Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jonah's Whale Tale

What to say about the babbling absurdities of the new Jonah Goldberg book? To critique its "substance" (a word that can only be used in the loosest sense) would in itself be to give it too much credit. Classic up-is-down-ism. Or is that left-is-right-ism?

There is a sense, however, in which the book will be wildly successful, thanks to its very stupidity. By accusing liberals and progressives of being literal "fascists," Goldberg inoculates conservatives from the very same charge, a charge that in their case is not inapt. Now, what happens if someone points out the rather obvious facts that (a) "conservatism" is, in principle, a philosophy of limited government, rule of law, fiscal restraint, legislative supremacy, divided power, small government, deference to precedent, and "realist" restraint in both foreign and domestic policy, while (b) "fascism" embraces militarism, the rule of men (vs. law), executive supremacy, big government, activism in defense of the privileged, judicial radicalism, and a paradoxical identity politics where dominant groups (whites, Christians, etc.) trumpet their victimization at the hands of the weak and powerless; arriving at (c) the logical conclusion that today's so-called "conservative movement" resembles the latter rather than the former?

Moral equivalence--by which every whale-sized conservative idiocy is balanced by a guppyish liberal burble--holds that the two claims, Jonah's and the reality-based liberal's, are exactly the same. Anyone who raises questions about the frightening drift of the right to the farther right will be mocked for Goldbergian incoherence. Brilliant! Orwell would be proud. But not as proud as Mussolini.


At 11:00 AM, Blogger Number Three said...

Oh snap. You beat me to the Orwell reference. Let me just add:

"War is Peace."

"Freedom is Slavery."

"Ignorance is Strength."

"Liberalism is Fascism."

There was also a terrible article in the Weekly Standard this week about conservatism, which tried to trace the genealogy of American conservatism to the reaction to the French revolution. But everyone in the US today is "on the left," as that term was understood in the French revolution, no? But that should be it's own post . . .


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