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Jonah Goldberg for the Silver

Keith Olbermann's 'Worst Person"" should have been the fascist Jonah Goldberg; alas he only got the Silver.




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Countdown w/Keith Olbermann
Keith's latest book is Truth and Consequences: Special Comments on the Bush Administration's War on American Values

 

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Until now, I considered Jonah Goldberg to be a harmless, old-school conservative. On his NRO program with Peter Beinart he comes off as a nice guy, and remains quite civil during the debates. He rarely (if ever) resorts to the right-wing hack dialogue employed by the likes of Billo and Hannity.

But after reading the description of his new book, I have to say that he now sounds no better than the Ann Coulters of the world. Alas, it must pay better.

Out of curiosity, does anyone know how folks like Jonah sell books when their target audience is obviously illiterate? Be interesting to see the audiobook versus paperback sales figures.

Jonah Goldberg is just a ridiculous moron. I'm assuming Olbermann's award derives from Goldberg's Salon interview. He comes off as "nice" enough, I guess, but the central thesis of his book comes right out of the Ministry of Truth. Right-wing nationalism is overlooked as related to fascism. Right-wing immigrant bashing - what's that? Scapegoating gays. liberals, and atheists - how is that like fascism? Look over there - see the liberal anti-smoking crusaders - Seig Heil!

Pretty hard to get the gold medal when the Government is lying about false threats from Iran. Sheesh.

P.S. There are no International Waters In the Strait of Hormuz (sp).

Did anybody actually see Jonah Goldberg on Jon Stewart's show? Goldberg owned Jon in that interview. He correctly identified modern 'liberalism' as progressivism and those who practice it as fascistic in their beliefs in tendencies. And Jon simply proved his point by completely falling apart.

Jon had no rebuttals. He had no replies. All he had were childish observations and sad attempts at insults. "You say you're against fascism ... but the word 'fascist' is in the title of your book!" "Your book has a smiley face with a Hitler mustache! How could it contain information?" "Stalin was against Hillary?" It was the most embarrassing interview I have ever seen Jon attempt because he was stuck, he knew it, and he was livid at having his ideology so thoroughly dissected.

And now Olbermann thinks he's showing intellectual superiority by freeze-framing the man, completely misrepresenting his argument, and then playing some cartoon sound effects? How can anybody look up to or respect these two clowns?

But after reading the description of his new book, I have to say that he now sounds no better than the Ann Coulters of the world.

This sentiment cracks me up. Liberals are always telling you not to read this or that. I thought liberals were all about 'question everything'? How can you question anything when you refuse to subject yourself to an opposing point of view?

Ann Coulter's writings are exactly as inflammatory and over-the-top as every other paid political commentator. This doesn't invalidate the facts she presents, any more than Michael Moore being a fat capitalist jackass means our health care system is perfect.

Yet you have been convinced by a biased summary of the book to not even consider the argument. Liberals are always talking about how horrible religion is, yet liberalism is the biggest cult operating today. Keep drinking the Kool-Aid, don't ask too many questions, and for the love of Gore don't read the forbidden text. Them's evil!

calligraph,

This guy is trying to say that El Duce, a man who claimed to have invented fascism, wasn't a fascist. Think about that for a while, then try to come up with a reason why he shouldn't ridiculed.

That should, of course, read "shouldn't be ridiculed"

"Ann Coulter's writings are exactly as inflammatory and over-the-top as every other paid political commentator."

That would be an amazing phenomenon, for all the paid political commentators to be exactly as inflammatory as all the other ones. It would also be a great feat and a great waste of time if you actually had the knowledge that could support such a claim. You can go on Google and take a browse of Ann Coulter's most outrageous comments and learn for yourself which just about everyone else already knows--that Ann Coulter is much much worse that just about everyone else. The National Review can make this distinction (and did in 2001 when they fired her), why can't you?

I haven't read Goldberg's book, since it just came out. But I do know enough about the history of social democracy, fascism, and indeed liberalism (which is non-sensically applied to the European left, whether socialist or not) to know that the thesis is deeply wrong. Some people actually believe Goldberg when he says that he's talking about some "secret" that hasn't been researched before. It has, very thoroughly. It doesn't have to be done all over again just because some guy with a bachelor's in TV production wrote a book about it.

There was a disturbing connection between some socialists and fascism (disturbing, precisely because the fascists were anti-socialist and in reality anathema to actual socialist principles!). Some socialists (as well as people on every part of the political spectrum) joined the Nazis. But their policies were clearly closest to those in the other right wing parties. This is basic historical fact, and Goldberg's failing to grasp elementary conceptual distinctions doesn't change it.

Mussolini was on the violent, revolutionary left before he founded the fascists. And this makes him like Hillary Clinton how?

The pre-history of the publication of the book (going on 2 years now) says a lot about conservativeopinion leaders and the kinds of stupidity they're willing to be associated with. The book started out with the subtitle: "from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton". Maybe that sounded just like yet another over-the-top anti-Clinton book, so he dug his hole deeper and made it: "From Hegel to Whole Foods" Wha? A constitutional monarchist who believed in individual rights, to an organic grocery owned by a libertarian? Now he's back to Mussolini and Hillary, except Hillary's now associated with the "politics of meaning". The politics of meaning!!! Can you hear the Gestapo at the door?!?! If you have such a warped version of Clinton-hate that you equate the mainstream American left with totalitarian, militarist dictatorship, then yes, I'm sure you can.

This guy is trying to say that El Duce, a man who claimed to have invented fascism, wasn't a fascist.

How, exactly, is he 'trying to say this'? Do you have the direct quote from his writing that makes this claim? Or are you repeating some filtered summary of the book?

And assuming your statement is correct, do you really feel that finding fault with one argument out of a thousand invalidates the entire content of the book? This is a common liberal misconception - that if you can find some superficial contradiction or a single point of contention, you can dismiss the entirety of the contrary position. Jon tried this method in his 'interview', when he said "Liberal fascism ... isn't that an oxymoron?" Sure it is. So is jumbo shrimp. Both exist.

That would be an amazing phenomenon, for all the paid political commentators to be exactly as inflammatory as all the other ones. It would also be a great feat and a great waste of time if you actually had the knowledge that could support such a claim. You can go on Google and take a browse of Ann Coulter's most outrageous comments

And you can do the same with Michael Moore, Al Franken, Bill Maher, and so on. The difference is you agree with their ideological stance, so you don't think their insulting tones and outrageous claims are worth noting.

The National Review can make this distinction (and did in 2001 when they fired her), why can't you?

Jon Stewart was fired by MTV. Bill Maher was fired by CBS. Getting fired doesn't mean someone has done a critical evaluation of your work. It generally means some sponsor squeezed.

And I am capable of making 'this distinction', because unlike you I have read Ann Coulter's books and articles. Even though I disagree with her about abortion and religion, and she has an uncanny ability to make herself look like an ass, her writing is still excellent and the facts she brings to the surface are often entirely ignored by the liberal media.

I haven't read Goldberg's book

Bingo. Yet here you are dismissing it. Jon Stewart didn't read the book before he interviewed the author, either, which is insulting. It's like knowledge is anathema to the liberal mind: like they ask "will I agree with this?" before they read anything.

If you have such a warped version of Clinton-hate that you equate the mainstream American left with totalitarian, militarist dictatorship

You are joking, right? Left-wing America is the proud symbol bearer of outrageous hyperbole. Your guy Olbermann makes his living basically portraying a TV talking head as Satan incarnate and our government as blackshirts.

Liberal America's doctrine is fascistic. There is no rebutting that point, it is fact. And there are degrees of fascism: one instance does not have to be exactly the same as the other in order to analogize them.

Dende Blogger is not a fan of either Olbermann, nor Bill Maher, nor Jon Stewart. If you go back in the archives, you will see that Dende Blogger always responds in a calm and even-handed manner.

do you really feel that finding fault with one argument out of a thousand invalidates the entire content of the book? This is a common liberal misconception

Of course not, but the fact that you limit the criticism to liberals brands you either as an idiot, or intentionally dishonest in your rhetoric. It is not unlike Jonah Goldberg's questionable use of the term fascism in the title of his book. He has joined the Ann Coulter school of writing. It seems you may be a student there as well. A question for you right-wingers. Do you think that type of rhetoric is more common from the right or on the left?

As for Ann Coulter being fired or deciding to quit, who knows, but Here is what Goldberg himself had to say about it...

So let me be clear: We did not "fire" Ann for what she wrote, even though it was poorly written and sloppy. We ended the relationship because she behaved with a total lack of professionalism, friendship, and loyalty.

her writing is still excellent

So you disagree with your buddy Goldberg?

Of course not, but the fact that you limit the criticism to liberals brands you either as an idiot, or intentionally dishonest in your rhetoric.

... or, possibly, that I am making one argument of many. You don't have to address every argument, all at once, in order to lend your argumentation credence.

Goldberg answers a similar charge - he is very critical of Bush and the Bush administration, even devoting a chapter to it in this book. Claims that he is 'ignoring' one side of the problem are based in the same ignorance as all other claims about his position.

It is not unlike Jonah Goldberg's questionable use of the term fascism in the title of his book.

But his use of the word is not questionable. His basic position is correct: the true meaning of the term 'fascism' has been forgotten, and instead replaced with Pink Floyd-esque images of jackbooted thugs hammering people into submission. Liberal ideology (the progressive, nanny-state ideals that we are preached today as liberalism) are inherently fascist - look how anyone who dares question the liberal dogma is rapidly pigeonholed, character-assassinated, and dismissed.

Do you think that type of rhetoric is more common from the right or on the left?

I'm sorry - this is coming from the person who every day posts Olbermann's personal rant, right? Goldberg nailed Olbermann precisely: he's the answer to a question nobody asked.

As for Ann Coulter being fired or deciding to quit, who knows, but Here is what Goldberg himself had to say about it...So you disagree with your buddy Goldberg?

Certainly. Again, you are being totalitarian: I can agree with Goldberg on some issues and disagree with him on others.

Note, though, that he does not impugn her research or conclusions. He just says she has a lack of 'professionalism, friendship, and loyalty', which seems more of a club mentality than anything. Interestingly this is the same reason liberals dismiss Coulter. They claim she's too 'abrasive'. But Bill Maher calling the 9/11 terrorists 'courageous'? That's fine! Michael Moore calling Al-Qaeda 'freedom fighters'? No problem!

I can understand Goldberg's position: Coulter is more than a bit histrionic, and in order to lend his position more credence he wishes to distance himself from that type of behavior. But I give her (and Goldberg) more leeway than I give liberal writers/commentators, precisely because there are so few conservative writers/commentators allowed to publish their positions in the modern, liberal-influenced media market.

I can understand Goldberg's position: Coulter is more than a bit histrionic

As you are, and as I can be at times. But for you to go after Dende Blogger on this same basis was uncalled for.

"I haven't read Goldberg's book 'Bingo. Yet here you are dismissing it.'"

I'm dismissing the thesis. It's farily easy, if the thesis contradicts a massive number of historical facts. Are you agnostic about the Holocaust? If not, and you think it happened, how can you say that if you haven't read the books of every Holocaust denier? Just because a new book comes out claiming that Hillary Clinton is a fascist, doesn't mean we have to read that book before we decide whether she is. All we have to know is the relevant evidence.

Of course, I'd probably learn a lot more about the right-wing fantasy world that Goldberg lives in if I read his book. In that world, people know that Hillary is a fascist before they read the book. But since Goldberg seems to be referring to the actual world, no, I don't have to read his whole book to know whether fascism is a fundamentally left wing movement (as Goldberg claims). If Goldberg were to claim that he had new historical evidence, that would be one thing. But he doesn't claim to have any new evidence. He just claims that the "academic trade-guild" has suppressed the truth that he's plainly stating.

Once you read this--Goldberg's outrageous claim that all the major historians of fascism only disagree with him because they're left-wing shills, we can stop reading right there (how close-minded, I know). He's not interested in convincing anyone, in changing the mind of any informed reader. He's only interesting in selling books and stoking up anti-Hillary ire in people who are already "know" perfectly well that Hillary Clinton is as hateful as Mussolini.

"Liberal ideology (the progressive, nanny-state ideals that we are preached today as liberalism) are inherently fascist - look how anyone who dares question the liberal dogma is rapidly pigeonholed, character-assassinated, and dismissed."

First of all, the states that the fascists set up should be described by no one as analogous to a nanny. If you think that, you don't know what a nanny is. I don't like to be nannied, and I don't like to be kicked in the head, but that doesn't make the two the same.

I'm arguing with you and Goldberg, saying your claims are ridiculous. Is that hurting your feelings? Is it just like rounding you up and taking you to a concentration camp? Like putting you in a ghetto? Like invading Ethiopia just to effect a militaristic rebirth of the nation? The hyper-sensitivity that is sometimes rightly associated with the left is alive and well among people who claim that their ideology is the mentality of the tough indvidualist, the thick-skinned cowboy. The fact that you and your views are derided and mocked, as impolite as it may be, does not make your opponents fascists.

But more importantly, every significant political, religious, and ideological faction on the planet has at some time engaged in authoritarian, dissent-stifling practices. It's one of the fundamental insights of liberalism (classical and modern) that we should resist this impulse, an impulse liberals themselves aren't immune to. Similarly the New Left has some anti-liberal elements. But saying that this makes the American Left "inherently" fascist is so dumb that it defies comprehension. First it implies that the Right's association with these forms of intimidation and authoritarianism is non-existent or inconsequential (which is ludicrous because there are now and have been for a long time, elements of the American right which do act like fascists and indeed call themselves fascists!). Secondly it establishes a particular political affinity on a near-universal phenomenon. It's like saying that violent gangs must be Islamic radicals, because both engage in violence.

Unfortunately for Goldberg's reputation among intelligent people, experts on the history of the radical right actually pay attention to these grand book tours, and do waste precious hours of life reading his drivel. An excellent review rom David Neiwert:

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=jonahgoldbergsbizarro_history

"Dende Blogger is not a fan of either Olbermann, nor Bill Maher, nor Jon Stewart. If you go back in the archives, you will see that Dende Blogger always responds in a calm and even-handed manner."

Thanks for the defense. I think calligraph doesn't know who he's referring to when he says I'm a big Michael Moore fan. I think I like Stewart best of the three, though he bugs me sometimes. I laugh at Maher from time to time. Olbermann I can't quite stand anymore.

Sorry for the long posts, all.

Sorry for the long posts, all.

You're not sorry really - I hope. Your post is excellent and the link of the review written by David Neiwert is excellent too. One passage sums thing up nicely,

Along the way, he grotesquely misrepresents the state of academia regarding the study of fascism, which, while widely varying in many regards, has seen a broad consensus develop regarding certain ineluctable traits that are uniquely and definitively fascist: its populism and ultranationalism, its anti-intellectualism, its carefully groomed culture of violence, its insistence that it represents the true national identity, its treatment of dissent as treason, and what Oxford Brookes scholar Roger Griffin calls its "palingenesis" -- that is, its core myth of a phoenix-like rebirth of the national identity in the mold of a nonexistent Golden Age. And, of course, it has historically always been vigorously -- no, viciously -- anti-liberal.

Now, when Goldberg is pressed in his Salon interview with questions that raise these issues, he gives replies like, "That's a good question..." - and he provides no satisfactory answers. Goldberg's agenda is clear - smear Hillary Clinton and liberals as "bad" and what could be worse than calling them fascists? It is so Karl Rove, isn't it? Attack your opponents' strength - and if your accusations smear your opponents with a brush that really should be used to paint your fellow travelers, so much the better! In reality, of course, no US government in history has veered as far into the territory described by Neiwert as that of (surprise) George W. Bush.

I'm dismissing the thesis.

Without reading his argumentation. That's not intellectual dismissal, it's reactionary dismissal.

First of all, the states that the fascists set up should be described by no one as analogous to a nanny.

Such dishonest argumentation, it boggles the mind. You are claiming that because a fascist state established in the past had facets which could be described as 'anti-nanny', it is impossible to establish a nanny fascist state - even when the candidate you're defending has explicitly advocated just such a state?

I'm arguing with you and Goldberg, saying your claims are ridiculous. Is that hurting your feelings? Is it just like rounding you up and taking you to a concentration camp?

Are you even capable of discerning the difference between fascist rhetoric and fascist action? Are you really claiming that something cannot be labeled fascism until it has manifested itself in all the stereotypical ways we have been brainwashed to recognize it?

First it implies that the Right's association with these forms of intimidation and authoritarianism is non-existent or inconsequential

It implies nothing of the sort, anymore than my saying your car is blue means my car is not blue.

Stop lying. You refuse to read the argument, and then attempt to justify it by willfully misrepresenting the argument. Your only exposure to the argument comes from the selectively-chosen opinions of people who think just like you (otherwise, as we've established, you wouldn't bother to read them either).

You're a dogmatist masquerading as an intellectual - the typical liberal.

Did anybody actually see Jonah Goldberg on Jon Stewart's show? Goldberg owned Jon in that interview.

I saw it completely differently. I saw a guy who is supposed to be an intellectual and a thinker get completely picked apart and made to look like an idiot by a comedy talk show host.

And I am capable of making 'this distinction', because unlike you I have read Ann Coulter's books and articles.

There are a lot of really smart people writing books for me to waste time reading that half-wit. How about Rush? Is he on your reading list? Try reading something good and then come back and comment. I suggest something by John Ralston Saul—in my opinion the most insightful intellectual and polymath of our era. Would you say that of Coulter or Goldberg?

"unlike you I have read Ann Coulter's books and articles."

It seems you're quite proud of this fact. Coulter's a big favorite of right wing readers, judging by sales numbers. But you're not going to find her stuff on the "best 100 conservative books" list anywhere. The books are mainly big bags of loosely connected facts scraped up by research assistants, like most of the other books people promote on shows like Jon Stewart, etc.

"First it implies that the Right's association with these forms of intimidation and authoritarianism is non-existent or inconsequential It implies nothing of the sort, anymore than my saying your car is blue means my car is not blue."

Yes, it does imply that, or else it empties the term fascism of all meaning. If the practice of "pigeonhol[ing], character-assassinat[ing], and dismiss[ing]" is the aspect of liberalism that makes it fascist, as you claim it is, then it would seem that the right is also "inherently fascist" unless they're free of these relatively mild sins. But that would be even more absurd. But it doesn't really matter, since that's not fascism anyway. Fascism is something more than bad manners and "big government".

You should read Michael Ledeen's review of Goldberg's book. Thankfully, unlike myself he's not a liberal pseudo-liberal-intellectual liberal. He's a pro-war conservative at the NRO who happens to know something about fascism. Unlike Goldberg. Not to worry. Your whole sense of self-worth and all your political convictions need not rest on Liberal Fascism being a good book. I'd venture to say that one can still go on believing that Hillary Clinton is really horrible even after the realization that Jonah Goldberg is not very sharp. It's okay to let go.

Goldberg is Ledeen's "buddy and boss at NRO". Which explains why Ledeen demolishes every one of Goldberg's major claims in the nicest way possible.

Ledeen's review: http://pajamasmedia.com/xpress/michaelledeen/2008/01/14/fascismliberaland_otherwise.php

"You're a dogmatist masquerading as an intellectual - the typical liberal."

Maybe it's just deja vu, but I think I've been called that before by conservative trolls on blogs. My conservative students disagree, however. You don't know much at all about my intellectual credentials or record, the candidates I defend (I don't think), or my taste in left-wing TV personalities. Your rant is largely about me; do you expect the people reading this to believe that you have any idea what or who you're talking about?

You do have some sense that I am a liberal. And you seem to be positive, on that basis, that I'm very bad. I'm a dogmatist, I'm oppressing you and all conservatives by my very existence, and I want to nanny you, "pigeonhole" you, "character-assassinate" you or whatever other horrific, fascistic things as well. Which innoculates you against giving a single inch to anything I or any other liberal says. That's the most important function of Ann Coulter and now Jonah Goldberg: to make conservatives feel that if they ever start believing anything liberal, they should remember that these are deceptive, depraved people who only want to destroy you and all you hold dear. That's why Bill O'Reilly, when Judge Napolitano on Fox explained how the Patriot Act really was contrary to the 4th and 5th amendments, reassured himself by pointing out the "liberals were blowing it all out of proportion."

"My conservative students disagree, however."

Professor D: Good morning class. Before I pass out the final exam today, I'd like for all the conservative students who think I am a dogmatist masquerading as an intellectual to please stand up and state your name.

Cricket: Chirp, Chirp

Professor D: See Calligraph?

Syngas,

That's cute, but I'm afraid your behind the times with respect to student feedback about their professors. Student evaluations and sites like pick-a-prof enable students to express their opinions in a manner that renders your dialog irrelevant. So, you can choose to disbelieve dende blogger's claim, but I can tell you from personal experience that students are not at all shy about expressing their opinions.

Syngas,

That's cute, but I'm afraid you're behind the times with respect to student feedback about their professors. Student evaluations and sites like pick-a-prof enable students to express their opinions in a manner that renders your dialog irrelevant. So, you can choose to disbelieve dende blogger's claim, but I can tell you from personal experience that students are not at all shy about expressing their opinions.

That's good news Tim!

Now I'm just missing one piece of info...

Now I'm just missing one piece of info...

Lemme guess,

I'm a chemistry professor - even when explicitly queried by students in class, I steadfastly avoid discussing politics in front of an audience that came, in principle, to learn about chemistry.

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