Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Review of Goldberg and Stewart

Into The Shallows

Jon Stewart’s interview of Jonah Goldberg reveals a real problem with the liberal movement today – intellectual shallowness. Mr. Goldberg has written a well-researched book with the admittedly provocative title “Liberal Fascists”.

Now as a registered democrat (but not necessarily a practicing one), I am finding this book both fascinating and uncomfortable to read. To be presented with a new look at the historical origins of so many liberal ideologies using original newspaper articles and letters is wonderful. But to discover that many of these ideas have fascist and communist origins and to learn that these ideas under the more benevolent guise of socialism are still current today is squirm inducing.

Mr. Stewart doesn’t want to acknowledge history. He and his ilk want to continue to pretend that The Left is untainted by its ancestry. And his attack on Mr. Goldberg reveals a hollowness that is disappointing. Mr. Goldberg is not calling liberals fascists. Indeed in his preface he makes that perfectly clear. He is simply arguing that the liberal high ground is not built upon as strong a foundation as they would like to think. Hitler was a vegetarian. That does not make all vegetarians fascists. Forcing everyone to become a vegetarian, however, is fascist.

The New Left pushes in various degrees a socialist agenda. Socialism by its very nature expects all peoples to do the same thing, to work towards the same goal. It is about the people and not the individual. Depending on how far one is willing to force people to do things determines whether you have mild-socialist tendencies or are a full-blown totalitarian.

Although The Daily Show is a fake news show, Mr. Stewart tries to inject some meaningful exchanges, some make-you-think stuff, into his show. But it is clear he doesn’t want to think about history, doesn’t want to know where his belief system originated. And he is quite willing to knee-jerk react against unpleasant news.

How disappointing from a man who has taken several real newscasters to task for their actions. But it is the shallowness of the response that disappoints me. When Mr. Stewart interviewed Chris Horner about his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Environment, I got a real sense that Mr. Stewart had found the arguments persuasive. Mr. Goldberg’s book cuts a little too deep for Mr. Stewart and he reacts with ad hominen derision instead of a more reasonable response. Perhaps a lack of writing staff is the problem.

Or more likely, perhaps Mr. Stewart, like all newscasters is irredeemably biased towards the socialist tendency of telling us what to think instead of telling us the news. It is this intellectual shallowness that disappoints the most.

It doesn’t feel good, does it Mr. Stewart? For so long, liberals have been allowed to say horrible things about conservatives (thanks in part to rather clever communist propaganda) without anyone checking to make sure those liberal taunts were true or not. Lazy Liberals, unwilling to turn to facts when truthiness is so much easier a weapon to wield.

Tired of being tarred with the Nazi brush, Mr. Goldberg’s book exposes some inconvenient truths about liberals. The polite conservatives are tired of left-wingers screaming nasty lies and fight back with facts, science, and documented history. Mr. Stewart and all liberals in the media should take a long deep breath before arguing with Mr. Goldberg from a false position. Accept that the history of the liberal movement may not be as purely motivated as they believed. That some of their ideas have been badly used. And then argue how to make things better. And not more of the same, intellectual laziness of shouting loudest. We can turn off the TV and go back to reading, you know.

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