Matt Yglesias is shocked to learn that Amity Shlaes is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

She’s got a bachelor’s degree in English and her columns once won a prize from a libertarian organization for some articles that “compared the failing economy of high-taxed and over-regulated US state of Maine to the success of the increasingly economically liberal Ireland; and showed that US workers benefit from taking responsibility for their own pensions.” That’s it.

I have a really, really, really hard time imagining the CFR doing something comparable for a liberal with so little in the way of relevant qualifications or track-record outside an ideological cocoon. Just saying. Where’s my fellowship?

Well, for one thing, Shlaes is more than two decades older, has published three books, and is a syndicated columnist.  She headed up the Wall Street Journal editorial page when Matt was in grade school.

At 27, Matt’s a senior editor at a think tank and was previously employed as an associate editor at the Atlantic.  Despite an undergraduate degree in philosophy and zero military, diplomatic, or national security experience, he’s already published a book with a major press critiquing America’s grand strategy (which I reviewed mostly positively).  I’d say he’s at least on pace to catch up to Shlaes.

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Humility or perspective? From Yglesias? Surely you jest.

  2. Young Mr. Yglesias, smart, well educated, hard working, passionate, but lacking in humility, humanity, and respect for others. It is a common problem among self-identified progressives.

  3. Davebo says:

    I agree, she is much more qualified for her position than say, Monica Goodling.

    I wonder what she’ll be doing come February?

  4. Bithead says:

    Let’s get down to it, guys. Yglesias is pissed because someone he disagrees with is getting more in the way of recognition than he. No question that there’s some personal anamosity, there, certainly, but the bigger issue is the political. It’s something I started noticing in Yglesias quite some time ago and is why I stopped taking him seriously years ago.

  5. ken says:

    Yglesias is a smart guy who occasionally has some interesting insights. Most of the time he is fairly predictable. When he did not have an editor correcting his atrocious grammer and spelling he was painful to read.

    He needs someone to further direct him into areas where his reasoning and insights can be best utilized. He wastes too much time blithely snarking on items and issues that reveal his personal biases, do not educate or challenge the reader, and make no use of his education and training.

    Or if he remains without editorial guidance then perhaps he will develop some discretion as he matures. But either way I am glad he is one of the good guys. If he were a conservative he could easily develop into the male version of Ann Coulter.

  6. Steven Donegal says:

    editor correcting his atrocious grammer and spelling

    that was intentional, right, Ken?

  7. hcantrall says:


  8. Bithead says:

    editor correcting his atrocious grammer and spelling

    I’ll be the last one to complain about that, given I tend to speak in typo, rather fluently.

    For me, it’s always about the ideas… an area where Yglesias is a consistant failure of a scale otherwise found at places like Democrat Underground.

  9. anjin-san says:

    For a guy under 30 to whine that he has not received his due yet is a little silly. As for only having a BS, so what? I know more than a few people with impressive educational credentials that are pretty much worthless in the real world.

    Hey, Paul McCartney can’t read music. Why does anyone listen to his crap?