And these people – elected, appointed, voters, supporters, pundits, etc – are McArdle’s fellow travelers! They are part of the larger political, ideological, dogmatic religious, and sub-cultural groups and movements that McArdle has been marinating in since she was an undergraduate.

They also make the mistake that they are the only ones that get to define patriotism and to actually care about the US and its ideals. They have convinced themselves that they are the only ones who can properly interpret the Constitution when in fact they are the poorest of linguistic and political historians of the late 18th Century, which leads to constantly misunderstanding and misapplying the Constitution. And they have deluded themselves into thinking that because their opponents believe in civility that their opponents are also unwilling to actually defend themselves in the political, ideological, social, religious, economic, and/or legal arenas. And those delusions include the mistaken belief that they don’t have the means to do so.

Right now the US is experiencing one of its periodic bouts of growing pains. As was the case in the 1780s and 1790s, the 1830s and 1840s, the 1860s, the late 1870s through the 1890s, during WW I, in the mid to late 1930s, and in the middle 1960s through the early 1970s, a period of imperfect progress is being met with a backlash against it. It is ugly. It is unpleasant. It is damaging. People who do not deserve to be hurt are being hurt. The real question that McArdle should have asked, yet is incapable because she is as the one who does not know how to ask, is what does it really mean to form a more perfect union? And what are the best ways to go about perfecting the union? Those are the real questions of American civic life. Not whether Democrats in urban areas know how to use guns.

Finally, that McArdle would even contemplate tweeting about this on Memorial Day weekend is insensitive and disrespectful for those who have given their life in service to the US. Discussing whether Americans should or could kill each other again en masse in pursuit of political power on this of all weekends should lead her to remove herself from opining. She needs to flee the public square and contemplate that the people who have given their lives for the US, with the exception of those fighting on behalf of the Confederacy, did so despite their political and ideological and regional and religious differences. They did it to ensure there would be a union to continue to perfect. McArdle is a poor excuse for a public intellectual. Unfortunately she’s an all too perfect an example of a poorly informed and poorly educated American ideologue.

And in case she or one of her followers sees her name in the post title on Cole’s twitter feed and decides to pop over and ask who am I to question her expertise in regard to war, here’s my abbreviated professional bio:

Adam L. Silverman is a consulting national security subject matter expert. In 2016 he assisted XVIII Airborne Corps in their strategic assessment of the Iraqi and Syrian Operating Environment for their deployment as the command element of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. In 2015 he served as a Senior Fellow at SOCOM’s Center for Special Operations Studies and Research. Prior to that he served as a Subject Matter Expert with the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue and US Army Europe from June through August 2014. From July 2010 through June 2014, he was the Cultural Advisor and Professor of National Security and Strategy at the US Army War College. In June 2014 he was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal by MG Anthony A. Cucolo, III.

Dr. Silverman has advised and provided support to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue, US Central Command, US European Command, US Special Operations Command, US Army Europe, the US Army Institute for NCO Professional Development, the US Army Sergeants Major Academy, US Army Special Operations Command, US Army Central, the US Army’s Office of the Provost Marshal General and US Army Corrections Command, I Corps, III Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps, 1st Armored Division, the 101st Airborne Division, the Department of State’s Near East and South Asia Desk, and JIEDDO’s Science Directorate. From NOV 2013 to AUG 2014 he served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commanding General of US Army Europe on temporary assignment. From OCT 2012 to NOV 2013 Dr. Silverman served as the Cultural Advisor to the Civil Affairs Branch Chief on temporary assignment. During 2012 Dr. Silverman served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commanding General of III Corps on temporary assignment from JAN through AUG. In 2010 he was the external subject matter expert on temporary assigned control to US Army Civil Affairs Branch’s Capability Based Assessment and then through JUN 2011 to the US Special Operations Command’s Joint Civil Information Management Test Development program. He previously served as the Cultural Advisor to the Commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division from OCT 2007 through OCT 2008 and was deployed with the brigade in Iraq in 2008. Upon returning from Iraq he served as a social science advisor in US Army Training and Doctrine Command’s G2 (2009). He routinely provides operational support to a number of US Army, DOD, and other US Government elements. Dr. Silverman holds a doctorate in political science and criminology from the University of Florida, as well as masters’ degrees in comparative religion and international security.

* An interstate war involves two or more sovereign states whose militaries are fighting in uniform under their states’ flags with a minimum of a thousand battlefield deaths. Interstate wars will often include types of low intensity warfare, such as rebellions, revolutions, insurgencies, and terror campaigns on one or more sides of the conflict.

Open thread!

127 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    McArdle pissed me off so much I wrote this, rather than make dinner. I’m going to eat. Back in 30 or so.

    Have fun!

  2. 2
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @Adam L Silverman: She is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Likewise, she is not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. Also, she is not the brightest star in the globular cluster. On top of all that, she does not seem to be that smart.

  3. 3
    Elizabelle says:

    I didn’t pay much attention to McArdle’s comments because they’re so puerile. I wonder if she’s embarrassed some of the other WaPost writers. Would bet she has.

  4. 4
    Millard Filmore says:

    Nits to pick:
    “the Russians had interfered in the US election with the specific objections of electing the President,”
    should be objectives

    “through the 1890s, during WW I, in the mid to late 1830s, and in the middle 1960s”
    should be 1830s —> 1930s


  5. 5
    Elizabelle says:

    McArdle apparently wrote a book titled “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success.”

    We could use some better “elites”, hmm?

  6. 6
    Corner Stone says:

    @Millard Filmore: Are you just trying to get a Hellfire incoming?

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Libertarians” are basically neo-feudalists who want to destroy the ability of the state to protect the citizens from them.

  8. 8
    Millard Filmore says:

    I have an invisibility field! Yes, I do. Everyone ignores me.

    Oops, that is for Corner Stone.

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jerzy Russian: Also not the sharpest spoon in the drawer, and seems to be a burger and fries and toy short of a happy meal.

  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    here’s my abbreviated professional bio

    Not fair! You actually know things about the subjects you write on, and since Megan McArdle doesn’t have any expertise on any subject that anyone has managed to detect, she’d have to stop writing entirely if that was the standard.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev: Unsurprisingly, I can live with that.

  12. 12
    Booger says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yes, that CV is just a long-winded way of saying you’re an out-of-touch coastal elite, but what kind of countertops do you have? Tell us something useful for once…/s

  13. 13
    cain says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Preach it brother! Hopefully some cannabis aferwards ;)

  14. 14
    dmsilev says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: There would be many writers who’d have to find alternative careers if ‘actual knowledge’ was a prerequisite to writing on a subject. Sadly, not a world we live in.

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Glad you wrote this. She continues to be an overemployed idiot😠😠

  16. 16
    Another Scott says:

    186os 1860s

    mid to late 1830s 1930s



  17. 17
    scav says:

    AND he looks excellent in a tiara!

  18. 18
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Not whether Democrats in urban areas no how to use guns.

    I’m really hoping this is the result of talk to text.

  19. 19
    Mary G says:

    a period of imperfect progress is being met with a backlash against it. It is ugly. It is unpleasant. It is damaging. People who do not deserve to be hurt are being hurt.

    That is a superb description of what is happening, Adam, bravo.

    I think that’s why I get so upset with some of the media. They treat our lives like an interesting game to watch. There is no sense that they understand or care how destructive these things are to real, live, breathing human beings on both sides.

    O/T, but because it has improved my day so tremendously and I want to share it with the many people here who love Lois McMaster Bujold’s writing, she has a new novella on Kindle, called the “Flowers of Vashnoi” and in, obviously, the Vorkosigan saga.

    The only complaint I have about it is that it is so short. It’s told from Ekaterin’s perspective, as she and Ricardo Burgos go about inventing butterbugs to eat radioactive material to clean up the blasted home district area. There are complications, of course.

    Miles only makes a cameo appearance at the beginning and end, but it is so good I feel quite refreshed after taking the afternoon to garden and the early evening to read it. I cannot even fret about McMegan’s idiocy. Adam has disposed of her just fine.

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Millard Filmore: Thanks. I blame hunger. Now that my steak is rested, I’m going to eat. Back in a bit.

  21. 21
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I added some links for the violence section. Off to eat. Back in a bit.

  22. 22
    raven says:

    Old Ironsides!

  23. 23
    CapnMubbers says:

    …not to mention his desserts! (swoon)

  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    DougJ must be at a cook-out or entered his kid in a baby-race or something. His twitter is silent on McArgleBargle

  25. 25
    Mary G says:

    @scav: And he bakes scrumptious desserts!

  26. 26
    Spaniel says:

    I am surprised she has held an opinion writer’s job for these many years. Between her and Andrew Sullivan, I am not sure which is the worst writer and prognosticator; but then I remember the crew at the National Review.

  27. 27
    Smiling Mortician says:

    If there were any justice in the world, McArdle would read this post and crawl into the sinkhole on the White House lawn never to be seen again.

    Sadly, justice is in short supply. Happily, those of us who read BJ on a daily basis have Adam to inform us about the details of exactly how that is so. Thank you, Dr. Silverman.

  28. 28
    Cacti says:

    I have no problem with the thought of the confederate states seceding again, and quickly discovering that they no longer had California and New York’s economies to pay for their infrastructure.

  29. 29
    Platonailedit says:

    In a world where limbaugh’s, hannity’s, o’reily’s and other media rwnj’s spewed lies, venom, bigotry, racism and hatred for decades and got filthy rich for it, this arglebargle woman is just a speckle of dust.

  30. 30
    Shell says:

    Jesus. Ellicott City, about 15 minutes away from me here in Maryland, got hit by ferocious flooding.I looked at the pics and it looks like a tsunami ripped thru Main street.
    Similar thing happened here 2 years ago and was considered a ‘1000 year event.”

  31. 31
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Shit, she’s even a box short of a happy meal.

  32. 32
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I like it when you get pissed. This is very good.

    @Jerzy Russian:
    LOL. I needed that.

  33. 33
    Elizabelle says:

    @Shell: I know. Saw the photos and thought “oh no, not Ellicott City again.”

    2016 article from the Baltimore Sun, after the last flash flood. From the archives: After deadly flash flood, concern about development’s impact on Ellicott City

  34. 34
    eric U. says:

    @Shell: My mom’s house near Nashville was destroyed by a 1000 year event. It was on a flood plain though, not sure how they figure. Her flood was apparently caused by the same thing as the Ellicott City flood: construction uphill. I was supposed to ride my bike through Ellicott City next Saturday, the organizers are re-routing.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @cain: I do not imbibe. Would violate my clearance.

  36. 36
    Tom says:

    @Smiling Mortician: Actually, if it weren’t for the harm that she would cause the patients, I’d rather have her sentenced to life as a nursing assistant on a geriatrics ward.

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Nope, me pissed off and rushing to do the post so I could go eat. Thanks for catching it. I’ll fix it now.

  38. 38
    Ruckus says:

    With climate change deniers in “charge,” I’d expect a few more of those. Some of the people at work ask me, because I’m freaking old and have lived in the area most of my life, if this is normal weather. I have to tell them that no and remind them of 1969 when houses within 4 miles of where I work had mud up to the eves and that at solid and study rain for over 30 days, people were finally getting worried. Normal weather is what we get all the time, abnormal weather is what we cause by being stupid and not recognizing that 7 billion people with cars and heated homes and fireplaces and yes air conditioning and factories are going to heat up the place, because that’s what happens when you make more heat, which all those things do. And really we have done almost all of that in the last 100-120 yrs. We’ve gone from about 2 billion humans in 1900 to over 7 billion now. It took how long to get to 2 billion and only 100 yrs to get 3 1/2 times more. Those morons who think that humans don’t affect the heat of the planet should not be allowed to breath the oxygen in it’s atmosphere, I mean really it hasn’t done them much good and it’s doing the rest of us a lot of harm

  39. 39
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The dude abides.

  40. 40
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: And the modern version of the Iron Brigade!

  41. 41
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Wasn’t Omes ancestor in that outfit?

  42. 42
    sigaba says:

    When McArdle writes about violence, no analysis is complete without her hot take on anti-Iraq War protests:

    I can’t be mad at these little dweebs. I’m too busy laughing. And I think some in New York are going to laugh even harder when they try to unleash some civil disobedience, Lenin style, and some New Yorker who understands the horrors of war all too well picks up a two-by-four and teaches them how very effective violence can be when it’s applied in a firm, pre-emptive manner.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    randy khan says:


    Not fair! You actually know things about the subjects you write on, and since Megan McArdle doesn’t have any expertise on any subject that anyone has managed to detect, she’d have to stop writing entirely if that was the standard.

    Once you get past the tone (I know, I know), she’s not bad on kitchen stuff, despite the Himalayan pink salt thing. But on everything else, her arguments are practically self-refuting.

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: The original Iron Brigade from the Civil War, sometimes referred to as the Iron Brigade of the West, was made up of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin, the 19th Indiana, and the 24th Michigan. Additionally, they had Battery B of the 4th US Light Artillery attached to the brigade. They were the first brigade into Gettysburg on the first full day of combat. Brought up by MG Reynolds just before he was killed as they were considered to be the shock troops of the Army of the Potomac. It was the Iron Brigade that fought along and in McPherson’s Wood and in the unfinished railroad cut, holding the line for the Army of the Potomac until the rest of the army was fully up and fighting. Gettysburg was, for all intents and purposes, the last stand of the Iron Brigade.

  46. 46
    Ruckus says:

    It’s possible that my ancestor was.

  47. 47
    Barbara says:

    McArdle gives no more thought to the significance of Memorial Day than she did to making light of war at a time when we see daily its psychic and physical toll on soldiers, mostly young men. It’s like a video game to her, and she has the nerve to call other people twee. She doesn’t even rise to the level of twee.

  48. 48
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I was thinking that.

  49. 49
    lynn says:

    The 4 million in Alabama would be very hungry after the first 2 days of succession as the grocery shelves will be empty. By day 3 the well armed militia will be asking DC for terms.

  50. 50
    mainmata says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Outstanding. As someone who has worked his entire career in international development, I appreciate your brisk and authoritative take down of lazy and self-indulgent writers like McArdle. I’m especially angry that the Atlantic had her on their pages when there are so many serious scholars/opinion synthesizers they could have had..For example, you or any number of other excellent writers.

  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: I don’t remember which regiment he specifically said his ancestor was in. It could’ve been the 1st or 5th Wisconsin regiments, which were assigned to different brigades.

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Vice President of the United States…

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mainmata: Thanks for the kind words.

  54. 54
    Platonailedit says:

    @Steeplejack: Thank you so much. It was the magic bullet that killed the annoying blue circle finally.

  55. 55
    afanasia says:

    @randy khan: The tone… I’ve never read even so much as a paragraph of hers without thinking “daddy’s little princess”.

  56. 56
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I do not imbibe. Would violate my clearance.

    Didn’t know that, sigh. (Don’t imbibe either, but for reasons related to clarity.) Federal drug laws are so messed up. Some, but only some, of the other things on schedule 1 are indeed good reasons, besides Federal illegality, for denying/revoking a clearance. (IMO)
    (Speaking as someone who has lost friends and acquaintances to (ethyl) alcohol, but never to cannabis. (AFAIK, though one lethal auto accident combined lots of beer and some cannabis.))

  57. 57
    Tom Levenson says:

    @randy khan: she’s terrible on the kitchen stuff. She’s a Maison-de-la-Casa-House “gourmet” cook.

  58. 58
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bill Arnold: I also have no interest in it. I’d like to see it legalized. I’d like to see resources put against it for medical research. But it isn’t something I’ve interest in recreationally.

  59. 59
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @sigaba: some New Yorker who understands the horrors of war all too well picks up a two-by-four and teaches them how very effective violence can be when it’s applied in a firm, pre-emptive manner.

    Good lord. What virtuous incarnation of Archie Bunker did she imagine going in to settle things with his hard hat (with one American flag sticker and a VFW decal), his pocket bible and his “two-by-four”.

  60. 60
    lahke says:

    @Mary G: Another Vorkosigan fan here at Balloon Juice, excellent! Agree that I wanted it to be longer. I also think that Enrique has become a bit more sensible than is believable, based on his last appearance. Perhaps Marta has had a positive impact.

  61. 61
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It seems that clip was from 2003. So he had a youthful indiscretion like Republicans are prone to.

  62. 62
    frosty says:

    @lahke: Vorkosigan fan here as well, sad that it’s on Kindle and probably won’t come out on paper. Maybe I can get the library to print a copy???

  63. 63
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S): Yep, it’s from when he was in Congress.

  64. 64
    PJ says:

    I’m glad you let loose, Adam. McArdle’s twaddle was nauseating and infuriating (instead of the normal irritating), particularly in light of the occasion, and an indication of how unreal the lives and fates of real people are to her. For her, it’s just a board game, and casualties are cause for celebration.

  65. 65
    J R in WV says:


    I like the Vorkosigan saga very well, also. Was amazed at his dogged success as the Mercenary Admiral pirate. And such a character — so well developed!

  66. 66
    PJ says:

    @Bill Arnold: @Bill Arnold: Dan Baum makes a convincing argument for legalizing all drugs here:

  67. 67
    Timurid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    railroad cut

    *shudders* One of the underrated horrors from Gettysburg…

  68. 68
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    b-boy bouiebaisse @ jbouii
    keep seeing that bad thread about a potential civil war and it’s funny that the same writer had a similarly bad thread about the actual civil war around this time last year

    I don’t remember Megs wading into the Civil War discussions. I do remember Peggy Noonan, who could be Megs’ (pseudo) intellectual mother talking about how “we” all came together to move on after 1865

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mary G:

    Purchased — thanks for the tip!

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Timurid: I think that at the end of Day 1 the brigade was down to 500 Soldiers. Give or take. They were already understrength from their fight at Antietam and started the day with about 1,500 Soldiers if I’m remembering correctly.

  71. 71
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Tom Levenson: The entire “I need this very expensive kitchen gadget to properly make a white sauce” adventure provided endless amusement around here.

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Adam L Silverman: 500 soldiers is an understrength battalion. But you knew that!

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yep.

  74. 74
    azlib says:

    Well said. Remember libertarians think taxation is theft. So it is unclear how they would finance their little war. What an idiot.

  75. 75
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Is that anything like “cuisine-style cooking” (actual sign a friend of mine saw)?

  76. 76
    Matt McIrvin says:


    Normal weather is what we get all the time, abnormal weather is what we cause by being stupid and not recognizing that 7 billion people with cars and heated homes and fireplaces and yes air conditioning and factories are going to heat up the place, because that’s what happens when you make more heat, which all those things do.

    Point of order, while our civilization does produce waste heat, it’s a negligible contribution to current global warming; these things heat the planet primarily not by making more heat but by putting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Were they all powered by zero-carbon means it wouldn’t be an issue.

    (I think this point is actually important because it frames it as less of a hopeless morality play about the evil of civilization.)

  77. 77
    Tehanu says:


    When McArdle writes about violence, no analysis is complete without her hot take on anti-Iraq War protests

    Not to mention her suggestion that first-graders be taught to rush shooters and take them down. One of her commenters today said she’d “put her money on the folks with guns.” Personally I think betting on brains is probably a better idea, an idea btw that Miles Vorkosigan often carries out.

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @azlib: The counter-argument is that all property (especially real estate) is theft. Shove that in their smug faces.

  79. 79
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    DougJ has tweeted about Megan.

  80. 80
    Gretchen says:

    @Tom Levenson: Calvin Trillin?

  81. 81
    Gretchen says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: what is his twitter handle?

  82. 82
    Gretchen says:

    @zhena gogolia: Calvin Trillin used to write about traveling around the country eating. He was frustrated when locals skipped over the good local places and wanted him to eat at the local fancy French restaurant, usually rotating on top of a bank. He collectively referred to such restaurants as “La Maison de la Casa de la House.”

  83. 83
    Obdurodon says:

    WTF *does* Megan McArdle know anything about? She has publicly demonstrated her ignorance not only on war, but on every other aspect of foreign policy, on economics, on history, on most kinds of science, on technology, on ethics (*many* times over), on religion, evand clearly has some skill in sucking up to editors and advertisers, but other than that WHAT? I’d call her the ultimate dilettante, but even a dilettante learns *something* about each subject they visit.

  84. 84
    Roger Moore says:


    I am surprised she has held an opinion writer’s job for these many years.

    I’m not. There will always be jobs for opinion writers who tell wealthy people they deserve everything they have.

  85. 85
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Our long national nightmare is over…

  86. 86
    Roger Moore says:


    I have no problem with the thought of the confederate states seceding again, and quickly discovering that they no longer had California and New York’s economies to pay for their infrastructure.

    It’s fun to think about until you consider all the consequences. A new CSA would probably not formally reinstate slavery, but they would have de facto slavery by arresting and convicting anyone they didn’t like on minor charges and sentencing them to hard labor. A resurrected Confederacy would be a human rights disaster, not a joke.

  87. 87
    Tom Levenson says:

    @zhena gogolia: ;-)

  88. 88
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Gretchen: yup

  89. 89
    Ruckus says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    You are correct of course, I was skipping the science because all of the things that I mention create CO2 but without humans and so many of us this would not be an issue, except for when we had a lot fewer of us we were far more prolific/per capita in our creation of CO2. But we’ve gotten better. Not a lot and there are a lot more of us so this is a big issue. Of course if we didn’t drive vehicles, heat/cool our homes/offices, smelt metals, feed cattle, fly planes, move goods by ship/railroad, make those goods we transport, IOW modern life, we wouldn’t be creating so much CO2 and wouldn’t be responsible for the world heating up. But we are doing those things and are responsible. We can make it better, we can create less and many countries are doing that, but of course half our country thinks that they are the greatest things to happen to this earth since it was created and can do no wrong. Shame that they have to continue to prove this incorrect every day in almost every way.

  90. 90
    Yarrow says:

    Thanks for this post, Adam. I was shocked at her tweet and how cavalierly the whole thing was discussed. She should not be paid to comment on anything. Whoever is paying her should be publicly shamed along with her.

  91. 91
    Steeplejack says:


    Since you are reading this site on some device, you could download the Kindle app (for free) and then buy the Kindle version of the story to read on your device. Problem solved!

    It would require you to have an account with Amazon, which maybe you have some deep-seated objection to.

  92. 92
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: IIRC when she semi-apologized for that line she said she hadn’t realized what a two-by-four was. SMH

  93. 93
    Elizabelle says:


    how cavalierly the whole thing was discussed

    Exactly the right word. I hope this is the beginning of the end for McArdle. She is a not-useful idiot. I am tired of the glibertarians infesting columns that could be given to deeper thinkers who are better writers.

  94. 94
    JDM says:


    McArdle gives no more thought to the significance of Memorial Day than she did to …

    All McArdle thinks of Memorial Day is picnics and the start of swimwear season.

  95. 95
    Turgidson says:

    What McArdle doesn’t know could fill an airport hangar.

  96. 96
    Turgidson says:


    Especially since there is no actual market for her “ideas.” She writes for, and at the pleasure of, a bunch of sheltered, selfish rich douchebags who want to think their self serving rationalizations for further enriching themselves at everyone else’s expense is defensible. And her entire target audience could probably fit comfortable in a high school auditorium.

  97. 97
    gwangung says:

    @lahke: I believe Enrique is, like Miles, a quick learner.

  98. 98
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gretchen: @DougJBalloon

  99. 99
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @Steeplejack: He doesn’t even need to install an app. I read kindle books from my browser on a Chromebook.

  100. 100
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Turgidson: The Maracanã, in Rio.

  101. 101
    Suzanne says:


    she said she hadn’t realized what a two-by-four was

    That cannot be true.
    Oh my Lord.

  102. 102
    Msb says:

    Funny that McArdle is saying pretty much what fire eaters said in 1860.
    The official butcher’s bill worked out to 750,000 dead that time.
    And on Memorial Day. Perfect.

  103. 103
    Steeplejack says:

    @YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S):

    I believe that uses Kindle Cloud Reader, which is either installed as a browser extension or gets used “live” when you go to the page where you’re going to read the book. Sort of like an app, or app-ish.

    But, yes, the point is that it’s very easy to read a Kindle book without a Kindle.

  104. 104
    Ruckus says:

    Bet she doesn’t know what a clue X 4 is either.
    Maybe someone should show her.

    I am slowly drawing to the conclusion that the French had it right the last time they had to educate their “betters.” Even if their “betters” didn’t learn it’s difficult to be a problem with no head.

  105. 105
    Groucho48 says:

    Fancy van pulls up to a lumber yard. McArdle gets out of the passenger side and walks up to the counnter. I’d like to buy some 4×2’s. Do you mean 2×4’s? She goes out to the driver to confer then walks back in. Yes, 2×4’s. Ok, how long would you like them. She goes back out to the driver for another conference. Comes back in. We want them for a long time. We’re building an addition to the kitchen.

    I always assumed that was the kind of jokes ten year olds like to tell, but, maybe there’s an element of truth in it.

  106. 106
    scav says:

    Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
    Smotin’ the water with a two by four.

    Pharaoh’s army got drowned,
    Oh Megan, don’t you weep.

    That woman is baffling, but nowhere near as baffling as why the hell she is apparently employed and, moreover, in a position theoretically of merit.

  107. 107
    YetAnotherJay formerly (Jay S) says:

    @Steeplejack: Yes, it is live, no extension required as far as I know, I have the web store app on this machine, but even on one without it I can just go to and sign in. They don’t list support for Chrome OS, but it works. They do claim support for several specific browsers on Linux, PCs, Macs and IOS devices.

  108. 108
    The Lodger says:

    @Mary G: Thanks for the tip about the new Bujold, Mary G.

  109. 109
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Roger Moore:

    You give them too much credit. I live in Mississippi, and I am quite certain that the majority of white Mississippians would support the reinstitution of slavery if it were on the ballot.

  110. 110
    oldster says:

    McMegan’s support of a civil war is part and parcel of her support of the Russian intervention.

    Russia is pursuing a lot of ways to destroy the US.

    One, of course, is Trump. And he has done quite a lot already!

    But another is their Rwanda plan.

    How did the genocide in Rwanda come about? Two ingredients:
    1) polarization via mass media propaganda;
    2) a massive infusion of deadly weapons.

    Part of the Hutu strategy was to import a ridiculous number of machetes and pre-position them in the hands of their supporters. That way, when conflict boiled over, it led directly to killings, which sped up the cycle of violence.

    So the Russians watched all of this, and decided that they could recreate the recipe here in the US. Trump and Fox give them the media propaganda. And the NRA gives them the massive infusion of deadly weapons.

    That’s why the Russians and the NRA have been working hand in hand. They want to bring Rwanda to the USA.

    And of course useful idiots like McMegan play a small but useful part.

  111. 111
  112. 112

    $DEITY, I love the smell of Libertarian butt being kicked in the morning. This is one of the best, most appropriate pieces I have seen in the context of Memorial Day. Well stated, blunt and needed.

  113. 113
    Josie says:

    Thanks, Adam, for speaking truth to idiocy.

  114. 114
    Tony Gammill says:

    Her name is McArdle, not McCardle. She sucks, but you should spell her name correctly.

  115. 115
    Luthe says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I was thinking the one they used to keep the space shuttle in. IIRC, that one was so tall clouds would form inside it.

    @Ruckus: I frequently threaten to go after people with a clue-by-four embedded with the spiked nails of reason.

  116. 116
    Pedantry-R-Us says:

    she’s all to perfect

    should be:

    she’s all too perfect

    “to” should be “too”

    Otherwise, perfetc.

  117. 117
    coozledad says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Duke keeps fucking up with these white resentment hires. Apparently they don’t have to know a goddamn thing. I still remember Mike Munger defending the South’s religion-based proslavery arguments using Maggie Haberman’s logic “Well, they believed it.”

    Libertarianism is apparently a brain disorder that interferes with information processing. But it also gives the sufferer an automatic foothold in twee academia.

  118. 118

    Holy glucose low, Dr Silverman, this is excellent. Thank you for writing this.

  119. 119
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @BruceFromOhio: agreed, but the title could have been shorter

    “Megan McArdle Knows Absolutely Nothing About Any Form Of War And Wouldn’t Even If A Member Of The Military Bit Her!”

    could have been shortened to “Megan McArdle Knows Absolutely Nothing” and can be used for any post about her drivel

  120. 120
    Lofgren says:

    Conservatives: We need guns because inner city gangs like MS-13 and the Black Panthers are well-armed savages and we can’t defend ourselves.

    Also conservatives: People who live in cities are pussies!

  121. 121
    takebakawashi says:

    I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation for the phrase “she is as the one who does not know how to ask” — even though the post is apt to set her teeth on edge.

    (It’s from the passover seder, y’all.)

  122. 122
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Tony Gammill: Thanks for catching that. I fixed it.

  123. 123
    Betsy says:

    Thank you, Adam, for badassing this. Very gratifying takedown, and mcmegan deserved every syllable

  124. 124
    Betsy says:

    @Tom Levenson: She also eats cheese on rice. For supper.

  125. 125
  126. 126
    Betsy says:

    @Elizabelle: Except she’s had so many beginnings-of-the-ends. And some of them looked so promising.

    Failing upward, always.

  127. 127
    Barbara says:

    @Suzanne: She grew up in NYC the daughter of wealthy parents. And it is just like her to get a thrill from pretending to sound like she knows a lot about something that she doesn’t by using jargon she doesn’t understand. Indeed, that describes just about everything she has ever written, including her tweets on how fun it is to contemplate another civil war as if it were a board game.

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