Die Goldberg-Variationen

Some may remember Jonah Goldberg's thesis that liberals are the real fascists because (a) they share some ideas with the fascists and (b) they think government ought to make people do stuff for the common good–such as have health insurance, not pollute, not abuse their children, among other things.  The former point of course is … Continue reading Die Goldberg-Variationen

The Goldberg variation

It seems to me that affirmative action need not be derived from essentialist claims about racial identity.  But's its convenient that some do, because then people who oppose affirmative action programs can claim their opponents are the real racists, because essentialism is a variety of racism (they claim).  One might call that the Goldberg variation, … Continue reading The Goldberg variation

Not the way to conduct reasonable political discourse

It is very hard to have an adult discussion about distributive justice when the very notion sends some people’s minds sliding down slippery slopes to Hitler and Stalin (see yesterday on the ad stalinem).  A recent exchange illustrates this point.  Last month, fellow Chicagoan Harold Pollack wrote a reply to Greg Mankiw’s defense of the 1 percent.  Pollack … Continue reading Not the way to conduct reasonable political discourse

Brain death

A guest op-eder in the Washington Post asks: "Is Conservatism Brain-Dead?"  My immediate response is–so what if it is–it must be kept alive by heroic measures.  To be honest, my immediate response was: "Does that hyphen go there, I think not."  In any case, upon reading the article, I'm struck by the standard employed to … Continue reading Brain death


As we head toward the Fourth of July, perhaps some might enjoy the following definition of patriotism from Jonah Goldberg (via Whiskey Fire): Definitions of patriotism proliferate, but in the American context patriotism must involve not only devotion to American texts (something that distinguishes our patriotism from European nationalism) but also an abiding belief in … Continue reading Patriotismo

Five thumbs up

If you look at the website for Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, you'll find a lot of email from alienated college students, praising the bold and cogent thesis of the book, and commending its author for the way he handled himself on A Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  You'll also find its author responding to negative … Continue reading Five thumbs up

Dux nobis

If a prize were given for sophistry, Jonah Goldberg would win, not because he's good at it, but because he earnestly believes his own nonsense.  The entire thesis of his recent book, Liberal Fascism, rests (judging by his frequent descriptions of it) on the following hodgepodge of fallacies: the formal fallacy of the undistributed middle; … Continue reading Dux nobis