Jonah Goldberg

 My most recent TRB column ("Trite Makes Right") took on Jonah Goldberg's contention that liberals, because they make their arguments less openly, recite clichés more often than conservatives do. Part of the fun in attacking Goldberg is that he is (to borrow a favorite phrase of Reuters press columnist Jack Shafer) a slow-moving target that bleeds profusely when hit. Goldberg has nowreplied to my column in classic Goldberg fashion, i.e. by asserting that his thoughts are too subtle (and too frequently expressed in Latin phrases) to be grasped by mental pygmies such as ...

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My most recent TRB column ("Trite Makes Right") took on Jonah Goldberg's contention that liberals, because they make their arguments less openly, recite clichés more often than conservatives do. Part of the fun in attacking Goldberg is that he is (to borrow a favorite phrase of Reuters press columnist Jack Shafer) a slow-moving target that bleeds profusely when hit. Goldberg has now replied to my column in classic Goldberg fashion, i.e. by asserting that his thoughts are too subtle (and too frequently expressed in Latin phrases) to be grasped by mental pygmies such as ...

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 ... like Jonah Goldberg did. But my latest TRB column points out that there's no shortage of conservative cliches, either.

In his new book, The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, Jonah Goldberg argues that liberals “advance ideological agendas that would expand and enhance the State’s mastery over our lives” by parroting hoary maxims and phrases. That bit alleging subjugation by the capital-S State is right-wing cant, but Goldberg’s accusation that liberals often spout clichés is so unchallengeable that I marvel he got a whole book out of it. Yet Goldberg won’t admit that conservatives often do the same.

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With Mitt Romney re-establishing himself, after the unpleasantness in South Carolina, as the Republicans' de facto nominee, I thought it would be fun to offer some sort of prize--say, a bronze replica of the 1939 Molotov-Von Ribbentrop pact--to the first Fox News personality to endorse Romney's absurd claim that Romneycare (good) was entirely different from Obamacare (bad). I never dreamed that Ann Coulter would beat me to the punch. She's never been much good at playing with the other children.

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When assessing Rick Perry and the anti-intellectualism issue, here's one thing to keep in mind. Conservatives generally believe not only that George W. Bush was a true intellectual, but that this question has been settled by history, and awaits only the apologies of those who questioned the 43rd president's intellectual curiosity.

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Jonah Goldberg argues that there's no point in having a debt limit if we just raise it automatically: Here’s a question for those who insist we must have a “clean” hike in the debt limit. Why have a debt limit at all? I mean if it should automatically be raised the second you reach it without precondition, isn’t it a purely arbitrary and fictional barrier? I tried to make this point last night on Special Report, and it came out a bit clumsy, in part because I used the mathematically rigorous term “kuh-trillion.” The whole point about a debt limit is that it is supposed to be a limit.

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The right's reaction to the demonstrations in Egypt has been fascinating to watch. It's certainly true that history is replete with examples of liberal revolutions that proceeded to take a decidedly illiberal turn. Even those of us thrilling at the sight of the peaceful, universalistic, cross-secular march in Egypt can fear about the potential for a well-organized Islamist minority to seize control of the government after Mubarak falls.

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Jonah Goldberg winnows the serious GOP field, and the finalists are: That leaves us with a top tier of five front-runners: Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Pawlenty, and Daniels. Romney is the organizational front-runner; Daniels is the first pick of wonks and D. C. eggheads; Palin probably has the most devoted following among actual voters; Gingrich will dominate the debates; and Pawlenty (vying with Daniels) is the least disliked. I can think of one hopeful who's going to be upset he's not on this list...

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] Jonah Goldberg, author of the book Liberal Fascism, on C-Span this weekend: One of the great failures of my book is that it has popularized the use of 'fascism' as an epithet. And one of the things I was hoping to do, and I failed miserably, is shut down the use of the word 'fascist' as an epithet. Instead it's become bipartisan. And I don't like it. I don't think it's all that helpful. It might help my books sales, but that's not what I had hoped to do. Poor Goldberg. I hope the big sales numbers make him feel better.

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