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Bloggingheads
01-21-2008, 04:09 PM

somerandomdude
01-21-2008, 04:27 PM
Oh for Christ's sake. Jonah fucking Goldberg.

brucds
01-21-2008, 04:30 PM
I'm going to take a piss...I mean take a pass on this one.

InJapan
01-21-2008, 04:31 PM
... love it ...

Mensch
01-21-2008, 04:35 PM
Kudos to bhtv for having the cahonas to put this one up, despite opposition from the majority of its viewing audience, I'm sure.

TwinSwords
01-21-2008, 04:37 PM
Since we can just make up any old political theory we want, I propose Conservative Communism (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=68661&post68661).

Oh, look, Sadly No! had the same idea (http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/8571.html)! LOL

ohcomeon
01-21-2008, 05:14 PM
Just no. 10 characters.

Wonderment
01-21-2008, 05:48 PM
The problem with elevating a pompous blowhard like Goldberg from the ranks of O'Reilly and Coulter and engaging him in a serious and civil discussion, as Will tried to do, is that you end up letting him rant for an hour and responding with

"It does seem a little contentious to call Hillary Clinton a fascist."

It more than "a little contentious." It's fucking crazy.

And it's an insidiously Orwellian abuse of language. Just say "fascism" and "totalitarian" enough times in the same sentence as Hillary Clinton, "progressive" and "liberal," and you will get Clinton haters everywhere to salivate for the red meat. Time publication with the presidential primaries and cash in on the controversy.

Speaking of Orwell, he wrote in 1944:

"It would seem that, as used, the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else."

jmcnulty
01-21-2008, 06:17 PM
I do not recall anything like a rant from Goldberg, unless you consider any repsonse from Goldberg to be a "rant." He explained why Hillary Clinton has a fascistic edge to her "It Takes a Village" message. He did not call her a "fascist," which as you point out is a meningless term (rendered so by Soviet and Leftist propaganda). As Goldberg point out, "fascism" has become synonymous with "evil," altough its intellectual roots rest in the Left, in the Socialist movements of the 19th Century or even back to Rousseau, obscured by 75 years of Leftist name-calling. How many times in the past eight years has a Leftist poster at Daily Kos or Democratic Underground called Bush or Cheney a "fascist"? It does not help the Left's case for Goldberg to be subject to the Left's general abuse. Why compare him to Ann Coulter? For that matter, what is wrong with Ann Counter? No one is saying that she is a towering intellect who writes academic history. She is a columnist (with a wicked sense of homor) and an author of popular history and politics and a television pundette. Should Leftist authors who appear on television and are leggy blondes be dismissed as well? It is odd that Liberals who would tell you how tolerant and compassionate they are can be reduced to vitriolic fury by Jonah Goldberg. No one expects you to laugh at his jokes. I thought he did an excellent job of defending and explaining the book as Wilkinson did of questioning him, challenging him and disagreeing without being disagreeable. Excellent diavlog. Light rather than heat. Thanks, Bob Wright.

Mike J.
01-21-2008, 06:19 PM
It's not worth watching. Though Will offers some scattered damning objections (Goldberg's placement of Mussolini and Hitler on the left is ahistorical and arbitrary, fascism was nationalistic and militaristic, the actual genealogy of contemporary liberalism doesn't stem from anything fascistic), he doesn't press them vigorously, and Goldberg doesn't have anything worthwhile to say.

ohcomeon
01-21-2008, 06:24 PM
What is wrong with Ann Coulter? I have often wondered that myself. I'm no professional but I suspect she had a poor relationship with her father.

zookarama
01-21-2008, 06:34 PM
I gave it almost 15 minutes and realized that this book is just another screed. It bores me the same way left wing screeds bore me. If you're out there on the edges of the curve, then this is for you. If you enjoy witnessing semantic jiujitsu, you'll probably love this book. btw, where's Bob? And its been a while since Mickey's been around, no? Then again, bhtv has a way of compressing time for me. This may be another sign that I need to get out more.

jmcnulty
01-21-2008, 06:36 PM
Not that it will matter to you, but she wrote a loving column last week about her father upon his death. I understand your non sequitur comment to mean that you do not like Ann Coulter. That is your privilege. I could say that you are prejudiced and hate-spewing, but of course that can only be said about conservatives, not matter how insensitive the remark by a Leftist.

Trevor
01-21-2008, 06:43 PM
I can see why Will, with his pox-on-both-houses libertarianism, would be an uncommonly charitable interviewer for Goldberg. What I don't understand is why Goldberg isn't a libertarian too, and is instead proud to call himself a conservative, if he's really so concerned about nascent fascistic tendencies in the political mainstream. What, one wonders, are the tenets of conservatism that libertarians do not share but that are not, by Jonah's own standards, fascistic?

Wolfgangus
01-21-2008, 06:47 PM
She's just another psychopath like O'Reilly that discovered a way to make money off the religious by telling them whatever they want to hear, and pretending it was "journalism". I say psychopath because like O'Reilly she doesn't care if her statements are lies, doesn't care if they hurt anybody physically, financially, emotionally or politically, she only cares precisely to the extent they benefit her by drawing media attention and therefore, money and power. If she could make more money entertaining Democratic Liberals I have no doubt she would change her tune tomorrow.

As far as what creates psychopaths, a poor relationship with a father (like being repeatedly beaten or raped by him) can certainly do that; but I believe certain faults in brain development do the job equally well.

ohcomeon
01-21-2008, 06:53 PM
I'll deny the prejudice charge. Hate spewing, in this case, perhaps I'll accept. I try not to hate because it is generally unproductive but I'll admit Ann Coulter is a special case.

Here's a little more hate spewing from one of your favorites:

"we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

"Congress could pass a law tomorrow requiring that all aliens from Arabic countries leave....We should require passports to fly domestically. Passports can be forged, but they can also be checked with the home country in case of any suspicious-looking swarthy males."

To a disabled Vietnam vet: "People like you caused us to lose that war."

"Women like Pamela Harriman and Patricia Duff are basically Anna Nicole Smith from the waist down. Let's just call it for what it is. They're whores."-

And finally on the topic of who loves fascism.
"My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that's because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism."---MSNBC 2/8/97

dfp21
01-21-2008, 06:53 PM
Our side of the American political spectrum proudly voted for the following people:

A Senator who's an ex Ku Klux Klan member.
A Governor who stood in the doorway of a school to prevent black kids from entering.
A Senator who drove his car into a lake leaving his passenger to drown.
A President who, on his last day in office, pardoned terrorists and an FBI most-wanted guy after getting a $5 million donation to the Clinton Library.

So, Goldberg, don't dare call us Fascists! Maybe we're racist, drunken, crooked scum. But Fascist? I'm offended!

jmcnulty
01-21-2008, 07:03 PM
Tell me something that she has said that was a lie. She may have said things with which you disagree or that are so funny that they infurate you. I am not aware of anything that she has said that has been shown to be a lie. Why compare her to O'Reilly, except that you do not either of them? She may be tendentious, scathing, polemical. But she is not the buffoon that O'Reilly is. He really is a guy who would be quite comfortable taking the liberal side if he thought that there was more money and ratings in it. For years, he was the host of "A Current Affair," which ought to tell you that he is an ambitious cable television operative who will do whatever makes money, regardless. Right now, conservatism sells. That's why is audience is three times Hardball's.

Tim O
01-21-2008, 07:11 PM
Pardon in advance for the fragmented comment I'm listening and making quick notes.

Jonah calls BHTV "Webtv" in the intro.

I half expect Will to remove his latex glove a la "Babs" in Animal House after his loving handjob of Jonah.

Jonah creating his own defenition of totalitarian.

He mentions Mussolini's form of fascism and it sounds eerily like Bushco fascism. Install party aparatchik into the government and insure privatization of the mechanism to secure the monetary means for a permanent Republican majority. Too bad it failed, er I mean thank God it failed! Mussolini called it corporatism.

It's stunning how he tries to project right wing fascism on liberals.

He rattles off all the names of current dictators claiming they are doing it for the state when ultimately its so they can control the wealth of the state for themselves.

jmcnulty
01-21-2008, 07:11 PM
It appears that humor and satire are lost on you. Why hasn't she been sued for libel if she said those things? Because it was obvious that she was expressing an opinion, not to be taken literally, or was being deliberately provacative as humor. When Keith Olbermann names a conservative like Bush the "Worst Person in the World," is he stating a fact or an opnion? Are we supposed to hate Olbermann because there really is a "worst" person in Roumania?

Tim O
01-21-2008, 07:19 PM
Again, Jonah describes Woodrow Wilson authoritarianism and it sounds eerily like Bushco fascism.

Nobody is saying history doesn't matter, it's just that Jonah's revisionism doesn't fly with the general consensus. I suppose that you could say that Jonah is a visionary historian on the cutting edge of a new perspective on history but, um, that would be ridiculous. I'm sorry I even suggested it.

Oh yea, organic food is fascistic, just in case you were wondering.

ohcomeon
01-21-2008, 07:30 PM
I am trying to understand whether you believe it is TRUE that the two 9/11 widows she refers to are whores or if you just think it is just funny that she calls them that.

Tim O
01-21-2008, 07:45 PM
Humor has nothing to do with it. It's her niche and it's paid off.

Remember Andrew Dice Clay? He was popular until he stopped telling nasty sexist jokes that was red meat for his audience. Nobody remembers him now.

If Ann stopped talking smack about liberals, her fountain of cash would dry up. She's a useful tool for the disgusting right wingnuttia including the Dittoheads, Michael Savage fans and the Hannity like dicks out there.

Stop talking about her and she will go away.

bkjazfan
01-21-2008, 07:56 PM
The content of Jonah's book seems to be a obscure. Why would anyone read it? I find it incredible that it is #3 on Amazon. Of course, Ann Coulter and Michael Moore have books that are popular, too. Why waste your time with such dribble when there is so much substantive reading to be done.

seyoyo
01-21-2008, 08:02 PM
Jonah Goldberg is intellectually-challenged. He thinks that by dropping a lot of names he can get around a sensible historically-sound thesis. I am not leaving this interview with a positive image of his wit.

which hunt?
01-21-2008, 08:03 PM
http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8244?in=01:13:39

Goldberg is my nominee for official BH evil pale penis person. He compares white males in today's America to Jews in the holocaust. I find this absolutly stunning. I'll admit that there is some rhetoric denouncing white maleness in this culture, but how about black maleness, muslim maleness, mexicanness and womenness? I think all of these things are more detrimental to our body politic. There is not a member of any of these groups who has ever been elected president, except one. The holocaust nearly extinguished entire races of people, the arguments he is hearing are about concepts. Nazis may have found justification by scapegoating a shadowy cabal, but they actually killed people, not ideas. His persecution complex is just pathetic. It reminds me of people invoking race when defending Giuliani against the F word.

Earth to Jonah: Fascism is commonly used to describe militant nationalism. I'm sold on Wilson's Fascism. You might be able talk me into FDR's being a Fascist. I know it sells books when you call presidential candidates with high negatives nasty names, but your bewilderment on how the American Right gets classified as Fascist strikes me as posturing.

That being said, I found this to be an excellent diavlog, and by far prefer Goldberg to Frum or Eli Lake. Examining the roots of the American Left starting with the Fascist ideology strikes me as so dissonant with mainstream America's Left/Right paradigm that I find it fascinating. He argues a good case, and doesn't get too pushy. I like to have an opposition viewpoint, and I find Lake to be too screechy and Frum's axis speech too off putting.

dankingbooks
01-21-2008, 08:11 PM
OK - unlike most commenters, I'm a fan of both libertarianism and of Jonah Goldberg. I do think there is a legitimate distinction between "Rousseauians" and "Lockeans". I do believe in the God-given rights to Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness - and this puts me at loggerheads with both Fascists narrowly defined, and with less villainous politicians such as Hillary, who seem willing to sacrifice our Constitutional Liberties for the sake of communal social policies.

Having said that, I think Will talks to much. For a weekly show, he's got to be the interviewer and keep his inarticulate and rather irrelevant opinions to himself.

www.dankingbooks.com (http://www.dankingbooks.com)

jmcnulty
01-21-2008, 08:15 PM
I do not believe Ann Coulter was ever sued by the 9/11 widows. I do not believe the she ever called them "whores." She did say that maybe they were on the lookout for new husbands. What she was really saying was that they were trading on the celebrity of their tragedy, which was true. Why would anyone listen to their political views except that they were 9/11 widows? It is amazing to me that there is one set of rules for someone on the Left and another for someone like Ann Coulter on the Right. What she said was rude and hurtful, but not necessarily untrue. If what she said was demonstratively untrue, why didn't they sue? It is like Cindy Sheehan. If I say that her 15 minutes of fame are well over, is that a lie? I am sorry her son was killed, but that makes me perhaps boorish, not a liar.

rcocean
01-21-2008, 08:17 PM
Thanks Bob Wright for this diavlog. Not only was it informative regarding Jonah's book, but as a conservative, it gave me great insight into Jonah Goldberg, an editor into NRO , supposedly THE conservative magazine.

This divalog simply confirms my belief that to Goldberg or someone like John McCain/Fred Barnes, the real enemy is not Ted Kennedy but Pat Buchanan. That Jonah thinks someone against imperialism, absolute "free Trade", and illegal immigration is a "fascist" is interesting. That Jonah thinks preventing a "Holocaust" in the USA is a Number #1 priority is not only interesting, but amazing and reveling.

piscivorous
01-21-2008, 08:21 PM
Th specific context of the "whores" quote was in respect to being "publicity whores" but hey who on the left takes anything in context as it ruins their arguments.

which hunt?
01-21-2008, 08:23 PM
Rousseau vs. Locke = interesting concept.

Conservatives being champions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights is a bit of a howler though. It seems like the majority of people backing the first amendment at this point in time are liberals... it's been that way for the last, oh, seven years. Good old fashioned law and order Republicans have been oddly silent on the matter.

Conservatives do not pull any punches with the second amendment however. I'll give them that.

jmcnulty
01-21-2008, 08:28 PM
If she called them "publicity whores," then that was true, and we can only object to her rudeness. They were trading on their tragedy for publicity. Where are they today?

dankingbooks
01-21-2008, 08:31 PM
I think conservatives have been at the forefront in defending the first amendment. Certainly, they have led in fighting campus thought police, and in protecting free speech on campus. Check out http://www.thefire.org/ for more info.

Also, David Horowitz may over do it, but at least he does it. He (at least nominally) defended Ward Churchill's right to free speech.

Likewise, I think conservatives have taken the lead in defending religious liberty as well, though that is more of a mixed bag.

I see nothing similar coming from the Left - but maybe I'm missing something. Let me know what it is.

http://www.dankingbooks.com

jmcnulty
01-21-2008, 08:36 PM
You said: "[T]he majority of people backing the first amendment at this point in time are liberals."

Surely you jest. Are conservatives responsible for the profiferation of campus speech codes? Are conservatives to blame for the "human rights" courts in Canada, which are busy prosecuting the speech of conservatives like Mark Steyn? Are conservatives trying to silence persons like Don Imus and Michael Savage?

I have to wonder whatever happened to the "marketplace of ideas" so vigorously defended by liberals a generation ago.

ohcomeon
01-21-2008, 09:13 PM
She did say that maybe they were on the lookout for new husbands. What she was really saying was that they were trading on the celebrity of their tragedy, which was true.

No, that is what she was doing. That is what she does. Spew nastiness for money.

Tim O
01-21-2008, 09:18 PM
To be fair, these conversations are called diavlogs, a derivation of dialogue, meaning its more of a conversation, not an interview. But I do agree he talks too much for trying to get at the meat of Jonah's book. However lame.

nojp
01-21-2008, 09:23 PM
Typical of most conservatives Jonah uses a small insight to hide a large lie.
Conservatism is selfishness by another name. It might take some left wing fascism to move the economy from one based on debt and consumption to one of investment and sustainability. Just remember with out oil capitalism becomes very Dickinsonian . Just think of what conservatism conserves.

Tim O
01-21-2008, 09:27 PM
Has anyone read about people being arrested at Bush rallys for wearing protest t-shirts or being asked to leave the national archive for wearing an "Impeach Cheney" t-shirts?

Anyone hear about how a CIA agent was betrayed because her husband told the truth about one of Bush's lies?

How about the infiltration and investigation of a Quaker peace group in Florida?

Freedom's on the March in Bush's Amerika!

Bloggin' Noggin
01-21-2008, 11:23 PM
Will seems to have felt it would be unfair to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent, so he tends to allude to his criticisms of the book rather than make them and when he makes them to downplay them. He seems actually rather like a grown-up put in the awkward position of having to give constructive criticism of the emperor's "serious and very well researched" new clothes.
Still, I can't think of a more damning review of Jonah's book than this little encomium by Will:

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8244?in=00:06:26&out=7:00

And that's from a libertarian who's willing to call FDR's New Deal "fascistic."

It's pretty obvious just from this diavlog that Jonah's little trick is to label all forms of "collectivism" as "left" and all forms of small-l liberalism (belief in individual rights) as "right". Of course, in the real world, what is known as "the left" and what is known as "the right" both have collectivist and individualist tendencies and sub-groups.
As Will says, the whole left-right spectrum doesn't really mean much -- you not only need to specify a context, but you probably need more than just one dimension on which to map the political positions.

I had a look at _LIberal Fascism_ in the bookstore. The index contains no mention of John Rawls -- THE philosopher of modern (non-classical) liberalism (and something of a hero to Will himself, as I recall). This seems like sufficient reason to dismiss the book out of hand. I do wish Will had raised the figure of Rawls. He does believe in some degree of economic redistribution, unlike the classical liberal. But he's certainly a believer in individual liberty -- he gives liberty priority over his "difference principle" which governed economic distribution. Is Rawls "fascistic" -- or does his individualism show that he's actually of the right?

And if Pat Buchanan has collectivist tendencies, does that put him on the left? Jonah evades this problem by starting to talk about the Republican Party and distancing himself from the party. The real point is that Jonah's classification system is obviously ridiculously tendentious and just plain silly.

AndyH
01-21-2008, 11:35 PM
Not long before this "Liberal Fascism" brouhaha broke out, I happened to catch a screening of that old political documentary "The Sound of Music." I came away questioning the conventional idea that Nazism was a movement of the Far Right.

I mean, can anyone seriously believe that Captain VonTrapp's opposition came from the Left?

dmargolis
01-21-2008, 11:39 PM
if liberalism = fascism, then words do not mean anything anymore.

jonah, you're not a conservative. you're a post-modernist.

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 12:05 AM
if liberalism = fascism, then words do not mean anything anymore.

jonah, you're not a conservative. you're a post-modernist.

LOL, good point.

About the only useful point of calling the left "fascist" that I can think of it that it means today's conservatives and Republicans are to the right of fascism, and Hitler.

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 12:50 AM
The funny thing is that no wingnut ever thought, before Jonah, to transplant fascism from the right to the left. But now that he has, every other wingnut will act as if it has been obvious all along. The wingnuts will pick up this argument and run with it, pretending they "knew all along" that fascism was a phenomenon of the left.

Or at least that's what they pretend. In reality, they are smart enough to know better.

Perhaps the most amusing part is the idea that the white man is equivalent to the Jews under Hitler (http://focusonjerusalem.com/drybones6.jpg).

Dee Sharp
01-22-2008, 01:42 AM
A bad BHTV episode makes me feel smarter or more knowledgable than one or both participants. A good one tells me I need remedial coursework. I thought this was one of the best episodes I've seen. Both of them appear to know lots of the relevant history. To form my own opinion will require a great deal of interesting reading, starting with the links given.

However, I won't bother. Though I do not understand their reasons, so many commenters have indicated that both Jonah and his ideas are bad, and unworthy of attention, that I must follow. Now is the time to set aside division, so that we can unify. Let us stop bickering about where we are and how we got here, so that we may put all our energies into moving forward. Together, we can be a great nation. Blah blah; blah blah. They practically sell themselves.

cjsmith
01-22-2008, 01:49 AM
It's pretty obvious just from this diavlog that Jonah's little trick is to label all forms of "collectivism" as "left" and all forms of small-l liberalism (belief in individual rights) as "right". Of course, in the real world, what is known as "the left" and what is known as "the right" both have collectivist and individualist tendencies and sub-groups.
As Will says, the whole left-right spectrum doesn't really mean much -- you not only need to specify a context, but you probably need more than just one dimension on which to map the political positions.


Thank you BNoggin for what might be the only (or one of the few) adult comment in this whole thread so far, which is otherwise sadly turning quite adolescent.

I think you are exactly right re: collectivism in both the right and the left.

I would add that Goldberg's "right" is only the American Milton Friedman kinda right.

If Fascism is of the right then it is of the far European right. Which for sure has/had collectivist tendencies. My own opinion would be that fascism (and communism for what it's worth) are off the traditional left-right spectrum.

I don't think Bush is a fascist (however much I disagree with the guy) nor Hillary Clinton (not a big fan of hers either).

That's why fascists and communists are called totalitarian.

I think Goldberg is right to point to authoritarian, illiberal (in the classical sense), undemocratic streaks in the progressive history. For God's sakes, FDR put American citizens in concentration camps. The eugenics issue and Wilson's suppression of free speech as other ugly versions thereof.

But why is this fascism again? Wilson lost an election and left office--dictators don't usually by my recognition just leave office after losing elections. FDR lost his undemocratic attempt to pack the Supreme Court. He didn't send the CCC as stormtroopers in blitzkrieg formation on Congress.

Dr. Johnson
01-22-2008, 02:05 AM
Sometimes I wonder if Bob gets embarrassed by the Bloggingheads forum.

This is one of those times.

piscivorous
01-22-2008, 02:17 AM
No, that is what she was doing. That is what she does. Spew nastiness for money.
She does that for sure. But look at some of the the bile and invective in comments about this diavlog. At least she is smart enough to make money off it.

CrowsMakeTools
01-22-2008, 02:33 AM
Jonah's definition of fascism as it applies to Ms. Clinton and the American Left is full of problems. I am looking forward to his reaction to a McCain Huckabee GOP ticket. If he is worried about fascist tendencies in modern American political thinking, that should give him some pause---

It would be helpful to have Francis Fukuyama respond to Jonah and Will's Hegel-bashing.

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 02:44 AM
If Fascism is of the right then it is of the far European right.
But Hitler and the fascists were greatly admired by the American right, and never the American left, with almost no exceptions. The fascists were also greatly admired by the British right -- not the British left. Conservatives throughout the West supported Franco's fascist campaign in Spain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Civil_War), and every fascist leader from Franco to Augusto Pinochet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinochet) to Saddam Hussein. It was never the liberals or the left supporting these people.

It was the liberals condemning America's support for Pinochet, Saddam Hussein, Nicaragua's Somoza regime (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somoza), the Contras that followed them, the fascistic François Duvalier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Duvalier) in Haiti, and the fascistic Roberto D'Aubuisson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_D%27Aubuisson) in El Salvador, to name a few.

The history of American support for right-wing, military dictatorships with a fascist bent is long, and clear.

One source of confusion is that many think of the Democratic Party as "liberal" or "left." This is true, but only in a narrow sense that doesn't apply to a discussion of global politics, and especially the extreme ideologies of fascism or communism; those extremes have no representation in American politics. While the Democratic Party is, indeed, on the left of the American political spectrum, the American political spectrum is only a subset of the full spectrum, and the entire span of American political thought is on the right side of the full spectrum from communism to fascism.

In a global sense, both American political parties are of the right. Democrats and Republicans since World War II have universally been pro-business, pro-trade, pro-markets, and anti-Communist. Democrats and Republicans have both supported right-wing, anti-communist governments throughout the world, ordinarily at the expense of democracy, free speech, and a free press.

— FDR sponsored the fascist Samoza governments in Nicaragua (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somoza).
— FDR supported the fascist Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
— Truman sponsored right-wing military governments in Greece and Turkey.
— Eisenhower replaced a democratic government in Guatemala (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_Guatemalan_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat) with a military dictatorship.
— Eisenhower secured US control of Iran via The Shah of Iran (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Reza_Pahlavi), and beat back Soviet interference in the Middle East.
— Kennedy and Johnson both fought communists in Vietnam.
— Nixon replaced a democratic government in Chile with the fascist Pinochet.
— Nixon supported "]Indonesia's campaign of political genocide ([URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suharto#Political_purges).
— Ford continued support for Indonesia's Suharto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suharto), and his brutal conquest of East Timor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_invasion_of_East_Timor).
— Carter talked a good human rights game but, continued support for right-wing movements throughout the Western Hemisphere.
— Reagan was friend to Ferdinand Marcos in the Phillipines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Marcos).
— Reagan backed the white apartheid government of South Africa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Party_%28South_Africa%29).

This just scratches the surface. All of these were right wing governments, usually military, with pro-US, anti-communist policies supported by the bipartisan American political consensus, Democrat and Republican.

I realize that constructing an alternate reality (http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page) is an important conservative project, but Jonah won't be able to rewrite history. Sure: For people living in the fantasy land that exists between Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, Jonah's book will make perfect sense. But to the rest of the world, Jonah's book is as laughable as it is irrelevant.

It should go without saying, but I fear it is necessary to be explicit about the fact that none of this exonerates the left of responsibility for terrible despotic excesses in the 20th century. The left gave us Castro, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Tiananmen Square.

Hmmm.... Maybe I should write a book claiming that these men were really conservative Republicans.



My own opinion would be that fascism (and communism for what it's worth) are off the traditional left-right spectrum.
But they aren't. They are at the extreme left and right points. They have some things in common, such as a lack of freedom, but there are important reasons why communism is on the left and fascism is on the right.

Would you buy it if I wrote a book called "Conservative Communism"? Of course you wouldn't, because we're not allowed to rewrite the history of political theory just because we feel like insulting our political opponents. Well, except for Goldberg.




For God's sakes, FDR put American citizens in concentration camps.
Sure, true enough: But in the last 50 years, who has defended that practice? American conservatives. And who condemns it? Liberals.

How about Michelle Malkin? Where does she stand on FDR's incarceration? She wrote a book called "In Defense of Internment," which was widely embraced on the right. Why do I suspect that with a little Googling I could find Jonah Goldberg endorsing Malkin's fascist book?

I suppose according to Goldberg, Michelle Malkin and all the conservatives who endorsed her book are actually liberals.



The eugenics issue and Wilson's suppression of free speech as other ugly versions thereof.
Again, this whole positioning of Woodrow Wilson as a liberal is more historical revisionism. I first heard Woodrow Wilson described as a right-wing fascist, racist, and war-monger in a 7th grade history class. Sure, his League of Nations has a certain appeal to liberals, but the rest of his agenda has always been attacked by the left. It was the real left, not Jonah's imagined left, that was incarcerated under Wilson's oppressive presidency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_V._Debs#Opposition_to_World_War_I). It was the real left that opposed his racism, and his subjugation of Haiti.

brucds
01-22-2008, 03:59 AM
"It is odd that Liberals who would tell you how tolerant and compassionate they are can be reduced to vitriolic fury by Jonah Goldberg."

I'm only tolerant and compassionate toward folks who deserve/need it. I hate weasels and fucktards like Goldberg - unabashedly and unashamedly. The Rightwing has taught me the virtue of intolerance toward one's enemies. This puerile piece of crap is beneath contempt.

And don't stereotype liberals as patsies who are too "tolerant" to take their own side of an argument. Those days are over...

Wonderment
01-22-2008, 04:09 AM
I am looking forward to his reaction to a McCain Huckabee GOP ticket.

Aaaargh! The worst of all possible worlds: perpetual warhawkery meets crackpot religion.

Oh, wait, we already had 8 years of that one-two punch.

Wonderment
01-22-2008, 04:21 AM
An excellent post, Twin!

I only have one quibble:

It should go without saying, but I fear it is necessary to be explicit about the fact that none of this exonerates the left of responsibility for terrible despotic excesses in the 20th century. The left gave us Castro, Stalin, Pol Pot, Tiananmen Square, and Hugo Chavez.

Hugo Chávez does not merit inclusion on the list of terrible despots. He's been elected by large majorities in fair elections on three occasions. He may be a demagogue and even a Fidel wannabe, but he doesn't belong on the Stalin and Pol Pot list, or even the George W. Bush list.

Bush was elected in 2000 in a shadier, less democratic process than Venezuela's, and Chávez is not guilty of anything remotely resembling the human rights crimes and civil rights violations of the Bush administration.

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 04:26 AM
Jonah Goldberg collects his welfare (http://firedoglake.blogspot.com/2005/12/wingnut-welfare.html) checks (http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/4876.html) from The National Review magazine.

Augusto Pinochet was a right-wing dictator, hand-picked by the United States to overthrow Chile's democratically elected government, and widely considered a fascist.

How did The National Review react to the death of Pinochet?

Let's see:

Anthony Daniels
The reason Augusto Pinochet was universally hated by leftists and many academics worldwide was not because he was so brutal or killed so many people... That a hick general from a humble background should so obviously have done much more for his country than a suave, educated, aristocratic Marxist was a terrible blow to the self-esteem of the Left in every Western country.

Roger W. Fontaine
Augusto Pinochet enjoys a reputation outside of Chile that is the reverse of the adage about a prophet in his own country. Enlightened opinion elsewhere, he is loathed: the butcher of human rights; a reactionary speed bump delaying social progress in Chile and Latin America for a generation.

in Chile, it’s a bit different. ... Pinochet will also be remembered as leaving the country better off than he found it. It was Pinochet who obeyed his own electorate by stepping down from power after he lost a national referendum. And unlike his fellow Latin American generals, he let market-oriented civilians lay the basis for Chile’s economy — the most productive in the region.

[B]Mario Loyola
Pinochet's coup d'etat and the murder of Salvador Allende along with 3,000 or more suspected opposition members, were perhaps the worst thing that has ever happened to Chile, just as the Cuban Revolution was the worst thing that ever happened to Cuba.

But there is one vital difference between the two. Once he consolidated power, Pinochet worked hard to protect the bases of a modern progressive democracy. ... The crimes of Pinochet may be unpardonable. But at least he tried to redeem them.

Ion Mihai Pacepa
In my other life, as a Communist general, I lived under two tyrants who killed and jailed over one million people. Pinnochet saved Chile from becoming another Communist hell. God bless him for that, and may he be forgiven for his later aberrations. Not only in Chile does power corrupt.

Otto J. Reich
Augusto Pinochet was a tragic figure. Instead of being remembered for saving Chilean democracy from a communist takeover, and starting the country on the longest-lasting economic expansion in Latin America, which he did, he will be remembered mostly for carrying out a brutal campaign of human-rights abuses.

Contrary to revisionist history and mainstream media myths, Pinochet’s military coup against President Salvador Allende was supported by a majority of Chileans, two-thirds of whom had voted against Allende in the 1970 election. The three-way electoral tie had been decided by the Chilean Congress in favor of Allende. By 1973, however, Chileans were demonstrating in the streets against shortages, inflation and unemployment brought about by Allende’s failed socialist policies.



Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NDQxNTJlM2M4OTRhOGJhNTMzNTkyNDQ2YmYzMTU3ZTU=

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 04:37 AM
From Jonah's very own NRO:


Of All the Dictators
Why the Left singles out Pinochet.

An NRO Flashback

Editor’s note: This piece by Anthony Daniels appeared in the February 7, 2000, issue of National Review.

[On Pinochet's arrest in England (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinochet#Arrest_and_trial) for his history of human rights abuses.]

Good liberals, who normally decried as barbaric the principle of punishment, and saw in criminals only the victims of society, bayed for the general’s blood in advance of any judicial proceedings. There were no legalistic scruples about the proof required of Pinochet’s personal responsibility for what occurred during his regime.
...
But there is a further puzzle in the whole affair: Why is Pinochet so much the most hated (at least by intellectuals) of all dictators of the second half of the 20th century? Why should he alone have suffered the humiliating fate of arrest and detention in a foreign country, at the behest of yet another foreign country? After all, in the bestiary of the past century, he was but a minor and insignificant creature, even if (as is unlikely) he were personally responsible for every cruelty committed in Chile while he was dictator.
...
For every liberal intellectual who froths at the mention of his name, how many are there who have even heard of Lucas Garcia of Guatemala, for example?
...
Alone of the dictators, Pinochet was stunningly successful. He found his country an economic disaster and left it a beacon whose light shone well beyond the confines of Latin America. It drew students of success from all over the world. It was more prosperous than it had been in all its previous existence.
...
A mere army general — of the kind usually contemptuously referred to as a gorilla (as distinct from the much-admired guerrilla) — had achieved in a few years what untold numbers of liberal intellectuals had been unable to achieve anywhere in the world over much longer periods.

This was a terrible wound to the liberal intellectuals’ self-regard. If they weren’t needed for Third World solidarity committees, what were they needed for? Indeed, Pinochet’s regime had proved not only that such intellectuals had no providential role to play in the salvation of Third World countries — such as they expected to play while Allende ruled Chile — but that they represented an obstacle to be overcome on the path to economic development. Pinochet was thus an existential reproach to them.
...
It was his achievements, not his faults, that were so hated.
...
None of this applies, of course, to Chileans who hate Pinochet because a relative, friend, or acquaintance was tortured or disappeared during his rule. It surely takes little imagination to see why they would hate him.


Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=MmE2YWViMDA3ZjU4Mzk2NDQ5M2FkMDU3ZTg1NmI5YWQ=

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 04:42 AM
Monday, December 11, 2006

Pinochet V. Castro [Jonah Goldberg]

I have to finish a piece for the mag and prepare for a Liberty Fund conference, so I can't Cornerize (Cornify?) as much as I'd like. But, as I think I'm going to write a column about Pinochet tomorrow, I thought I'd just throw one quick point out there. Hypocrisy-watching is going to be a full-time job in the months to come. Right now, the Pinochet-hating left is talking about the manifest evil of the man in purely idealistic and universal terms. In other words, because it is always wrong to censor, to oppress, to torture etc. Pinochet must be condemned in absolute and unqeuivocal terms. Just listen to the Human Rights crowd for five minutes and you'll hear how there can be no excuse for the things Pinochet did. Meanwhile, conservatives sympathetic to Pinochet (and I basically count myself among them) are making excuses to one extent or another for Pinochet because he stopped the spread of Communism in his country and allowed it to prosper. There's a good and rich argument to be had here.

But...you know what? Fidel Castro is going to die sooner rather than later. And when that happens, you're going to hear crickets chirping in certain quarters of the left before you hear similar denunciations of Castro, who remains more of a tyrant than Pinochet was. And, you can be sure, conservatives will suddenly sound universal and idealistic in their condemnations of human rights abuses under Fidel.

There are many important caveats and exceptions to be made here, and I don't have the time for any of them. So I will skip to the end and simply note that working with S.O.B.'s is fundamental to foreign policy. It was yesterday, is now, and will be tomorrow and ever after. The relevant moral question will always be, Why? Why tolerate this S.O.B. and condemn that one? To what end? Why give X room to manuever, a free pass, etc. when you're trying to depose and contain Y? I think in the grand debate we can characterize as Pinochet V. Castro, Pinochet wins in a cake walk, as the late Jeane Kirkpatrick would surely agree. Indeed, what fascinates me is that so many people can disagree.

Oh: Here's NRO's useful symposium on the death of Pinochet.

12/11 09:57 AM



Amazing the slack the doughy pantload is willing to cut himself, isn't it?

Source: http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NjJjZjEyOGU0YmM1ZTE4MDU1MGJlYzU5OGU2ZGQyZTg=

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 04:48 AM
Marx, Engels, Lenin and Pinochet
An NRO Flashback

Editor’s note: This piece by William F. Buckley Jr. appeared in the February 17, 1978, issue of National Review.

A most learned and cosmopolitan friend was recently in Chile and spent an hour with General Pinochet after devoting the previous fortnight to instructing himself on the general state of affairs in the two thousand mile long country . My friend, who is an ideological sophisticate with a wry sense of humor, made a proposal to General Pinochet designed to dispose of most of his p/r problems. “Why don’t you declare yourself a socialist?” Pinochet gasped . “No no. Just declare yourself a socialist. Go ahead and do everything else exactly the way you’re doing it.” General Pinochet presumably thought of calling in the men in the white suits, but satisfied himself merely to change the subject.

Really, it was a brilliant insight. Let us fantasize for a moment.

General Pinochet announces in a major speech that he is a socialist. He gives a lot of speeches about socialism and about bad housing, bad health, and unemployment. He joins the Socialist International and instructs his ambassadors in Sweden, West Germany, and France to arrive suddenly at the doorsteps of Olaf Palme, Willy Brant, and Francois Mitterrand, kiss them on both cheeks the minute they get into the door, pull out the highest Chilean decoration, and drape it about their necks.

...


Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=Yzc0ZGUyYTg2M2EzYjk2YWY3ZmI3OTNlNTQzZTIxNjk=

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 05:04 AM
Comments in italics are mine -- TwinSwords



Where Pinochet Falls
Comparing bad guys.

By John O’Sullivan

General Augusto Pinochet, who died on Sunday, was the most successful dictator of the 20th century — and also one of the most vilified. How do we explain the discrepancy?

Dictators are supposedly judged by two tests. How many people did they kill? And did they bring prosperity to their people? These two tests hang together because Marxists believed that their various ideological despotisms (in Cuba, in China, in the USSR) would eventually midwife a new utopia. Such a triumph would justify their mass murders retrospectively.

So how did individual dictators fare?

...

If successful economic transformation could justify political mass murder — the Marxist test, remember — then Pinochet would be celebrated without reserve as the savior of his country (with Franco as a strong runner-up.)

[Note he mentions the another hero of the right, the fascist Francisco Franco (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Franco).

Pinochet’s coup was in reality a short civil war. In 1973 Chile’s parliament and supreme court, backed by public opinion, called for military intervention to overthrow President Salvador Allende for his flagrant abuse of the Constitution.

[See, Allende deserved to be murdered in a coup overthrowing his democratically-elected government -- according to National Review.]

Pinochet first defeated Marxism and then disproved it — that explains better than anything his status as the world’s worst dictator even though it is at variance with so many other facts.

[Unreal.]


Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZThkMDlkZDUzNTExYmEzMWZmMTkzY2E2ZThkYjAwNGU=

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 05:09 AM
Iraq Needs a Pinochet
The general was no saint, but he’s a better model to follow than Castro.
December 15, 2006 12:00 AM

By Jonah Goldberg

I think all intelligent, patriotic, and informed people can agree: It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. In fact, an Iraqi Pinochet would be even better than an Iraqi Castro.

...

General Pinochet seized a country that was coming apart at the seams. He too clamped down on civil liberties and the press. He too dispatched souls. Chile’s official commission investigating his dictatorship found that Pinochet had 3,197 bodies in his column; 87 percent of them died in the two-week mini-civil war that attended his coup. Many more were tortured or forced to flee the country.

But on the plus side, Pinochet’s abuses helped create a civil society. Once the initial bloodshed subsided, Chile was no prison. Pinochet built up democratic institutions and infrastructure. And by implementing free-market reforms, he lifted the Chilean people out of poverty. In 1988, he held a referendum and stepped down when the people voted him out. Yes, he feathered his nest from the treasury and took measures to protect himself from his enemies. His list of sins—both venal and moral—is long. But today Chile is a thriving, healthy democracy. Its economy is the envy of Latin America, and its literacy and infant mortality rates are impressive.

I ask you: Which model do you think the average Iraqi would prefer? Which model, if implemented, would result in future generations calling Iraq a success? An Iraqi Pinochet would provide order and put the country on the path toward liberalism, democracy, and the rule of law.



Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NDVmMmVmMGVhMzJhNmE4YzFkYmYyMzdkYmJhYzFkNTY=

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 05:11 AM
An excellent post, Twin!

I only have one quibble:



Hugo Chávez does not merit inclusion on the list of terrible despots. He's been elected by large majorities in fair elections on three occasions. He may be a demagogue and even a Fidel wannabe, but he doesn't belong on the Stalin and Pol Pot list, or even the George W. Bush list.

Bush was elected in 2000 in a shadier, less democratic process than Venezuela's, and Chávez is not guilty of anything remotely resembling the human rights crimes and civil rights violations of the Bush administration.

You're absolutely right. Chavez has an authoritarian bent, but he (for example) respected the recent elections in his country, despite the promise of every right-wing blowhard that he was already a dictator, sure to rig the outcome of the election and impose his will by force.

I will remove his name.

Thanks for catching that. I included him on the basis of his authoritarian streak, but you are absolutely right it doesn't make sense in the context of the preceeding sentences.

bjkeefe
01-22-2008, 05:26 AM
Jonah Goldberg:

1. It all depends on what your definition of fascism is.
2. This definition is subject to change as needed.
3. The irony of me citing Orwell went completely over my head.
4. Today's progressives are bad! They must be judged only in terms of things that happened fifty or a hundred years ago! Some guy last century who called himself a Progressive liked eugenics, therefore, Hillary Clinton is a fascist! When Obama talks about unity, he really means we have to goosestep!
5. Nobody knows anything about history except me!!
6. Conservatives are great!! They have no history that I'm aware of!!
7. I am not a Republican ..., but (having just remembered where my paychecks come from) let me repeat this talking point: Republicans voted more for Civil Rights than Democrats!!!
8. What exclamation points?!!!! I always get progressively more hysterical in interviews!!!! (Oops, I just called myself progressive.) Liberals are fascists!!!!! (Did I mention I'm not calling all liberals fascists?)

Most conservative commenters in this thread:

1. Jonah Goldberg is great!
2. None of us have read his book, but we don't need to! Jonah is right! About everything!
3. Liberals are intolerant!
4. We still think saying #3 works!

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 05:30 AM
It's interesting that as recently as a year ago, Jonah was still talking in terms of the normal understanding of left vs. right forms of totalitarianism. As much as anything else, this exposes the fraudulent nature of his book. The National Review archives by itself refutes Jonah's attempt to redefine fascism as a liberal phenomenon, as the previous posts show.

Notice in the post below from December, 2006, Jonah still retains a clear grasp of the distinction between left- and right-wing forms of totalitarianism. In continuing his explanation of his preference for right-wing dictators (Pinochet) over left-wing dictators (Castro):


"Egalitarianism has resulted in many leftist— and some liberal — intellectuals making apologies for leftwing totalitarians on the grounds that at least everyone is impoverished equally (even though this is never really the case; Communist Party members live much better in Communist countries than working stiffs). More importantly, one of the core arguments for tolerating free market-but-autocratic regimes is that eventually the rising middle class they create demands more and more democracy and liberalism. Only people who think capitalism is by its nature oppressive can feel comfortable saying that an increasingly capitalistic autocratic regime is not better than a totalitarian collectivist one. Chile is now a free society."



Source: http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NGQyYTE2ZjFkMzkzMDI2NmQzNTcxNGFiOWU5Y2NjYTg=

Jonah's book isn't even consistent with The National Review archives, much less any conventional understanding of fascism.

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 05:39 AM
Italicized text is by me. -- TwinSwords

Again: If fascism is a left-wing phenomenon, how could this article (http://www.fiu.edu/~yaf/buckleypinochet.html) ever have been written? And why would Jonah Goldberg endorse it (he does so here (http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NDk0M2FhNGM0YTlkNTRhNWJmYmUxZDMwNTJlYWE5ZDc=)).



Pinochet? Why him?
By William Buckley

Published Oct. 20, 1998

As a technical matter, there is a lot that is agreeable about arresting a criminal wherever he runs out of cover and making him answer for his crimes. It was widely thought pointless to proceed with the investigations by the World Court given the unlikeliness that the defendants would ever appear before a tribunal, let alone stand by a gibbet. Peter Galbraith, formerly U.S. ambassador to Croatia, remarked a year ago that Slobodan Milosevic is distinctly aware of the impediments attached to his situation. He can't leave the country; and even within his own country he needs to take special care because bounty hunters, whether moved by money or blood passion, might swoop down on him, as happened to Adolf Eichmann, and whisk him off to The Hague.

But the General Pinochet business really burns us conservatives up. The reason being that it is, above all things, an act of ideological malice.


See that? Right there, Buckley takes ideological ownership of fascism. He considers Pinochet his ideological ally. And Goldberg links to this article saying that he agrees with Buckley. Jonah's book isn't even consistent with stuff he was writing one year ago.

Source: http://www.fiu.edu/~yaf/buckleypinochet.html

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 05:46 AM
April 30, 2002, 8:45 a.m.
Musharraf Deserves Our Vote
Our kind of despot.

By Dinesh D’Souza

General Pervez Musharraf is running for election today in Pakistan. True, he is the only candidate on the ballot. True, the only options are for Pakistanis to vote for him or against him. True, there are many who have valid criticisms of his leadership. Even so, we should hope that Musharraf wins and wins big. For all his flaws, the dictator deserves our vote.

To some, a recommendation that the United States support a man who came to power by coup and rules without democratic accountability will seem like the height of cynicism and hypocrisy. Recently some 50,000 protesters gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest America's role in the world. They accused the Bush administration of invoking the high ideals of democracy and human rights while supporting dictators who happen to be pro-American.

What could be a better example of this than American support for Musharraf? Indeed the critics are right to point out that America props up several despotic regimes in the Middle East, such as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and the royal family in Saudi Arabia.

Nor is this charge of "unclean hands" a new one. America has faced harsh criticism for its past support of pro-American dictators like Somoza in Nicaragua, Pinochet in Chile, Marcos in the Philippines, and the Shah of Iran.

If the Bush administration is to win sustained support for its foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, it must meet these criticisms and convince the American people that its support for despotic regimes like that of Musharraf is the right one. So how can these American policies be defended?

Let's begin with longstanding U.S. backing for Latin American, Asian, and Middle Eastern dictators like Somoza, Marcos, Pinochet, and the Shah.

...


Source: http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-dsouza043002.asp

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 05:50 AM
BRITISH GET IT RIGHT

The real good news in the paper today is that it looks like General Pinochet will be let go. Britain's High Court ruled that Britain's venerable common law precludes Pinochet's arrest. The decision is being appealed to the House of Lords, but most analysts predict they'll get it right too. The arrest of Pinochet was ill-conceived and set a dangerous precedent. If we want to start getting serious about exploring the crimes of former regimes, let's do it seriously. Egon Krenz, Mikhail Gorbachev, call your offices. Pinochet's arrest was a step in the wrong direction.



Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=M2RkYWRkM2Q2MmI4ZjIyY2U5MTE1YzRjYTQ4YTczYTg=

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 05:53 AM
A similar story can be told of General Augusto Pinochet, a ruthless man who saved his country from a worse fate, and who voluntarily restored democracy when the country was ready for it. Indeed, Pinochet saved democracy from itself. The man he deposed (and possibly killed) — the socialist Chilean president Salvador Allende — won the election with 36.2 percent of the ballots, because the 62 percent of the electorate that was anti-socialist was split. Allende's failed leadership — egged on by Soviet chicanery — was rapidly leading the nation to civil war and economic oblivion. Pinochet stepped in and saved Chile, killing several thousand people in the process. He is now an internationally recognized criminal, a fact applauded by people who think that international recognition is the best, if not the only, kind of recognition. (The New York Times, needless to say, is delighted.)

Someone who failed to save his country was the former Shah of Iran. Long one of the greatest bogeymen of the pro-Soviet but anti-CIA Left, the Shah was an unpleasant guy. So was his father. They killed people. They uprooted peasants and killed a few, but in hindsight not enough, opponents. But they also modernized Iran, along many of the lines of Ataturk in Turkey. American liberals despised the Shah because he wasn't a democrat and he was pro-American. If you want to despise someone for that, that's your prerogative. But it's an awfully dumb thing to act upon when the only available replacement is the Ayatollah Khomeini.


Source: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NmY4MzgzMmQzYWUyMDJlYTc4MmRlNThiZWMxMzAyOTM=

Tim O
01-22-2008, 06:57 AM
Bravo Twin Swords and Bjkeefe!

I knew Jonah was a twisted, angry, petulant child grownup to be a self-important, angry, twisted, petulant child but it always helps to know the depths of his disease.

Luci Goldberg can be proud, you know in a sick right wing world hating sort of way.

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 10:47 AM
Did Jonah write his book? Have you noticed that Goldberg repeatedly refers to the authors of the book as "we"?

For example, explaining the placement of the Social Gospel content, he says, "and we just couldn't figure out where to put it in the book. (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8244?in=00:09:20&out=00:09:30)"

A bit later he says, "and we wanted to tell a story in each of the first four chapters. (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8244?in=00:10:10&out=00:10:16)"

Later still, he says, "at one point we had a whole chapter (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8244?in=00:10:55&out=00:11:11) just on the religiosity of the various, sort of, totalitarian orietations, and we — it just didn't work as a standalone chapter."

I suppose he could be referring to his editors, but still, this is a strange degree of credit-sharing and help he apparently had. I've long suspected, especially as the book was repeatedly delayed and Jonah showed great reluctance to put effort into finishing the project, that some script doctors would be brought in to rescue the effort. I have to wonder if they actually wrote it for him, and if all he had to do was read it a once or twice to memorize the outline and a couple of the talking points.* You know, enough to pass it off as his own work in some interviews. Apparently he embarrassingly forgot why Mussoline was a fascist (http://scalzi.com/whatever/?p=300) during a recent talk to the Heritage Foundation.



*Bran muffins are militaristic, elementary school is a concentration camp, etc.

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 10:58 AM
I'm wondering a couple of things. Can anyone help?

(1) Goldberg said that H.G. Wells was "enormously influential" on the left, and "arguably the most important intellectual" on the left in the English speaking world during the first 1/3rd of the 20th Century. Wuh? What kind of wild claim is that? Is there any evidence of this at all? Or did Jonah pull this out of his pantload?

(2) HG Wells coined the term "liberal fascism" to rebrand progressivism. Did HG Wells even use the term more than a single time in one speech? If not, just how seriously was Wells trying to establish this term as the new brand name for progressivism?

(3) Does anyone have the full text of the actual Oxford speech? Or are we just supposed to trust that Goldberg is characterizing it honestly?

bjkeefe
01-22-2008, 11:06 AM
Note also that Jonah had trouble even stating (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8244?in=00:01:07&out=00:01:21) the subtitle of "his own" book.

But I do think the "we" referred mostly to himself and his principle hand-holder, Adam "Nepotism is a Good Thing" Bellow. With all the wingnut welfare out there, it's hard to believe anyone would be so hard up for cash that he'd ghostwrite Jonah's book for him.

Bloggin' Noggin
01-22-2008, 11:11 AM
Yeah, I noticed that "we" too. I made the assumption that he was talking about himself and Adam Bellow (his editor), but it did strike me as curious even then. The best interpretation is probably that Jonah wrote a lot of unconnected ramblings and Bellow helped him actually turn it into something that looked like a book. I wish Will had asked him about that 'we' -- but, as I read his reactions, he was rather embarrassed for Jonah and couldn't really bring himself to embarrass Jonah any further.
Perhaps it is just the royal "we".
(That reminds me of Mark Twain's remark that the only people entitled to use the editorial 'we' are kings, editors and people with tapeworms.)

bjkeefe
01-22-2008, 11:23 AM
BN:

Always loved that Twain line.

Did you think Will was embarrassed? I could see that, I suppose, but while watching, I read him as having made a conscious decision to be unfailingly polite, and to treat Jonah as though the book were really something serious. I'm not sure why he would have made this decision, but maybe he felt like it was something new to try. I haven't seen any other Jonah interviews except the one he suffered through on The Daily Show, but I imagine most interviews Jonah has done have either been mocking or softball. Maybe Will is trying to brand himself as a third-way libertarian.

Another possibility is that Will's organization (Cato) tends to publish a lot of wacky stuff themselves. Maybe he was trying to build a little bridge of mutual respect with NRO, where Jonah is the online editor, IIRC.

Wolfgangus
01-22-2008, 11:49 AM
In academics it is common practice in papers and books to use the royal "we", even if there is only one author. Jonah Goldberg is an idiot, but perhaps he picked up this affectation from some professor somewhere.

Contrary to whatever Mark Twain thought, I think the royal "we" is used in academics not to put on airs or sound pompous, but as a way of avoiding that. It sounds better to write "We observe a deterioration in the fit" than to say "I observe a deterioration in the fit", it sounds better to say "We found a unification of these equations" than to say "I found a unification of these equations", it sounds better to say "Our earlier result eliminates the need for this process" than to say "My earlier result eliminates the need for this process".

The royal plural makes it sound like you are being guided through the paper by a colleague, the singular sounds like "Look how great I am!"

Some writers strive to minimize actor-pronouns altogether, instead of "We observe" they say "It can be observed", Instead of "We found a unification of these equations" They say "These equations are unified by ...". Equations or procedures can be referred to by name or number, so we say "The result obtained in 1.17 eliminates the need for this process". It feels weird to write without any pronouns referring to actors, but one gets used to it. (Or should I say, in actor-less form, "Writing without actors may seem strange, but does become easier with time.") I wonder if there is a formal name for this style? Any English majors out there?

Bloggin' Noggin
01-22-2008, 12:04 PM
Well, all I can be sure of is that he seemed rather embarrassed not to be able to say anything more than "this is not a completely unserious book -- it raises many interesting issues...."
He has been quite capable of raising rather difficult questions for those authors he respects -- e.g., he raised excellent questions for Bryan Caplan in a fairly direct way (e.g., aren't there a lot of other "experts" besides economists that you wouldn't like to give the power to veto democratic legislation?)
These two facts together make me suspect that his tendency not to put his objections in their most challenging form was a result of embarrassment.

Will rather dismisses his (undiscussed) objection to Jonah's categories as merely a semantic issue. But Jonah's thesis (insofar as there is one) seems to rest rather heavily on a highly implausible and tendentious definition. His thesis looks interesting -- even startling -- only because of (a) these upside down definitions and (b) his unwillingness to apply these definitions fairly to his own "side" and to the left. It isn't Will's criticism that's "mere semantics" -- it's Jonah's thesis. But that seems like just too damning a criticism to bring up.
(Of course, Jonah also ran down the clock a lot, but Will let him do so.)

I don't know, his whole manner seemed embarrassed.
Jonah at one point admits that Will is smarter than he is -- that he's aware of that is the one of the best things I can say about Jonah.

arriviste
01-22-2008, 12:05 PM
The idea that Jonah's repeated use of "we" reveals some sort of ghostwriting conspiracy is just paranoid. I work in a publishing house, and have published a book myself, and no matter how self-driven an author might be, the process of getting from an idea to a completed book requires input from many - sometimes dozens - of people. So... the fact that he is willing to acknowledge this is, what, a flaw?

Go back to your pretend planet.

Bloggin' Noggin
01-22-2008, 12:11 PM
I think the impersonal style is a scientific affectation, which can surely only have bad effects. If you mean "I observed" or "we observed", then why should one pretend that one is only speculating that something or other can be observed.
It's intention is to produce an "objective" sound, but of course, objectivity is achieved in the design of the experiment and one's use of statistics etc. -- one's style does not make the work any more or less objective. And by distorting what one actually means to say, the impersonal style tends to decrease clarity.

David_PA
01-22-2008, 12:59 PM
Jonah Goldberg is intellectually-challenged. He thinks that by dropping a lot of names he can get around a sensible historically-sound thesis. I am not leaving this interview with a positive image of his wit.

That's what I came away thinking too.

Regarding Will's going easy on Jonah, I was thinking the same thing until about three-quarters of the way through the diavlog. Then, Will said [paraphrasing]:

"Ok, let's accept that there are some fascistic roots to liberalism -- that Wilson was fairly significantly in the 'change people to the will of the state view' camp and that Roosevelt's CCC wanted to mold those who served to the will of the 'good' state. But [Will speaking still] ... even accepting these early fascistic roots and your definition of fascism Jonah, liberalism has gone through so many iterations since then and has embraced individual liberty along the way ... and given the left-right amalgam of politics today that has leftists more right than even Nixon on economics ... the thread tying liberalism to fascism is so watered down and broken-lined ... that it doesn't make any sense to talk about regarding today's politics.

He then added, in keeping with being nice:

"However, the historical tracing you did was very worthwhile work".

Seems like a pretty clear case of 'daming with faint praise' to me. And, the proof of Jonah's weak mindedness is that he didn't even notice the total put-down of his work. He lapped up Will's niceness - missing the essence of what he said - lulled into a milk-fed sleepiness, like a little kitten.

Wolfgangus
01-22-2008, 01:03 PM
I don't care for the completely impersonal style, but as somebody that reads a lot of academic papers, I think I do prefer the plural instead of the singular. I know that psychologically it shouldn't make a difference, but I like the mindless consistency of it! A majority of papers are written with co-authors so the plural is necessary, and if I do read something written in first person singular (like the paper of a student that doesn't know better) I find it jarring. To my ear, the plural sounds more collaborative and less assertive. I know how to write in the completely impersonal style, but I only tend to use it to break up a long monotony of "we"s; for example when describing a fairly lengthy procedure or process. E.g, "we do A, we do B, we apply C, we wait for D, we compute E, F, G and we make a decision..."

Some such procedures are better explicated without an actor taking part.

bjkeefe
01-22-2008, 01:03 PM
Wolf:

I wonder if there is a formal name for this style? Any English majors out there?

I am not an English major, but isn't that journalese just the passive voice? Maybe there is a more specific name for this writing style in which all pronouns are suppressed; if not, there should be. The passive impersonal, maybe?

I'm usually okay with "we" in scientific papers, because those are almost always the output of a team effort. I can accept this formulation for other fields, as well -- as arriviste points out, publishing a book is invariably a team effort, too. Certainly, the Acknowledgments page is the fastest growing section of the publishing industry, even for trash thrillers.

I do get a little bothered by the overuse of "we" when the author is defending a thesis, though. It rings a little bit like an unwillingness to take responsibility. Not quite as bad as William Schneider's (http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0703/14/acd.01.html) wonderful past exonerative (e.g., "mistakes were made), but getting there.

bjkeefe
01-22-2008, 01:05 PM
David:

I think you nailed it there. Good observation, and very well stated.

bjkeefe
01-22-2008, 01:08 PM
arriviste:

You make a good point.

However, I think I should introduce you to another strange concept (http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3A&q=joke), apparently unique to my planet.

jmcnulty
01-22-2008, 01:14 PM
Reading the comments here, I have to conclude that many on the Left inhabit an alternative universe, a bizarro world where any deviation on the Right is seen as evidence that someone "did not get the memo" from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Yes, National Review praised Pinochet upon his death, a fact that seems, to many on the Left, to be scandalous. Yes, he was an authoritarian (not a totalitarian) responsible over many years for the death of scores, maybe hundreds. I am glad that I did not live under his rule (or under the rule of Chavez today, for that matter). But how does he compare in body count with Castro? In 1950, Cuba had the highest income in the Caribbean. Where does it rank now?

Pinochet left behind a prosperous, Democratic Chile, just as Franco left behind a prosperous, Democratic Spain. What king of undemocratic, ranshackle country will Castro leave behind? Will The Nation scandalize everyone by praising Castro upon his death?

I realize that Leftists enjoy a good time bashing Jonah Goldberg and Ann Counter (insert obligatory Fox News slam here), but I get tired of people bashing a book that has not been read (and for reasons of politcal hygiene, will never be read) or has been only thumbed through at Barnes & Noble. I do not know if his book is any good or not. I will have to read it first. But perhaps it is easier to dismiss a book that challenges received wisdom by just dismissing not only the author, but the fact that he has a mother.

Is it time to abandon the idea that Leftists are somehow "free thinkers" who confront each question without prejudging it or "judging a book by its cover"? Your minds are sealed on most questions. You would rather remain in the echo chamber of the Left than to deal with these questions, which might allow a Rightist microbe to infiltrate the static ecology of your brains.

Goldberg's thesis is not completely new. I have known for 30 years that FDR's program had fascistic elements. It was a feature of the time. Fascism, before World War II and its horrors, was commonly seen as the "wave of the future." I also know that Woodrow Wilson locked up Communists, Anarchists, and pacificists during World War I. The idea, as Goldberg says, was to mobilize society, supposedlyfor the greater good of all.

This grew out of the Socialist and Progressive movements of the 19th Century. Why is it outrageous to note this? No one (not even Goldberg) is saying that Obama or Hillary are "fascists" (John Edwards, maybe, but he has nice hair). Elements in the Republican Party can also be traced to fascist ideas (Huckabee's social gospel, McCains extreme patriotism, as Will Wilkinson notes).

Maybe we should change the motto of The New York Times from "All the News That's Fit to Print" to "All the News That's Fit to Exist." Somehow, I think that would suit Leftists better.

All of this talk of thinkers and writers from the turn of the Century and their ideas and their effects on current ideology, most of which is subterranean, is interesting. If Goldberg has it wrong, say so. But do not reject the whole thing because it is something that you do not want to hear -- while feeling superior about your ideological immune system.

bjkeefe
01-22-2008, 01:23 PM
jm:

But do not reject the whole thing because it is something that you do not want to hear -- while feeling superior about your ideological immune system.

If we feel that our immune system is superior, then why are we afraid to

... allow a Rightist microbe to infiltrate the static ecology of your brains ...?

Your metaphors are as murky as the rest of your thought process.

jmcnulty
01-22-2008, 01:31 PM
Coming from an intellectual of your eminence, I know exactly how much that comment is worth. In the future, I will try always to use the approved metaphors.

David_PA
01-22-2008, 01:45 PM
JM:

Read my comment 8 posts up about what Will really was saying to Jonah: a stealth slam that Jonah never caught.

The right is reading way way too much into the early 20th-century historical connection between liberalism and fascism that Jonah has brought to light. Liberalism today is no more a statist ideology than conservatism is about limited government. The right always overlooks their heavy dependence on a huge state-run military that somehow doesn't count as being contrary to big government.

But, the main point is that liberalism's connection to fascism is very broken-lined and about 70 years removed from being a bond of any strength.

Trevor
01-22-2008, 01:55 PM
Reading the comments here, I have to conclude that many on the Left inhabit an alternative universe

This is certainly true of me. My tachyon flux array malfunctioned and now I am stuck in your timeline. I have noticed that in your culture a predicament similar to my own was explored at length (albeit with great technical elisions) by the television series Sliders.

Speaking of Bizarro worlds, let's recap:
Pinochet? "authoritarian (not totalitarian)"
Clinton, Swarthmore, and Whole Foods? totalitarian

The juxtaposition recalls fond memories of my youth, when I traveled with my governess to tour the Irony mines of Tegucigalpa.

bjkeefe
01-22-2008, 02:31 PM
Coming from an intellectual of your eminence, I know exactly how much that comment is worth. In the future, I will try always to use the approved metaphors.

Thank you.

Fellow Traveler
01-22-2008, 03:07 PM
Many of these posts are non-responsive insofar as Goldberg’s thesis is concerned. It simply won’t do to preemptively assail an author on the grounds that his taxonomy is unconventional or that he is engaged in word-games when said author has penned a 496-page book principally arguing that, 1) The conventional taxonomy errs, and 2) The error is more than semantic. Goldberg’s critics unwittingly affirm the necessity of his book.

harkin
01-22-2008, 03:17 PM
Keep up tgreat work, Jonah!

When you get anger and smear instead of substantiave response, you know you've got em with the truth.

jmcnulty
01-22-2008, 03:19 PM
You said: "[T]he main point is that liberalism's connection to fascism is very broken-lined and about 70 years removed from being a bond of any strength."

So if I understand this right we have gone from Jonah asseting the baseless smear that liberalism is connected historically with fascism to the position that he goes too far in what he is saying because any connection between liberalism and fascism is too attenuated to be significant.

That, in a limited sense, is progress.

Next, the position will be that while it is true that liberalism and fascism are connected, its really beside the point.

Then, it will be that while liberalism and fascism are connected historically, why did Jonah write this unnecessary book when everyone already knows this?

David_PA
01-22-2008, 03:31 PM
You said: "[T]he main point is that liberalism's connection to fascism is very broken-lined and about 70 years removed from being a bond of any strength."

So if I understand this right we have gone from Jonah asseting the baseless smear that liberalism is connected historically with fascism to the position that he goes too far in what he is saying because any connection between liberalism and fascism is too attenuated to be significant.

I never rejected the premise that liberalism early on had some connection to fascism - even though I'd never heard it before.

But, the connection is very thin now - and not significant.



Next, the position will be that while it is true that liberalism and fascism are connected, its really beside the point.

Then, it will be that while liberalism and fascism are connected historically, why did Jonah write this unnecessary book when everyone already knows this?

Staw-Man City. Some may be changing their positions re: Jonah's book, but I never have. So, attack my premise if you actually have an attack. Challenge, if you can, the premise the US liberalism's early-20th-century connection to fascism has little, if any, significance in today's politics.

Wonderment
01-22-2008, 04:15 PM
Did you think Will was embarrassed? I could see that, I suppose, but while watching, I read him as having made a conscious decision to be unfailingly polite, and to treat Jonah as though the book were really something serious. I'm not sure why he would have made this decision, but maybe he felt like it was something new to try. I haven't seen any other Jonah interviews except the one he suffered through on The Daily Show, ...

Jonah -- in a display of mindbending chutzpah -- devoted his most recent LA Times column (what in God's name is he doing in the LA Times?) to pimping his book, regugitating its crackpot bullet points and bashing Daly for the supposedly biased edit of his interview. I would cite the web address, but I'll spare you the nausea.

Trevor
01-22-2008, 04:23 PM
Perhaps that's the case if there's a consistent, compelling new taxonomy behind the book. The problem is, there doesn't seem to be one.

Goldberg adopts unconventional definitions of "fascist" and "totalitarian" in his book. He talks at great length about how his classifications of various figures, movements, and enthusiasm on the left now count as "fascist" or "totalitarian" under these new definitions. Fine. What he does not do, anywhere in the seventy-five minute interview, is explain why his definitions of fascist and totalitarian are better than the conventional understandings, either historically or analytically. All he has is a quote by H.G. Wells. I am unpersuaded that his definitions serve any purpose other than allowing him to call things he already doesn't like (e.g. Swarthmore, Whole Foods, and Hillary Clinton) "fascist" and "totalitarian."

Meanwhile, Goldberg happily admits that his book is motivated by a spirit of "I know you are but what am I." This only serves to reinforce my suspicion that the book is not a serious historical project, but merely a fairly commonplace attempt to hijack the negative connotations of "fascist" and "totalitarian" with argument-by-strange-definition.

Now if Goldberg produces a book titled "Liberal Fascism" with a Hitler-mustachioed smiley face on the cover, the presumption against him being a serious commentator, and in favor of vigorous and hearty mockery, is already fairly strong. When he has a seventy-five minute interview with a remarkably generous and charitable reviewer and fails to give any indication that he is in fact engaged in a serious endeavor and not deserving hearty mockery, well then it's a bit much to expect reasonable people, having already played along for seventy-five minutes, to have to actually shell out real money and read the tendentious tome before rendering judgment.

Wonderment
01-22-2008, 04:27 PM
Yes, National Review praised Pinochet upon his death, a fact that seems, to many on the Left, to be scandalous. Yes, he was an authoritarian (not a totalitarian) responsible over many years for the death of scores, maybe hundreds. I am glad that I did not live under his rule (or under the rule of Chavez today, for that matter). But how does he compare in body count with Castro? In 1950, Cuba had the highest income in the Caribbean. Where does it rank now?

Pinochet left behind a prosperous, Democratic Chile, just as Franco left behind a prosperous, Democratic Spain. What king of undemocratic, ranshackle country will Castro leave behind? Will The Nation scandalize everyone by praising Castro upon his death?

Pinochet and Franco were dictators in horrific reigns of terror, characterized by the murder and torture of countless innocent civilians.

I've lived in Spain. In fact, in the town I lived in I know -- as does everyone else -- exactly where Franco's death squads executed people.

People died for being "heretics" (i.e., agnostics), speaking their native language in public (Franco was the founding father of the American right's "English Only" movement, except his laws were "SPanish Only"), and for being gay.

I've also talked to several survivors of Pinochet's torture. Real fascism is not pretty. It's not something to be glossed over and forgiven and forgetten based on a string of economic indicators. The fact that the Goldberg/Coulter right-wing extremists can so glibly dismiss the horrors is a sign both of gross insensitivity and colossal hypocrisy.

Wonderment
01-22-2008, 04:49 PM
Some writers strive to minimize actor-pronouns altogether, instead of "We observe" they say "It can be observed", Instead of "We found a unification of these equations" They say "These equations are unified by ...". Equations or procedures can be referred to by name or number, so we say "The result obtained in 1.17 eliminates the need for this process". It feels weird to write without any pronouns referring to actors, but one gets used to it. (Or should I say, in actor-less form, "Writing without actors may seem strange, but does become easier with time.") I wonder if there is a formal name for this style? Any English majors out there?

Mistakes were made. (Quoth the Decider)

It's called passive voice. In English it's formed by the participle of the verb (made) and corresponding form of "to be."

You convert a sentence from active to passive, like "I made mistakes," by replacing the subject ("I") with the object ("mistakes"), and leaving the agent ambiguously implicit.

You can, of course, fill in by adding "by + agent": "Mistakes were made by the retarded commander-in-chief," but that's optional. :)

English has more formal and informal ways to making passive-voice-like constructions that generally diffuse agency, make agency ambiguous or show false modesty. The Royal We is one of them. Also, "One might argue God is dead", "People say Clinton is Machiavellian,", "They call that my best painting."

Every other language I know has analogous constructions: In Spanish the well-known sí se puede and se habla español are both passive voice.

Trevor
01-22-2008, 04:56 PM
In the glorious Objectivist future, we will use only the active voice. ;)

David_PA
01-22-2008, 04:58 PM
In the glorious Objectivist future, we will use only the active voice. ;)

Which "we" is this ;-)?

jmcnulty
01-22-2008, 05:06 PM
Reply to David_PA:

You said: "[T]he connection is very thin now - and not significant."

So on the one hand, you deny that there is ANY connection between fascism and modern liberalism. On the other, you dismiss the connection as real, but attentuated. Which is it?

Reply to Wonderment:

I do not dismiss anything for economic statistics. But you appear to lack any sense of proportion. Was Peter the Great good for Russia? Did Peter the Great ever imprison anyone? Did he leave behind a better Russia than he found? Is he to be villified because of instances of torture of political opponents?

Leltists have no problem with torture (the praise for Castro is proof of that), but only to Leftists (like Allende) being turtured or killed. Is anyone being tortured by Chavez today? Is the Jewish community being driven out of the country? Are you in the front ranks of anti-Chavista demonstrations?

Thugs are exused or their thuggery ignored by the Left when they "are on the right isde of history." Beatrice and Sydney Webb, leading British Socialists, went to Russia at the height of Stalin's thuggery and reported notoriously, "I have seen the future, and it works." Pete Seeger, troubadour to the Left, only recently (about 75 years too late) admitted that Stalin was no better than Hitler.

Now tell me again how I heard all this on Fox News or from Limbaugh (never heard him say it), Hannity (don't watch his show), O'Reilly (blowhard egotist). Buckley (retired), Coulter (did McCarthy say this?), or (gasp) Goldberg (idiot) himself.

The contagion is spreading. Ignoring it is not working.

Maybe when we get Hillarycare we can have some standard ideas imposed so conservatives, if they persist with these strange beliefs, can be hospitalized for treatment. But don't you dare tell me that liberalism is connected to fascism.

Meanwhile, tell me how the Patriot Act is being used to build secret camps for political dissidents, while Venezuela is a political paradise. Do you realize how unhinged many of these Leftist comments seem to anyone from the real world?

David_PA
01-22-2008, 05:15 PM
Reply to David_PA:

You said: "[T]he connection is very thin now - and not significant."

So on the one hand, you deny that there is ANY connection between fascism and modern liberalism. On the other, you dismiss the connection as real, but attentuated. Which is it?



Can you read, JM? I said there was an early-20th-century connection between fascism and liberalism [a liberal allowance to J. Goldberg], but that the connection is so faded as to be insignificant. There's no contradiction.

The problem is that *you* want the connection to be stronger that it is and can't defend that it isn't.

Trevor
01-22-2008, 05:26 PM
I have tapeworms.

Trevor
01-22-2008, 05:33 PM
Leltists have no problem with torture (the praise for Castro is proof of that) ... Beatrice and Sydney Webb, leading British Socialists, went to Russia at the height of Stalin's thuggery and reported notoriously, "I have seen the future, and it works." Pete Seeger, troubadour to the Left, only recently (about 75 years too late) admitted that Stalin was no better than Hitler.

McNulty, it is you that doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on who you're arguing against. "Leftists" as you describe them are two British Socialists and one folk singer. That's just not much of a coalition there.

Nobody praises Castro. Nobody says Venezuela is a workers' paradise. Nobody talks any more about a workers' revolution, or nationalizing the means of production. The only people who talk about socialized anything are angry conservatives.

It is not 1968 any more. I promise the dirty fucking hippies are all gone.

David_PA
01-22-2008, 05:34 PM
I have tapeworms.

He he ... good one!

Fellow Traveler
01-22-2008, 08:06 PM
Trevor - The validity of my point does not depend on the quality of Mr. Goldberg's case. Even if his arguments ultimately fail, direct engagement with the book will have been necessary to arrive at that conclusion, especially given that the case seems cumulative. I am at a loss to respond to your characterization of the interview as unserious. Goldberg’s answers were thoughtful, substantive and wholly congenial to his thesis. That you remain unpersuaded is not meaningful to me as your anonymous interlocutor. Only your ideas are of interest. (Going forward, you may want to edit your posts to avoid assertions that presume a gravity independent of your reasoning.)

Fellow Traveler
01-22-2008, 08:22 PM
Trevor - The validity of my point does not depend on the quality of Mr. Goldberg's case. Even if his arguments ultimately fail, direct engagement with the book will have been necessary to arrive at that conclusion, especially given that the case seems cumulative. I am at a loss to respond to your characterization of the interview as unserious. Goldberg’s answers were thoughtful, substantive and wholly congenial to his thesis. That you remain unpersuaded is not meaningful to me as your anonymous interlocutor. Only your ideas are of interest. (Going forward, you may want to edit your posts to avoid assertions that presume a gravity independent of your reasoning.)

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 08:30 PM
Many of these posts are non-responsive insofar as Goldberg’s thesis is concerned.
But some (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=69032#poststop) of the posts (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=69032#poststop) are responsive (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=69060#poststop) to Goldberg's thesis (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=68661#post68661). Have you responded to those? I think your contributions are equally thin.

Maybe, if Jonah's thesis has any merit at all beyond its use as a weapon, you can explain why:

(1) All the republicans and conservatives going back to the early 20th century always aligned themselves with the fascists.

(2) All the liberals going back as far opposed the fascists.

(3) No one anywhere seems to have ever even considered the possibility that fascism was a left wing phenomenon, until Goldberg wrote his book; and now, they all act like it has been obvious all along. If you read Goldberg's own writings from December, 2006, he was still writing about fascists as right-wingers and spoke favorably of them in contrast to left-wing authoritarians like Castro.

Goldberg's thesis isn't even consistent with his (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=69052&post69052) own (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=69046#post69046) recent (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=69053#post69053) writing.

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 08:39 PM
I think the royal "we" is used in academics not to put on airs or sound pompous, but as a way of avoiding that. It sounds better to write "We observe a deterioration in the fit" than to say "I observe a deterioration in the fit", it sounds better to say "We found a unification of these equations" than to say "I found a unification of these equations", it sounds better to say "Our earlier result eliminates the need for this process" than to say "My earlier result eliminates the need for this process".

The royal plural makes it sound like you are being guided through the paper by a colleague, the singular sounds like "Look how great I am!"

I think you are absolutely right about this -- and if Jonah said "we" in reference to his book's conclusions, then I would take it the same way. But when Jonah referred to "we," it was when he was discussing how to structure and organize the book. "We" couldn't figure out where to put the chapter. "We" wanted to tell a story. "We" had a whole chapter.

That is not the conventional usage of the royal "we."

I do realize that people have editors and sometimes collaborate on their projects, and I think that must be even more true of Jonah than it is of other writers. But I still found the extent to which he was sharing credit surprising. I've listened to a great many authors discussing their books, and I've never in my life heard one describe it as a team effort.

I can only speculate, but given the time it took Jonah to write the book, the repeatedly missed publication dates, and his short-temper when asked to comment on it over the last few years, there is a decent chance someone was hired to help him finish it. Not necessary ghostwrite it, but at least do a lot of the hard work that was beyond Jonah's abilities. Who knows: maybe with the time it takes most people to graduate college, Jonah was finally able to finish it himself. But I see no reason to assume that is the case, especially when he openly shares credit with others.

Trevor
01-22-2008, 09:31 PM
I am at a loss to respond to your characterization of the interview as unserious.

I am at a loss to even find that characterization, so I sympathize with your difficulty. I do argue that all indications point to the book being non-serious. So, no, I think you're wrong that anyone has to read it to dismiss its thesis. Goldberg was obviously plenty serious about the interview, and Will game him plenty of space to make his case. But there's no there there.

Time is precious. I'm perfectly willing to entertain serious, thoughtful arguments from conservatives about all manner of things. But the idea that I or anyone but professional book reviewers is obligated to read Goldberg's book to engage with his self-evidently vacuous thesis is ludicrous.

TwinSwords
01-22-2008, 09:54 PM
The idea that I or anyone but professional book reviewers is obligated to read Goldberg's book to engage with his self-evidently vacuous thesis is ludicrous.

Exactly. If Jonah's next book attempts to argue that Germany is not part of Europe, but is in fact located in Africa, we won't need to read it to reject it. There's enough existing, independent knowledge to reject the argument out of hand.

No matter how cleverly argued or studiously reasoned, argumentation and reason only take you so far. Never has rhetoric transplanted a nation from one continent to another, and likewise, all the argumentation in the world isn't going to rewrite 100 years of Western history.

H.G. Wells might have wanted to rebrand fascism as of the left, but someone should probably point out that he didn't.

grbch
01-22-2008, 10:46 PM
"It does seem a little contentious to call Hillary Clinton a fascist."

I believe the word Will Wilkinson used to describe Jonah Goldberg's association of fascism (or Fascism?) with Hillary Clinton was 'tendentious,' which would mean he believes the argument is overstated for partisan reasons. Which to me is a polite, academic way of saying intellectually dishonest.

And no, he's not the Ann Coulter of White Males, there are plenty of more likely screamers- Michael Savage for example?

scotchex
01-23-2008, 12:20 AM
... sadly, I can't say the same about the low-class commenters here. Wow. The amount of brainless, prejudiced, drivel was impressive. Good thing the left is always ready to remind us how intellectual they are.

In my experience the most totalitarian and evil people I've known have all been lefties. The idea of live and let live never seems to occur to them, instead they have the compulsion to control everyone else's life. Most of the right wingers I know just want to be left alone. But the lefties can never settle for that. Which is, of course, the very point Goldberg is making. Well done Jonah!

BHTV does some great episodes, the crowd it attracts seems to belong to the deranged, morally bankrupt left unfortunately.

TwinSwords
01-23-2008, 12:51 AM
... sadly, I can't say the same about the low-class commenters here. Wow. The amount of brainless, prejudiced, drivel was impressive. Good thing the left is always ready to remind us how intellectual they are.

In my experience the most totalitarian and evil people I've known have all been lefties. The idea of live and let live never seems to occur to them, instead they have the compulsion to control everyone else's life. Most of the right wingers I know just want to be left alone. But the lefties can never settle for that. Which is, of course, the very point Goldberg is making. Well done Jonah!

BHTV does some great episodes, the crowd it attracts seems to belong to the deranged, morally bankrupt left unfortunately.
That's 10 epithets, but you forgot fascist! I guess it's going to take a while to remember you should include "fascist" in your list! But thanks, anyway, for swinging by to elevate the discourse and show us how a high-class commenter is different! :D

Wolfgangus
01-23-2008, 09:18 AM
Do you realize how unhinged many of these Leftist comments seem to anyone from the real world?

How would you know? Seriously, are you now in communication with somebody from the real world?

Wolfgangus
01-23-2008, 09:21 AM
Thanks, Wonderment.

Wolfgangus
01-23-2008, 09:33 AM
Who knows: maybe with the time it takes most people to graduate college, Jonah was finally able to finish it himself. But I see no reason to assume that is the case, especially when he openly shares credit with others.

Fair enough. I concede. I once listened to Stephen King give a rather lengthy interview on the craft of writing, and there and in his book on writing he always uses first person singular. "I had this idea...", "I start with a question...", "I don't outline...", "I got lost..." etc. Occasionally he would switch to instructional mode, "You have to keep characters distinct," or passive, "The most effective device is to make a really likable character, and then put him in the cooker", etc. But I didn't hear any royal "we". I agree, I think Goldberg had help.

mtut
01-23-2008, 10:19 AM
Two things I notice about Goldberg. On the one hand, he's very protective of the concept of fascism, denying that, e.g. genocidal racism is inherently part of it. (Nationalistic racism plus militarism all but equals genocidal racism, and those severally are basic features of fascism). He also seems squeamish about saying fascism is bad; he prefers to say, sometimes offhandedly and sometimes defensively, "we've always been told it's evil." I find that off-putting. Every avowed neo-fascist from David Duke to Alessandra Mussolini talks that way. Pretty much no one else. I can understand Jonah has personal feelings about "fascist" accusations against members of the American Right, but jeez, Jonah, since on your account all they are doing is implying you're a Democrat, maybe you could just politely correct them?

On the other hand, he's got the most expansive definition of totalitarianism I've heard this side of a few postmodern French and their groupies for whom any big idea is "totalitarian" just because the word has shock value. What I think he would mean to say, if he really cared about anything besides poking a stick at "the Left," is "totalizing." There's a big difference. Totalizing is a habit of theories; it means, essentially, to posit ostensibly universal laws on intellectually inadequate, usually culturally-specific, grounds. Totalitarianism isn't even a good metaphor for this; in politics, it is the tendency to assume all (or actually, grossly excessive) power over your citizens and--crucially--having the means to do so (secret police, martial law, etc.).

For what it's worth, I don't think fascism is either right or left and no amount of parsing can obscure the fact that it was intended to replace dialogical politics altogether. It's like being introduced to a Satanist and asking whether he is a Satanist Protestant or a Satanist Catholic. To elevate as ends in themselves such things as unity, obedience, and strength is to reverse the logic of both traditional right-wing and left-wing thinking, which in either case see these things as means to their respective ends. Of course, given a belief that none of these ends were being met, or that they were all under imminent threat, it's not hard to see liberals or conservatives willing to assume 'fascistic' tactics, just as the supporters of fascism had all once been liberals, conservatives, moderates, socialists, and/or monarchists. Subcultural groups (like the Minutemen, or for that matter feminist groups or the civil rights movement) often have this perception of a desperate situation and often are led by charismatic leaders who place heavy demands on members and speak in moral absolutes; but they fail the fascism test in at least two ways. First, they typically do not determinedly seek to overturn institutions that aren't clearly and articulately related to their grievance. Second, once they have been heard and are satisfied that society has accommodated their concern, their tactics shift and a wider range of views and behaviors among the group are accepted and even encouraged. In short, they are functional members of a democracy.

TwinSwords
01-23-2008, 02:29 PM
How would you know? Seriously, are you now in communication with somebody from the real world?
I think he probably has Internet access the institution. ;-)

Fellow Traveler
01-23-2008, 03:58 PM
Whether the geography analogy holds is precisely the point at issue. You argument, therefore, is circular.

Wolfgangus
01-23-2008, 04:05 PM
Well we know he has Internet access, but the question remains; why would anybody from the real world talk to him? I still don't get it. And I'm not sure institutions should permit their charges to have Internet access anyway, the crazies and criminals are always looking for new ways to scam or screw with normal folks. They might be writing viruses and worms just for the fun of it.

cab404
01-23-2008, 04:22 PM
The book is for adults having a wide information horizon, not bubbleboys or bubblegirls who shudder at challenges to their worldview.

Wolfgangus
01-23-2008, 05:06 PM
The book is for adults having a wide information horizon, not bubbleboys or bubblegirls who shudder at challenges to their worldview.

As usual, accusing your enemy of your own shortcomings and claiming their virtues as your own. This book is for people with an exceptionally narrow information horizon that think all liberalism is evil and any good it does is entirely incidental. This is a book for those willing to accept idiotic definitions of fascism and oppression as long as it serves their myopic worldview. It is a book for people that rejoice in any lie as long as it seems to indict or hurt the people they hate. This is a book for true fascists to claim that their sworn enemy, the liberals, are the fascists to fear. This is a book for the uninformed, uneducated, spiteful authoritarians inside the conservative bubble that just want to hear anybody, no matter how foolish and ill-prepared and ill-researched and purposely deceptive they might be, get some press for attacking liberals. It is the same reason O'Reilly has listeners, they are so deep inside the bubble they just don't care anymore if he is a lying psychopath, they need a voice for their vile thoughts and that need overrides any sense of honor, decency or even humanity.

Fellow Traveler
01-23-2008, 08:04 PM
Sorry. By "seventy-five minute interview," I thought you meant the interview, not the book. (Your clarification is sort of silly in any case. Insofar as you've professed a disinclination to read the book, all you're left with are excerptions and distillations, such as this interview. Why take pains to claim that you’re commenting on the book rather than the interview?)

The final sentence of your post is an exercise in circularity. If it could be established a priori that the thesis is “ludicrous” then of course you’re under no intellectual obligation to investigate further by reading the book. But that’s precisely the point at issue, isn’t it?

I think this debate is very complex, especially insofar as it touches upon the philosophy of language. Questions of referent relations arise. Review this sequence of postings and you’ll find existential arguments and linguistic arguments mixed and matched with scant regard for the difference. Are we talking about mere labels here? Or historic data? What is the relationship between the two? Where is the divide?

If I’m reading you right, you seem to believe that Goldberg’s thesis (i.e., American liberalism is fascistic in its pedigree) falls within the realm of analytic propositions and, therefore, runs counter to a tautological truth (i.e., liberalism is not fascism). For my part, I believe that Goldberg’s thesis falls within the realm of synthetic propositions and is, therefore, an empirical question anterior to any trafficking in labels. From this vantage, it makes no sense to claim that you’ve sized up the book on the basis of its dust jacket. Empirical questions are not adjudicated a priori.

cab404
01-23-2008, 08:17 PM
Not for you.

Trevor
01-24-2008, 11:05 AM
Well think of it this way. Imagine there's a planet just like ours, that we'll call Twin Earth ... ;)

I think there's a pretty good statement of my central thesis above:
[T]he book is not a serious historical project, but merely a fairly commonplace attempt to hijack the negative connotations of "fascist" and "totalitarian" with argument-by-strange-definition.

That proposition doesn't seem to be in dispute among people who have actually read the book, even Goldberg's ideological allies. I haven't read it and don't intend to, and the proximate argument is whether anyone is justified in believing that thesis above without having read it. Goldberg's defenders here argue that it is unfair to dismiss his argument without having read the book in its entirety, and that we can't have come to appreciate its strength merely by reading excerpts online and watching this interview. I argue that, in a world of limited time and imperfect information, I know enough to reach that conclusion after reading excerpts online and watching this interview.

I'm going to take Goldberg's ability to make his case out loud over the course of an hour and a quarter as a reasonable heuristic over whether he has any case to make over 500 pages. Given what we know about the usual quality of political polemics published by either side (it's low), this assumption looks entirely reasonable.

Fellow Traveler
01-24-2008, 02:00 PM
Your post is not particularly responsive to mine.

In any case, your proposition is, in fact, objectionable to readers of the book. (How could it not be? It’s loaded with value-presumptive terms (e.g., “commonplace,” “hijack,” etc.), which again leads you into circularity (i.e., presupposing the very thing you’re trying to prove).)

Again, your comments do not take the trouble to untangle the definitional from the existential. Your operative assumption that Goldberg is primarily concerned with lexicography is misguided. He is concerned with the organic links between ideas, thinkers, institutions and movements. These are phenomena anterior to lexicography.

A cumulative (or preponderance) argument is not really amenable to sampling. It’s volume is, in part, its argument. Presumably, a critic who dismisses a particular example of overlap between liberalism and fascism as incidental has in mind a hypothetical threshold beyond which the sheer volume of such instances render further dismissal problematic. (A critic lacking such a threshold is not discoursing in good faith. He is beyond persuading in principle.)

Trevor
01-24-2008, 03:43 PM
If my reply is somewhat unresponsive, it's because I'm trying to avoid being dragged down some philosophy of language gavaggi-hole. I don't think that approach is particularly useful. But if you like, I can try to re-frame my point in those terms:

1) The words "fascist" and "totalitarian" have fairly well-understood conventional meanings. Fascism is commonly understood as a highly authoritarian right-wing political system, and totalitarianism as a political system where the government has near-complete control over the lives of its citizens or subjects.

2) Jonah Goldberg argues that the conventional understandings of the words are wrong, and that in fact certain segments of the Left or liberalism as understood in America are fascist and/or totalitarian in history or character. What it means for a commonly understood definition to be "wrong" can be a deep philosophical question, but in this case I take Jonah to mean that there are things that we don't label as fascist/totalitarian because they happen to be on the left, but that demonstrate the properties that we care about when we talk about fascism/totalitarianism.

3) Call Goldberg's definitions of fascism and totalitarianism g-fascism and g-totalitarianism. His project, then is to argue:
a) [Some] liberals and [some aspects of] liberalism are g-fascist.
b) g-fascism is equivalent to fascism simpliciter in the ways that we care about.

4) I have not seen any indication that there is some definition of g-fascist that allows both a) and b) to be true at the same time. Instead, I see evidence that there is enough ambiguity in the definitions to allow Goldberg to perform what John Holbo called in another context the two-step of terrific triviality (http://crookedtimber.org/2007/04/11/when-i-hear-the-word-culture-aw-hell-with-it/).

So at some points, Goldberg says that fascism has been so diluted in meaning that it signifies nothing more than "something I don't like," which would make a) true, but b) false. When Goldberg calls Whole Foods and Swarthmore grads with education degrees [g-]fascist, for a) to be true the definition of g-fascist must be incredibly weak. Then it's silly and insulting to say that [g]-fascism is equivalent in any way to the murderousness of Mussolini, Franco, et al. This is why I say that Goldberg is trying to hijack the subjective connotations of "fascist" by applying it to things well outside the common understanding.

Then at other times (and really the stronger part of Goldberg's case) he tries hard to keep b) true, and can still find some examples on the left of genuinely nasty behavior. Woodrow Wilson suppressing dissent, social reformers' enthusiasm for eugenics, and subsuming the individual will to "moral equivalents of war" are all at least of the same character of fascism because they are all illiberal, in the small-l Scottish sense of that term. Label those things g-fascist, and you can at least make a rough case that g-fascism and fascism popularly understood are morally equivalent, or at least troubling for the same reasons. But then as soon as you put any teeth into the definitions, statements like "the white male is the Jew of liberal fascism" become laughably false, and Goldberg's enthusiasm in defending them embarrassing.

These flaws are readily apparent just from listening to the interview. What's missing isn't evidence, where a book full of references might be useful, but argument. So yes, calling the book tendentious in my explanation of why I'm not going to read it is rhetorical overreach. Insisting that I must read it remains inane.

Fellow Traveler
01-24-2008, 09:53 PM
Hi. Thanks for the reply.

You’re coming perilously close to debating the substance of Goldberg’s thesis. That isn’t an option for one who asserts that the thesis is disposable prima facie.

Having read through the second chapter thus far, it does not appear that Goldberg is concerned with definitions per se. Rather, he is arguing for a particular family-tree as the most meaningful representation of the interdependence of ideologies, one that makes inherent, organic sense quite apart from the definitional confusion. (If that’s not a legitimate undertaking for a political theorist, then what is?)

Suppose, for the purpose of our present debate, that the word “fascism” was a gratuitous coinage. (This is what Goldberg argues, and I accept his argument on this point. I have always held this view, which is partly why the book interests me.) What then would be the use of rehabilitating the word? What would be the use of a “g-fascism?” The political theorist would render a much more valuable service by clarifying the historic relationships among the various schools of political thought, relationships that the coinage of “fascism” served to obscure for these many decades. This is what Goldberg is attempting, as I read him.

To my mind, your enumerated points embody a backward procedure. Goldberg is not offering a “definition” so that a) and b) might be fulfilled. He wades into the definitional controversy (the “label aspect” of this whole thing) only because therein lay the most reflexive objection to his thesis. But this is mere throat-clearing on his part.

Your final paragraph explicitly states that you view this question as calling for "argument" rather than "evidence." This is the heart of our disagreement, I think. Goldberg is investigating philosophical linkages amongst persons and institutions of history. His book does not treat fascism in the abstract. Therefore, I think you’re exactly wrong. Deductive argument is of very little use here. This is largely an empirical matter, especially given that the word “fascism” never possessed definitional integrity to begin with. “Fascism” has never been located except ostensively (i.e., by pointing at a concrete regime and saying, in effect, “there it is”).

Trevor
01-24-2008, 10:35 PM
My argument has been and remains that

1. This is a non-serious project.
2. You can tell without reading the book.

Goldberg just does argue a). That's what the whole book is about. If b) is false, then he's just name calling, just making stuff up. No different from me making a big list of people I don't like and calling them fascists for no reason. For the examples Goldberg has chosen - indeed, chosen to publicize - a) and b) can't both be true. There's no way around it.

If you want to read 500 pages of Goldberg "arguing for a particular family-tree as the most meaningful representation of the interdependence of ideologies, one that makes inherent, organic sense quite apart from the definitional confusion," that's your business. For the rest of us, sentences like "The quintessential liberal fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore." and "The white male is the Jew of liberal fascism" are enough.

bjkeefe
01-24-2008, 10:58 PM
Trevor:

What does gavaggi mean?

bjkeefe
01-24-2008, 11:01 PM
My two cents:

I think a sympathetic interview lasting more than an hour is plenty of time for an author to make the pitch for his book and to outline his thesis. Therefore, if a viewer comes away from watching the interview thinking, "Okay, that's not a book I need to read," this seems entirely reasonable to me.

Most people who want you to listen to their idea are required to deliver an "elevator pitch." Jonah had far more opportunity than that, and he couldn't get it done.

Trevor
01-24-2008, 11:25 PM
Rabbit, more or less.

Only, I've spelled it wrong, which I guess totally spoils the philosophy of language rapport I was trying to build with FT. The philosopher of language WVO Quine used the made-up word Gavagai to illustrate the indeterminacy of translation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indeterminacy_of_translation). (wikipedia article)

bjkeefe
01-24-2008, 11:53 PM
Thanks, Trevor. An interesting concept, and one I'd never really contemplated beyond the cliché of "lost in the translation."

garbagecowboy
01-25-2008, 03:28 PM
I remember the Dice-man. He was teh bomb.

Fellow Traveler
01-25-2008, 04:20 PM
But who says a “definition” must satisfy a) and b)? Why can’t a policy position or an operative philosophic premise satisfy a) and b) and, in doing so, justify a book-length thesis? For example, the fact that the modern “left” advocates government control over the means of production without government ownership of those means (which is to say, the “left” advocates a system whereby the government reaps the benefits of property without the accepting the concomitant responsibilities of property) certainly satisfies a) and b). But what has this to do with devising a “definition”? Who besides you brought that rule to the game?

Look. I think I get it. You suppose that the book is primarily about labels. The interview failed to convince you otherwise, as did excerpts from the book. Furthermore, such excerpts as you encountered were preposterous, contradictory or trivial to such a degree that no book could possibly redeem them. I get it.

For my part, I do not think the excerpts you quote are, on their face, preposterous, contradictory or trivial. So what now? We can’t debate the substance of those excerpts, because your position is that there is no substance to debate. Besides, I am obviously as unserious as Goldberg. My views are, as you generously put it, “inane.”

Funny how different we are. I’ll go ahead and read an unserious book before I take the time and trouble to write blog entries about it. As a student of Discourse Ethics, I offer the tentative observation that your statements and actions don’t readily reconcile.

Next up on my nightstand, after Liberal Fascism, is The History of Sexuality (Foucault). Talk about unserious.

Take care.

garbagecowboy
01-25-2008, 04:44 PM
_____________

garbagecowboy
01-25-2008, 04:57 PM
About the only useful point of calling the left "fascist" that I can think of it that it means today's conservatives and Republicans are to the right of fascism, and Hitler.

LOL, good point!

*plonk*

TwinSwords
01-25-2008, 05:33 PM
GC,
I'll grant it's a rather batty idea, but that's what Jonah gave us. It's an inescapable conclusion of his argument. If fascists and Hitler are liberal, then you and Jonah are both to the right of the Nazis.

I didn't make up the argument, I just laughed at it.

TwinSwords
01-25-2008, 05:36 PM
It is a deep, personal anger

No, not really. More like a fat, slow moving target. Sometimes it's just fun to shoot fish in a barrel. There are a lot of people who have been having a lot of great laughs about this book. It's nothing if not deeply amusing (http://thepoorman.net/2008/01/22/never-before-has-old-blog-nonsense-been-hurriedly-stapled-together-into-an-80-page-book-with-such-thoughtfulness-or-such-care/).

garbagecowboy
01-25-2008, 07:03 PM
Maybe for you...but the tenor of some of the entries is one of anger, not of mocking derision. "Fuck you!" is not exactly light-hearted laughing at what a fool the man is.

Wonderment
01-25-2008, 07:43 PM
Maybe for you...but the tenor of some of the entries is one of anger, not of mocking derision. "Fuck you!" is not exactly light-hearted laughing at what a fool the man is.

The "fuck you" was in the title of his book. He threw a stink bomb at the universe of thinking human beings, so he shouldn't be surprised when people react with some hostility to the stench.

Trevor
01-26-2008, 03:13 PM
But who says a “definition” must satisfy a) and b)? ... Who besides you brought that rule to the game?
Jonah Goldberg (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/8244?in=00:11:30&out=00:12:20).

Next up on my nightstand, after Liberal Fascism, is The History of Sexuality (Foucault). Talk about unserious.
I wouldn't know; I hope you find it edifying.

I hope I haven't come across as suggesting that people should only read "serious" books. I read an Al Franken book once and enjoyed it, and the next thing on my reading list is Steve Martin's Born Standing Up (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1416553649/ref=nosim/arm06-20), which I've been looking forward to cracking open. And I hope you don't take my criticism of your argument personally - we all have soft spots and blind spots, and we all say inane things form time to time. I fully expect to get called out for arguing something silly on these boards at some point, and I hope that exchange, as well as this one, won't create any lasting enmity.

Take care,

Trevor

cousincozen
01-26-2008, 06:34 PM
Just watch, though. "Liberal fascist" is going to become a common descriptor/epithet (take your pick) in political-tinged general discourse. In fact, I'm going to include it in my repertoire and start working it into conversations as soon as possible.

TwinSwords
01-29-2008, 12:11 AM
I just happened to be reading George Wallace's January 14, 1963 inaugural speech — the one that contained this famous passage:

Let us rise to the call of freedom-loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.


And gosh, it looks like Jonah wasn't the first one to compare the Nazis and liberals.

it is called "new" and "liberal". It is as old as the oldest dictator. It is degenerate and decadent. As the national racism of Hitler's Germany persecuted a national minority to the whim of a national majority . . . so the international racism of the liberals seek to persecute the international white minority to the whim of the international colored majority . . . so that we are footballed about according to the favor of the Afro-Asian bloc. But the Belgian survivors of the Congo cannot present their case to a war crimes commission . . . nor the Portuguese of Angola . . . nor the survivors of Castro . . . nor the citizens of Oxford, Mississippi.

Wolfgangus
01-29-2008, 09:13 AM
I guess anybody that ever feels persecuted for any reason compares their opponents to Nazis, and when that becomes cartoonish, to fascists. When that becomes cartoonish it will be terrorists. That is the good news in Jonah's book, it indicates that conservatives feel set upon, society is attacking their simplistic faith and religion, their patriarchy and theocracy, the way they raise and educate their children, even their unhealthy food habits. Gradually, they realize the liberals think they are stupid children, they are not fitting in, they are losing their power. Thanks to the information revolution their children are more often rejecting their racism and bigotry and sexism and finding their own way. We enter a cynical cycle in which the power of repeated threats, assertions and pulpit pounding is slowly fading. I am glad the conservatives are coming to this realization and starting to panic. But the generation coming to power is too cynical for Jonah's assertions to carry any weight, his pointless polemic will all be a joke to them. With luck on our part Jonah's book signals the death of social conservatism and the religious right as political forces. These things run in generational cycles, so perhaps not, but I believe liberalism is ascendant and will carry us forward for a few decades at least.

TwinSwords
01-29-2008, 05:10 PM
I guess anybody that ever feels persecuted for any reason compares their opponents to Nazis, and when that becomes cartoonish, to fascists.
Right. And as Timothy Noah points out in his review of Jonah's book (http://www.slate.com/id/2182871/), Jonah is guilty of doing pretty much the same thing. Jonah in his own words:

Ever since I joined the public conversation as a conservative writer, I've been called a fascist and a Nazi by smug, liberal know-nothings, sublimely confident of the truth of their ill-informed prejudices. Responding to this slander is, as a point of personal privilege alone, a worthwhile endeavor.

Isn't that funny? He's admitted his own base motivation for writing the book. As Noah says, "Liberal Fascism, then, is a howl of rage disguised as intellectual history. Some mean liberals called Goldberg hurtful names, so he's responding with 400 pages that boil down to: I know you are, but what am I?"



When that becomes cartoonish it will be terrorists.
Agreed. If you think about it, the right has been trying to tie the left and terrorists together since 9/11, despite the obvious difficultly of connecting "Islamofascism," a far-right, theocratic ideology with secular liberalism and permissiveness. Jonah, by transplanting fascism from the right to the left, has made the job at least a bit easier for conservatives aiming to connect "liberal fascists" and "Islamofascists."

In fact, just yesterday I was reading Jonah's Liberal Fasicsm blog, and followed a link from this post (http://liberalfascism.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NzBmOTQ3M2ZkMDA4NmJjZjFlZmJmZTYyZDJlOTk5ODk=) to this blog (http://dissectleft.blogspot.com/2008/01/neiwert-leftist-intellectual.html). Right there across the top of the blog are these words:

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.



That is the good news in Jonah's book, it indicates that conservatives feel set upon, society is attacking their simplistic faith and religion, their patriarchy and theocracy, the way they raise and educate their children, even their unhealthy food habits.
That really does seem to be true. I've been amazed at how insecure and senstive Jonah, particularly, is.



With luck on our part Jonah's book signals the death of social conservatism and the religious right as political forces.
I never thought I'd see it, but it has been interesting watching the "adults" in the Republican Party trying to put the fundamentalist base in its place, especially considering they have been forced to contradict their own past statements (as for example has been observed about Ramesh Ponnuru (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=1635) in his latest diavlog).

Bloggin' Noggin
02-25-2008, 04:18 PM
The New Republic has a new review of Liberal Fascism by Blogginghead Michael Tomasky (http://www.tnr.com/booksarts/story.html?id=d6977c2f-4788-468e-8f63-2e92109320fe&p=1). Unfortunately, I suppose it's behind their subscriber firewall.

My favorite bit:

For about fifty or sixty pages, I confess, I took the bait, and did my best to work myself into a lather. By page 200--there are 405 pages of actual text--offense was beside the point, and I was mentally imploring the author to get it over with. By page 300, I was bored out of my skull. And by the time I made it to the final pages, I was wishing that I had been invited instead to review a multi-volume history of farm subsidies.

But I made it all the way to the end--and to the atypically succinct coda, in which Goldberg expresses the hope that his efforts will serve the same noble, lonely cause that William Buckley aided on national television in 1968 when, after Gore Vidal called him a "crypto-Nazi," he flung the word "queer" at Vidal. (Except Goldberg hopes for greater "civility"!) So I can report with a clear conscience that Liberal Fascism is one of the most tedious and inane--and ultimately self-negating--books that I have ever read.

bjkeefe
02-26-2008, 01:15 AM
BN:

I (no longer a subscriber to TNR) am able to see the full review. Thanks for the link.

Did you read this book yourself? I have a vague feeling that you said you might. Waiting for the Kindle version?

bjkeefe
02-26-2008, 01:28 AM
Man, this review is outstanding.

Loved this, especially:

However much or little Goldberg knows about fascism, he knows next to nothing about liberalism. Anybody familiar with Liberalism 101 grasps that there is something deep within liberalism, from its earliest beginnings, that prevents it from degenerating into fascism, and that is its explicit recognition that the state must serve both common purposes and individual liberty. Liberal theorists from John Locke to Cass Sunstein, with hundreds in between, have addressed this point. It is absolutely central to liberal theory and liberal practice. We do believe in such a thing as the common good, yes we do. We want more of it, and we want a democratic leader who will summon us to believe in it, who will locate for us the intersection of self-interest and common interest at which citizens can be persuaded to participate, together, collectively, in a project larger than their own success. But where that collective urge crosses the line into coercion, well, that is where liberals--I mean liberals who know something about liberalism--get off the train, and do their noncoercive best to derail it.

and this:

Lurking behind all these futile disclaimers may be Goldberg's well-founded fear that intelligent or knowledgeable readers might conclude that he is crazy.

piscivorous
02-26-2008, 01:48 AM
Man, this review is outstanding. So this review confirms your analysis of the book and it contents after reading it. Short of that it means that it concurs with your preconceived notions and prejudices of what the book says in a rhetorical style and language that you like.

TwinSwords
02-26-2008, 03:33 AM
Bloggin Noggin,
Thanks for the heads up. Looks like an enjoyable article! It is printing now... :)

bjkeefe
02-26-2008, 03:42 AM
So this review confirms your analysis of the book and it contents after reading it. Short of that it means that it concurs with your preconceived notions and prejudices of what the book says in a rhetorical style and language that you like.

Actually, no. I don't claim to have analyzed the book, since I have not read it.

On the other hand, I've read enough excerpts and heard Jonah try -- and fail -- to explain the book's thesis enough times that I am convinced I don't need to bother.

You are right that I enjoyed the review's style, though, yes.

Wonderment
02-26-2008, 05:23 AM
Check out Jonah's latest amazzzzzzzing smear:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-goldberg26feb26,0,663716.column

rpetty
07-17-2008, 02:30 AM
another "open minded" liberal that hasn't (and won't) read the book. so tired...

bjkeefe
07-17-2008, 08:33 AM
another "open minded" liberal that hasn't (and won't) read the book. so tired...

Yeah. He probably won't read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, either. Nor will he invest any effort in appreciating the works of such luminaries as Charles K. Johnson, Sylvia Browne, and Richard C. Hoagland.

Will the outrages never cease?