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If You Consider The Evidence in Totality Then It Does Not Refute Agnosticism on Frum vs AEI

Posted on March 29 2010 2:05 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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Five points that John Guardiano is not recognizing in his critique of my agnosticism of the cause of David Frum’s resignation from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI):

1. Yes, Frum has been prolific at writing columns, blogs, and speeches. But he has not been prolific for AEI. He does not go into the office, participate at AEI events, contribute to the AEI blog, and help mentor AEI staff. That’s the key distinction to make.

2. That AEI let the status quo of Frum not adding adequate value to their organization stand for so many years is irrelevant. One can push an employee to do something for a long time before finally drastic action has to be taken. Further, the economic crisis also hit the nonprofit world. It’s been entirely common among think tanks in the past year and a half for non-essential staff (or those not pulling their weight) to get their hours chopped or to be laid off. Thus I find it reasonable — and unremarkable — that AEI would choose to invest $100K of salary and benefits elsewhere.

3. AEI offered to keep Frum on as a paid employee if he would go into the office, participate at AEI events, contribute to the AEI blog, and help mentor AEI staff.

4. AEI offered to keep him on as an unpaid, yet still-affiliated scholar and allow him to continue the current status quo.

5. Frum’s “Waterloo” column is hardly anything that provocative that should prompt banishing. It’s not as though Frum came out as the Conservative Movement’s David Icke asserting that Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck are actually blood-drinking, child-molesting lizard-humanoids from the fifth dimension. The reaction among conservatives was basically, “Oh, David’s at it again. *Yawn.*” Not, “Gosh darn it! He’s really done it this time! Now he’s gone too far!” Frum’s views are not so outside the pale that a banishment would be necessary. It’s not like he’s Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan.

Why would AEI do points 3 and 4 if they wanted to cast out a conservative heretic?

When one considers these five pieces of evidence  above then an agnostic position about why Frum resigned from AEI is entirely reasonable. John, how do you square these arguments with your conviction that Frum was punished for his heterodoxy?

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