(Video) What does it mean to be on the “Wrong Side of History”

August 24, 2015

For Praeger University, conservative columnist and author Jonah Goldberg takes a look at one of President Obama and the Left’s favorite expressions, “the wrong side of History,” and exposes it for what it is: a pseudo-scientific intellectual club carved from the tree of Marxism and meant to stifle debate and silence criticism.

If you want to look into this in more depth, Goldberg’s recent book “The Tyranny of Clichés” is invaluable.

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Jonah Goldberg is right: there is no compromise with culture warriors – Updated

July 1, 2015

liberal tolerance

And by culture warriors I don’t mean social conservatives; they’ve been on the defensive for so many years, I suspect many would be happy with a social compact or understanding that just left them alone.

No, I’m referring to the culture warriors on the Left (and their brethren, the Social Justice Warriors). They demand not only tolerance, but that you celebrate their preferences and beliefs. All of them. And if you disagree, then keep silent, you racist, White-privileged, heteronormative homophobe! If you don’t, you’ll be punished…

Sorry. Got a bit carried away there.

The point is that CWs and SJWs never have a moment of “enough,” a point whereat they decide they’ve achieved their goals, and now it’s time for everyone to relax, for the lion to lie down with the lamb.

Instead, when one victory is achieved, it’s time to push for another and another and another, until all opposition is crushed. In the name of democracy and justice, of course.

That’s the thrust of Jonah Goldberg’s article on Culture Warriors and compromise, and he provides some illustrations:

It is something of a secular piety to bemoan political polarization in this nation. But polarization in and of itself shouldn’t be a problem in a democracy. The whole point of having a democratic republic, never mind the Bill of Rights, is to give people the right to disagree.

A deeper and more poisonous problem is the breakdown in trust. Again and again, progressives insist that their goals are reasonable and limited. Proponents of gay marriage insisted that they merely wanted the same rights to marry as everyone else. They mocked, scorned, and belittled anyone who suggested that polygamy would be next on their agenda. Until they started winning. In 2013, a headline in Slate declared “Legalize Polygamy!” and a writer at the Economist editorialized, “And now on to polygamy.” The Atlantic ran a fawning piece on Diana Adams and her quest for a polyamorous “alternative to marriage.”

We were also told that the fight for marriage equality had nothing to do with a larger war against organized religion and religious freedom. But we now know that was a lie, too. The ACLU has reversed its position on religious-freedom laws, in line with the Left’s scorched-earth attacks on religious institutions and private businesses that won’t – or can’t – embrace the secular fatwa that everyone must celebrate “love” as defined by the Left.

Jonah concludes with a depressing realization: these people “can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer.”

In other words, and as he describes brilliantly in Liberal Fascism, leftist ideology is all-encompassing; it cannot leave anything outside its field of control. No deviation is allowed, and all in an ideal world would be part of a right-thinking “unity,” a State larger than any individual. If you’re an individual who does not celebrate “correct thought” or an organization whose beliefs run counter to the doctrine of the culture warriors –say, for example, a church that views marriage as a divinely created institution to be entered into by a man and a woman only– you cannot be left to your own devices. You must be made to conform. And telling lies along the way to lull you until a point is reached at which you can no longer resist is just fine and dandy.

And that can’t be good for our politics.

UPDATE: My friend “ExJon” has come up with the perfect bumper sticker.


(Video) Jonah Goldberg on the real meaning of “social justice”

March 25, 2014
Justice is individual, not social

Justice is individual, not social

“Social justice” is one of those phrases the left loves: stripped of all precision, it means whatever progressives want it to mean — raising the minimum wage, economic redistribution, “rights” for this or that group, etc. It forms a hot mess of unrelated issues, until you see he common thread behind it: “social justice” means doing whatever progressives think is good, and this good is accomplished through the State, with progressives in charge. And, if you disagree, you must be a racist, fascist, misogynistic, reactionary, greedy capitalistic homophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

Anyway, the invaluable Prager University has published a new video that features Jonah Goldberg explaining the real meaning of “social justice:”

Try some of these arguments on liberals you know. Then have fun watching their heads explode.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Should America have an assassination list?

October 6, 2010

Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen. He is also a high-ranking al Qaeda propagandist and spiritual leader who counseled the Fort Hood shooter on his murderous mission. He inspired Feisal Shahzad, the Muslim jihadist who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square. He approved the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit. He has called for jihad against his own country.

Not surprisingly, the American government wants him dead.

This troubles Jonah Goldberg, one of my favorite authors. Not because of the orders against Awlaki, himself: Jonah agrees this medieval sociopath needs to be reduced to his component parts as quickly as possible. But  other questions trouble him:

There’s ample precedent — and common sense — to support the claim that the executive branch can kill American citizens when they are sworn members of enemy forces and avowed traitors working with the enemy.

But those precedents start to fray at the edges when the whole world is the war zone and the war doesn’t end until a diffuse, committed, and often camouflaged army of suicidal religious fanatics defy their god and agree to leave the Dark Ages. And the common sense starts to drain away like water through your fingers when you contemplate that we may be facing these kinds of problems for half a century. So while it strikes me as a no-brainer that al-Awlaki should go, what about the next guy? Or the next?

Goldberg’s problem comes not with the targeted-killing policy, per se, but with its secret, ad hoc nature in a society based on democracy and the rule of law. Rather than having this question fought out in the courts (not surprisingly, the ACLU has sued the Obama administration in court to have the order to kill Awlaki blocked), the policy should be debated openly and settled democratically by the elected political branches in a way that meets our traditions: voted on in Congress in agreement with the President. Not the specific targets, mind you, but a set policy on what happens when a citizen joins a non-state actor to wage war against his own country.

I agree, both with Goldberg and with the Obama administration: Anwar al-Awlaki has sided with our deadly enemy and thus needs to die himself, citizen or not. But  we need clear rules for for future cases.

Because we know there will be more.

This is the kind of genuine national issue Congress should be dealing with, the very kind of question for which the federal government was created. Not regulating the air we breathe or the kinds of light bulbs we can buy.

Very frustrating.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Democracy must stand aside to fight global warming!

March 30, 2010

So says British scientist James Lovelock (Wikipedia bio), who thinks we’re all too stupid to deal with a (nonexistent) problem that only Supreme Geniuses(tm) are smart enough to recognize. The only hope of the sheep Mankind is to institute a dictatorship of the really smart!

Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change from radically impacting on our lives over the coming decades. This is the stark conclusion of James Lovelock, the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist who developed the Gaia theory.

It follows a tumultuous few months in which public opinion on efforts to tackle climate change has been undermined by events such as the climate scientists’ emails leaked from the University of East Anglia (UEA)and the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit.

“I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change,” said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. “The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is “modern democracy”, he added. “Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

Here we have fascist elitism at its most exposed: “You fools can’t understand vast complexities, and so must be lead like children or animals, guided by your betters. You’re getting sleepy, very sleepy….”

What garbage. I’m not denying there are stupid people in the world (hint: Joe Biden), but what really bothers elitists such as Lovelock is that people lacking the proper degrees have the temerity to question and even disagree with him and his brethren. In this modern information age, people can seek their own sources independent of the Lovelocks of the world, whether on the Web or between the covers of a good book. And if they’re more than a bit skeptical of what “their betters” are telling them, perhaps it’s because they’ve been pandered and lied to.

And that’s the real problem people like Lovelock and other statists have with democracy: all those smelly people get in the way of the Truly Enlightened. (All bow.)

It’s not an attitude limited to Lovelock and a few others, nor is it new by any means. Woodrow Wilson, a US president, thought the Constitution was obsolete, that limited, participatory government got in the way of progress. Erudite men such as H.G. Wells, who advocated a form of fascism, and George Bernard Shaw, a supporter of eugenics, felt that Man simply couldn’t be left to govern himself, that he had to be lead by an elite. Their intellectual descendants sit in the White House and run Congress today.

(I can’t let this moment go by without again shilling for Goldberg’s brilliant book, Liberal Fascism, which surveys the history of the fascist idea from the French Revolution to the modern day, though I think he needs to add a chapter for the Green Statists of the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming.)

Anyway, back to Dr. Lovelock and his annoyance with democracy. If you ever needed a reason to fight the global warming fraud besides the bad science behind it, there you have it. It’s not nearly so much about “saving the planet” as it is about controlling it.

And us.

(via Ace)

LINKS: More from Sister Toldjah and Hot Air. James Delingpole struggles to reconcile the call for dictatorship with the othwerwise sensible things Lovelock says.


The end of liberal fascism

August 25, 2009

The blog, that is, not the trend in our current politics. Jonah Goldberg is putting a close to his blog at National Review Online, mostly from lack of time to keep it updated. Sadly, these days, it needs a lot of updating.

As always, Jonah’s post is full of useful things to think about: he recounts the progressive/corporatist/fascist tendencies and acts of the Obama administration in its first six months, providing a summary of disturbing things we may have missed or forgotten, since they’ve come so fast, one after the other: the growth of state capitalism, the marriage of union and government, and indeed the resurgence of the concept of the State as the agent of God:

Indeed, our own messianic president, who insists that we can create a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, also apparently believes that “we are God’s partners in matters of life and death” and that religious organizations that are true to their calling should rally behind a united front to expand the scope and role of government.  When the head of state says such things, it is hard not to be reminded of the Progressive concept of the God State, a major theme of Liberal Fascism. The “State is the actually existing,  realized moral life . . . The divine idea as it exists on earth,” Hegel declared in The Philosophy of History. The State, according to Hegel, was the “march of God on earth.” The progressives agreed.  Richard Ely, the founding father of progressive economics, proclaimed “God works through the State in carrying out His purposes more universally than through any other institution.”

But Goldberg has another message that’s just as important: if we’re to recognize and fight the fascist tendencies in our own politics, we must guard against facile comparisons to Hitler and even Mussolini (something I’ve done in my more irritated moments). The danger we face isn’t from jackbooted thugs marching on Washington the way Mussolini’s Blackshirts marched on Rome, but the totalitarian nanny-state of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World:

As I make clear in Liberal Fascism, the obvious and pressing threat is not from a Hitlerite-Orwellian dictatorship but from a Huxleyan namby-pamby mommy state. That sort of system could seduce Americans into becoming chestless subjects of the State in exchange for bottomless self-gratification and liberation from the necessity of adult decision-making. Yes, there’s a danger that such a society could then be susceptible to some darker vision that lionizes the lost manhood of a half-forgotten past. But, by that point, this would be America in name only, if even that (“U.N. District 12” has a nice ring to it).

I’ll disagree with Jonah a bit to point out that we have seen flashes of the jackboot under Nanny’s skirts: the beating of a town-hall attendee by purple-shirted SEIU thugs earlier this month, and the Missouri truth squads of last year’s campaign. But, overall he’s right: the greater threat to our liberties comes from the Democrats’ desire to regulate more and more aspects of our lives and, through “social justice programs” such as the proposed health care reform bills, make us dependents and wards of the government, which the Left believes is the only impartial distributor of resources and the only guarantor of our rights – as defined by government. It’s a feminine, maternal fascism as dangerous to free society as anything Benito cooked up.

Goldberg’s blog may be ending, but he’ll still be writing articles and posting observations at The Corner. Meanwhile, though I’ve pimped and promoted Liberal Fascism so often that some readers must be sick of it, I seriously recommend you buy the book or borrow it, but read it, regardless. No intelligent discussion of modern US politics is possible otherwise.


Addicted to the race card

August 21, 2009

Joker card

There’s an old saying that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” In other words, when he can’t have his way by means of persuasion, a politician desperate to win will appeal to loyalty to one’s country and make disagreement seem like betrayal or even treason, thus bullying opponents into submission.

In modern America, the equivalent for the Left has been to cry “racism” whenever someone disagrees with their policy objectives. Do you question the effectiveness of large government social programs? You must hate poor people, especially Blacks. Do you think the constitutional role of the judiciary is to interpret the law, not make policy? You must want to deny non-Whites their civil rights, you crypto-Klansman. Do you think the second amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms? Then you must be afraid of minorities, cracker.

Whatever else, it cannot be because you disagree honestly with the goals of our first African-American president – it’s just because he’s Black.

In an article for National Review, Jonah Goldberg (whose book, Liberal Fascism, is must-reading) looks at the irony in the willingness of President Obama and his supporters to play the race card and finds a stacked deck:

What if America transcended race, and Barack Obama wasn’t invited?

The question comes to mind as cries of racism grow ever louder among Obama’s supporters.
No one should be surprised. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, liberal Democrats have to accuse their opponents of racism. Indeed, somewhat to their credit, fighting racism — alas, even where it doesn’t exist — is one of the reasons they became liberal Democrats in the first place.

And that’s the great irony of the Obama presidency. It was Obama’s supporters who hinted, teased, promised, and prophesied that Obama would help America “transcend race.” But now, it is they who shrink from their own promised land.

After all, it was not Obama’s detractors who immediately fell into the comfortable groove of racial grievance and familiar “narratives” when Henry Louis Gates insisted that a police instructor in racial sensitivity had to be a racist. That was Obama and his choir of heralds.

From Day 1, Obama’s supporters have tirelessly cultivated the idea that anything inconvenient for the first black president just might be terribly, terribly racist.

Indeed, it can be argued that it is the conservative and libertarian opposition that’s “transcended race,” because they’re refusing to give deference to Obama on the basis of his ethnicity. Instead, they’re treating him just like any other president they might strongly oppose – with loud criticism and even mockery. Sure, there are almost certainly a few who dislike Obama because of his half-African ancestry, but the opposition attacks on him have been overwhelmingly for his far-Left domestic policies, weak foreign policy, amateurish political skills once in office, and a flip-flopping that borders on serial mendacity.

It’s the liberal Democrats and their allies in the broader Left who’ve been obsessed with race and unable to ascribe any honest motive to their opponents. And this addiction to playing the race card at the drop of a hat only hurts their program, because it galvanizes opponents who don’t like having their motives or intelligence insulted. And it shows the intellectual and political bankruptcy of their position that, even with overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress and control of the White House, they can’t convince a majority of Americans that their program is the right one.

So, it must be racism.

Oh, and Johnson’s observation about scoundrels and patriotism? They play that one, too.

FURTHER READING: Sister Toldjah has made almost a hobby out of tracking PBO’s use of the race card. And Bruce Bartlett has an excellent book that examines the dirty history of the Democratic Party and race: Wrong on Race.

UPDATE: It seems New York’s Governor Paterson can play the race card, too. (h/t JammieWearingFool) Also ST.