Death as Public Good

Andrew Breitbart - RIPA lot of people are talking about Andrew Breitbart dying. In general, the script goes something like this: I disagreed with him, but he wasn’t who he appeared to be; the private man was different and I morn his death. The problem with this is that no one would be talking about Breitbart if it weren’t for his public image. I don’t know the private Andrew Breitbart. For all I know, he was a great guy. I can only talk about the public Andrew Breitbart, both because that’s all I know and because that’s the only person anyone reading this will care about. And that Andrew Breitbart was a lie propagating fear monger.

I can imagine what it is like for his family. The man was only 43! It must be shocking and painful for them. It must be a horrible blow to all of his personal acquaintances.

But for the world? Unfortunately, the institutions Breitbart created (Big Government and so on) will go on spreading lies and fear. I’m sure we will continue to suffer along with James O’Keefe for many years to come with the mainstream media ever willing to accept new stunts by this serial-liar. In that way, Breitbart lives on. And that’s bad. But I expect that these ventures of his will lose much of their gloss; they will have less influence. Also, Breitbart won’t be around to go on supposedly liberal news programs to justify his propaganda, as he did last year defending the Sherrod video on ABC News. For these reasons, we can be very glad that he is gone.

Andrew Breitbart didn’t have to die in order to stop having a pernicious effect on our culture. He could even have had a political awakening, like David Brock. But he did die. And I just don’t see the down side for our culture.

Update

Matt Yglesias tweeted: Conventions around dead people are ridiculous. The world outlook is slightly improved with @AndrewBrietbart dead.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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