Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

New UC Berkeley Center May Investigate Ashbrook

and Claremont, Hillsdale, Heritage, AEI, et al. I thought California had a budget crisis, but the expanding boundaries of scholarship require the
Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements.
I recall way back when journalists compared Goldwater and Hitler. "From which political direction the financing for this latest effort is coming is masked. The donorfs request for anonymity may be more to ward off requests for other contributions than for political reasons." The usual suspects, such as this feminist scholar and sociologist Lawrence Rosenthal, are in charge.

Discussions - 45 Comments

"I recall way back when journalists compared Goldwater and Hitler."

On the other hand, Lucianne Goldberg's son excreted a book just last year, full of comparisons between Hitler and contemporary American liberals, such as Hillary Clinton.

Craig, your point is about 1/4 fair. Goldberg (if you read the book) was at pains to describe the similarities between 1930s fascists and modern liberals in terms of their common orientation to romantic statism and corporatism rather than through totalitarianism or any attempt to ban multipart elections. The commentary on Goldwater was simply to stigmatize him and his supporters as Nazis, full stop.

An especially terrible example was a report by Daniel Schorr that Goldwater was going to Germany ("Hitler's old stomping grounds" Schorr helpfully in case anyone missed the point)in order to form an international far right movement. Imagine if Brit Hume tried to link Obama and his supporters not to socialism, not even to communism, but to Stalinism and you get the idea. But that would be wrong.


Scanlon's comment is outrageous.

Why are such people allowed to post?

David Frisk, Craig Scanlon is not outrageous. He is merely wrong. Humorously, he reaffirms the point of the post. He makes an ad hominem attack on the young Goldberg for being his mother's son, probably did not read the book, but presumes a fallacy, because if the man is Right, he must be wrong.

I found that article funny, not threatening. I am really curious about the cross-border right-wing stuff. I know conservatives in a few countries - does that count? Really, don't you wonder what they are going to find in their studying? I think I really like the idea of the left studying the right. Just think, it might mean they actually listen to Limbaugh or read Sowell and can you imagine a left-wing student's dissertation on Buckley?


Scanlon's comment, given its content, was outrageous. That's what I said. I took no position on the Berkeley institute, not knowing much about it. The study of the right by the left is nothing new. While I have nothing against it, the study of the right by the right is more promising and there isn't enough of it. The right also needs to study the left, as Goldberg has. Many on the right who could be doing better things are preoccupied with trivia.

Didn't read the book, did you Craig?

Definitely didn't read the book or even a review about the book. Just looked at the cover. I didn't even realize he was talking about Jonah Goldberg's book until I read a couple of the other comments.

When are we going to see an investigation of all the terrorist sympathizers in the colleges today?

Wow, it's amazing how people I've never met know what I have and haven't read. Expected a bit better from Kate, but oh well. Anyway, what I said is true. Goldberg DOES make numerous comparisons between Hitler (and other fascists) and contemporary American liberals and liberalism (that probably explains his quasi-celeb status among the Right to some degree).

And yes, I've read the book, although I admit the final chapter and the afterword were hard to endure.

I've also read serious works about fascism, namely Paxton's and I'm just starting Michael Mann's. One thing a reader will notice right away is that those books are much heavier on detail and display a broader, deeper knowledge of political history and ideologies of all sorts, and also noticeably lack the cutesy pop culture references.

Lastly, Kate, I've logged literally hundreds of hours listening to Limbaugh. Not a whole lot lately - maybe 2 hrs. per week now - but I would endure his whole show (and I wasn't a fan then, either) on a pretty regular basis back in the mid- to late-90s.

Craig, you are an unusual web denzien...if you're here to keep us honest, you might be contributing to the sort of society Herbert Croly envisioned on the very last page of his Progressive Democracy here on No Left Turns: "A society of this kind...would be bathed in eager, good-humored and tireless criticism, and the bath would purify as well as clease."

But if your're here in the spirit of always nit-picking, always finding the flaw, the inconsistency, the hypocrisy, and then always magnifying it, well...when you're like that, and FYI it's my impression that you have been that way more of late, it's a little strange. (for example, I didn't like the way you jumped on Schramm's apolitical sharing his SUV photo about a week ago, and I can't say I like the "3/4 unfair" tone here. Jus' one man's impression...) Given what you report about listening to Limbaugh, I guess you're a sort of apostate from conservatism, who seeks to draw others from its flawed fold? Or who hopes that through tireless criticism, the fold itself might be made less complacent, have it's "left ear" opened a bit? You're not a hit-and-run troll tossing slogans around, you often have criticism of substance, and you've been commenting here (I think) longer than I have.

If I am being impolitely curious about your motivations, or if you think I'm asking you to stop commenting, I sincerely apologize. No reply to my intrusiveness is thus necessary, but I am sincerely curious about your motive for commenting here on NLT, given your basic distaste for our politics. I guess it's a bit like me still subscribing to the The New Republic or occassionaly buying other liberal mags...

Kate, you make a good point--let liberals read Buckley and co. in a serious way for once in their lives. That's one more way, incidentally, in which Craig is pretty unusual.

Craig: Your dismissmal of Goldberg's tome/thesis as unserious ("I've also read serious works about fascism...") -- no doubt because it comes from an ideological Rightist -- is predictable. Okay, so you've done your condescending duty to insult it and the author. Now please spell out for me all the ways in which the book and its thesis/history are incorrect.

Carl, yes, it is.

I can't help it, Craig, I liked the Goldberg book. I had been making connections between those folks who look to enlarging government as the answer to America's ills and Fascists for some many years. I was delighted to hear that someone was writing about that, though I though Goldberg could have gone on about the economic similarities between American liberalism and Fascism quite a bit more. When I did read it, I had just finished reading, The Three New Deals, which was not written by someone on the Right. From the product description: Returning to the Depression, Schivelbusch traces the emergence of a new type of state: bolstered by mass propaganda, led by a charismatic figure, and projecting stability and power. He uncovers stunning similarities among the three regimes: the symbolic importance of gigantic public works programs.... I read some other book prior, I forget the title and author, as I could just read for fun, back then, but that book was about the competition between Democracy, Communism and Fascism and said, (which I liked, because I had been saying it for a long while) that of the three, Fascism, as an economic system, seemed to have won out by the end of the century. I used to ask people I thought would know, if the people in a democracy continue to elect representatives who are inclined to increase the power of the state at the expense of individual freedom, is that still fascism? I have probably written about this before on NLT and have probably raised the question with you, before, too.

I think the comparisons Goldberg made about the way political "enemies" are characterized by the Left were very apt. That first book you cite, in the review, below on that page you offer, says, The folks at MoveOn.org notwithstanding, George Bush is no Hitler, John Ashcroft likely no fascist. among other things. That qualifier, "likely" about Ashcroft makes me laugh. Do you think Ashcroft was a likely fascist?

Enough rambling. I will stand aside with Omar and wait to hear the details of the Goldberg Variations from truth.

It is also worth keeping in mind the ways that Goldberg compared modern liberals (and compassionate conservatives)to fascists. He did not argue that any of the American groups would put us into a recognizably Nazi state, but that the more contemporary groups shared certain bad ideas in common. There is alot to dispute in this analysis even if you accept Goldberg's thesis that 1930s fascists (or whatever) shared with modern liberals a romantic view of the role of the state and a corporatist orientation towards social organization. One can reasonably argue that even if these similarities are real, they are not especially meaningful compared to their differences. That is alot different from simply dismissing Goldberg's argument as simply comparing Clinton with Hitler and Goldberg's interpretation is alot more reasonable (in the sense that he gives reasons rather than invective) than the 1960s comparisons of Goldwater to a Nazi.

Pete, that was part of what Schivelbusch concluded, that there were those similarities in the basic bad ideas of what the state is and can/ought to do with its power. Given where the New Deal has brought us and our new Progressive model of government, the differences begin to diminish, as in this headline of today, "Obama asserts gov't control over the auto industry."

The study of conservatives in their natural habitat--that's what Goldberg calls "Conservatives in the Mist". No "Other"-izing going on here, folks. Move along.

Clearly, there is nothing to this "Liberal Fascism"-business. If there were, then we would be seeing things like the regimentation of business and commerce, a Cult of Personality, a quarter-million Dear Leader youth movement funded by government and bills in the legislature designed to diminish the voices of the opposition in broadcasting.

And just because Hillary is receiving the Frau Sanger Award this week--zat proves nuzzink! Nuzzink, I tell you!

Don't forget the Civilian National Security Force. Nothing of historical note to cause concern over that proposal . . .

Some good stuff on this subject by Megan McArdle over at http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/ and Goldberg over at http://liberalfascism.nationalreview.com/

My read is that conservatives should sharpen their rhetorical skill at attacking corporatism on its merits before they focus on explaining corporatism's connection to fascism. To reverse the order risks sounding crazy to those people (the majority) who associate fascism with militarism, dictatorship ect, rather than indirect government control of the economy.

In fact I say so on my own blog at http://www.thenextright.com/blogs/pete

Shameless self promotion for everybody!

Carl - I'm here because I find it interesting and occasionally enlightening in some sense. I'm not an "apostate from conservatism" - as I think I pointed out, I've never been a fan of Limbaugh. But I did and do listen to him - carefully.

I hardly think that a Hummer purchase by someone who leads a blog that is constantly dissecting the hows and whys of manliness and that will politically analyze a ham (or tofu) sandwich if given the opportunity - that's not necessarily "apolitical." Actually, it is political. If Professor So-and-So of Liberal College buys a Prius, thats telling us something, so then all is fair.

As for Goldberg and his book, no Omar and Kate, I will not bother to "spell out for [you] all the ways in which the book and its thesis/history are incorrect." That would not be time well spent; I'd just as likely devote an afternoon to convincing Kate that torture is wrong (or that America's done it, and it's wrong then, too).

I'll say this, Goldberg DOES try to draw comparisons that say "Danger!" between Hitler and contemporary liberals, and most of them are pretty laughable. For example, he really gets worked up about the fact that Hitler was a vegetarian - and of course how American vegetarians often tend to be liberal in their politics (I suppose - has definitive research been done on this? My guess is that it's becoming less lopsided.). As with so much of what he expounds on, my thought was "So? Should a reasonable person actually see this as ominous in some palpable way?"

Goldberg knew that his book would be seen as a warning bell (especially if a Dem took the White House), and of course that's precisely how its fans utilize it (see Glenn Beck and his shrill, unstable cries of (please note, Pete) "totalitarianism" followed by a Goldberg appearance where no correction to that description is offered).

It should also be mentioned, Pete, that he conspicuously avoids using the term "fascist" in the chapter (afterword, really - afterthought?) where he scolds/warns "compassionate conservatives" from straying too far from the orthodox flock. And he does directly use the term "totalitarian" after quoting a boring Hillary Clinton commencement speech - he calls it "the most thoroughly totalitarian conception of politics offered by a leading American political figure in the last half century."

So, he's warning us to watch out for the liberal fascists, but doesn't think there's anything to be concerned about with the Bush administration? Nothing? Nothing to worry about from kill-em-or-convert-em Ann Coulter? Nothing troublesome to be found in Michelle Malkin's defense/promotion of internment camps? Nothing to be bothered by in the DESTROY-the-UN rhetoric of John Bolton?

Well, I would guess none of that would bother a guy who said:


"I've long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the "Ledeen Doctrine"...here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words:


'Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.'"

We should fret about some deeper, dark significance to Social Security or Medicare, but we should not notice that Goldberg's own disdain for the anti-war "types" smacks of... well, I don't wanna say it. He said:


"If peace cannot be attained through strength, I invite one of these bespectacled, purse-carrying, rice-paper-skinned sandalistas to walk out into a prison yard."

I also think a fundamental flaw of Goldberg's book is the notion that one can, with any precision, locate the "intellectual foundations" of an ideology which so much emphasized action over deliberation, discourse, or...anything at all intellectual. Fascism is notoriously anti-intellectual - obscurantist anti-intellectualism is a key element of fascism.

I don't think Bush or Ashcroft - or Goldberg - are like modern-day fascists. All of this Hitlerizing of people (see, of course, the cover of Goldberg's book, which I'm sure he protested tooth and nail!) is really silly. Get down to the details. What are people saying and doing that poses a danger, and why is it dangerous? It's not as if one has to be just like Hitler or Mussolini to be dangerous. This is where Goldberg's I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I tactics just fall very flat. When you compare and contrast what he sees as dangerous and akin to fascism with what he never mentions and completely ignores (Oklahoma City bombing - National Alliance - William Pierce, in addition to what I mentioned above, plus others), this is when the book looks less and less serious.

Getting back to the original blog-post, I find it interesting that Mr. Thomas has essentially declared Ashbrook to be a (or part of a) right-wing movement. Also, how much can the public know or find out about the financing of Ashbrook?

Kate, how is calling him "Lucianne Goldberg's son" ad hominem? Is there wide agreement that Lucianne is bad or evil? One could use that same description as a compliment - if you admire Lucianne.

His book should be critiqued on its merits, of course. I just like to remember how he came to be relevant to anyone, came to be part of the conservative punditry class. The reason is a stained dress and his mother's involvement with tawdry gossip.

Craig, good points about Beck. When conservatives make those kinds of appeals they just sound crazy. It is a danger that when conservatives attack modern liberalism for its similarities to the corporatist elements of fascism they will tend to associate it with all the other things people hate about fascism or the Nazis. That still doesn't get to Goldberg's main point about some of the common roots of modern liberalism and 1930s fascism. I think that those similarities are less important than Goldberg, but none of your criticisms go to the root of his understanding.As to your other points,

1. One can disagree with Bolton's argument that the UN is corrupt, incompetent, and sometimes dangerous, but that does not fascist or anything. Hyperbole aside, I doubt Bolton has any interest, in using bombs and stuff on the UN. He at most wants the US to leave the UN. I think I know the quote you are refering to and that just is not a fair charecterization of what he was trying to say.

2. The Ledden doctine as articulated really is awful, the idea that in a dangerous world, military strength is needed (the point of the second Goldberg quote reagrding the prison yard) is totally sensible if off color and tending towards cultural streotypes of liberals. One can disagree with the sentiment (and especially the tone), but it is not crazy.

3. One of Goldberg's points was that many of the ideas of fascism are actually much more broadly accepted than we would like to think and especially by people of a liberal persuasion that like to think of themselves as the very model of antifascism. It is no mystery that Neo Nazis are... pretty damn Nazi. They are also marginal to our electoral politics. That much of American mainstream ideology might share some of the political romanticism and corporatism of the fascists is more disturbing...depending on whether you believe that the similarities are real and the weight that you place on the similarities.

4. Your second to last paragraph in post #18 gets to both the strengthts and weaknesses of conservative attempts to link modern liberal ideas and inclinations to fascism. On the one hand there do seem to some similarities regarding the role of politics in life and the state in society. But so what? Why is it dangerous? I happen to think that political romanticism and corporatism are really bad things in themselves. The problem that conservatives are facing is that they need to find ways of explaining to the public why these are bad. Maybe it is true that these things are linked to fascism but that does not free conservatives from having to win the argument on the merits without expecting that linking these bad ideas to the fascists is some kind of argument winning trump.

1. take the whole thing as a compliment. if they want to study you and by doing so attempt to undermine than you must be doing something which encumbers them and by the right left paradigm that has to be good, right?

2. What is the harm? You all love the patriot act and other police state keep us safe fight those terrorist stuff. Remember, why worry about snooping if you have nothing to hide, right?

3. To the liberal guy fighting an uphill battle, I think you are making good points but all the example, counter example stuff just says to me lets just drop the right left paradigm and stop this circular crap. Corporate fascism, fabian socialism, or a form of militant oppression are really about the same thing in the end. I really would not use OKC as an example of right wing terrorism in the sense that timothy mcvey was a right wing extremist considering how many of his helpers were either FBI or ATF informants or the fact that he was basicly found on the scene foaming at the mouth saying get the chip out my head. If you assume that it is a good example of false flag fear mongering then mabye but just drop the right wing part because I don't think it matters. While we are on the topic of Hitler I think OKC looked a lot like the Reichstag fire. I do agree that the Hitlerizing is stupid. I really think we are putting way too much of the evil of the third riech on one man. It really messes up our understanding of the 20th century thinking it was defined by a few madmen who gained power then maintained it by fear. Why do we leave out the entire history of the Eugenics movement when we talk about hitler? Our nations past is just a step behind considering that we rounded up the children of hill folk and forcibly sterlalized them to protect the purity of the race. This happended all over the Western world in the buildup to hitler and similar things are still happening all over the world today. In reality I think that the current world is still being moved by the same ideas. If I was a marxist I might say we have failed to reach a new epoch following the great wars of the past century and we are seeing the same problems bubbling over once more. People should stop looking for a hitler to pin all the evil on is the point of what I am saying. No movement will survive without a large base of like minded individuals. Liberty will only die when their are enough people who no longer value it.

Shorter Craig Scanlon - "How dare you guys call us totalitarian fascists! Everybody knows that it's you Bible-thumping/patriarchal/racist reich-wingers who are the totalitarian fascists."

As I've said before, Craig, you are pathetic even by the very low standards of the left.

Kate, how is calling him "Lucianne Goldberg's son" ad hominem?

No need to play dumb, Craig. You're not smart enough. It was your "excreted" remark which was the ad hominem, as you already knew.

Getting away from this brainless troll for a moment, I'm bemused at the extent to which what Goldberg said has become "Jonah Goldbergs argument". Because he said very little which was new.

(I shouldn't really bother with this, but since I'm trapped on a plane at the moment...)

"No need to play dumb, Craig. You're not smart enough. It was your "excreted" remark which was the ad hominem, as you already knew. Getting away from this brainless troll for a moment..."

Apparently John sees unrestrained ad hominem as legitimate, so perhaps he's complimenting me for my more subtle touch? In any case, John, this is what Kate said:

"He makes an ad hominem attack on the young Goldberg for being his mother's son..." - So, like I said, I fail to see how that is automatically ad hominem. To Lucianne's many fans I'm sure it's a touching moniker.

To Carl Scott, Pete, and Brutus - thanks for the polite discussion. Gotta shut off the "electronic device" for now.

Scanlon, you're a pompous ass, aren't you? I'd promised myself I'd no longer waste time attempting discourse where you were involved, but, you have crossed a very dear line.


Do NOT imply the massacre at Oklahoma City was the work of anyone other than anarchists.

Do NOT imply the government was in any way behind that atrocity.


People died in Oklahoma City. Good people. Children died. People with families died. If you know that pain, then speak, otherwise do not pour your left-wing hate over thier souls.

... since I'm trapped on a plane at the moment..

Extraordinary rendition?

the left wing guy is getting enough criticism in this one and I think right and left are simply mechanisms of social control so I'll take credit for implying a government connection to OKC. I can't imagine what it would be like to loose someone in an act of terror, but I can follow the story and some of those who lost loved ones are unsatisfied with the lack of explanation similar to the now jaded victims families of 911 who are no longer paraded about to support political causes and even called traitors by certain media pundits. I may not have lost anyone I knew on that day but I as all other Americans have to live in a world that is shaped by that moment so I think we all have the right to question the story we are given. The guy who made the detinator was a government informant in OKC, how is this possible? Would you say because both my grandfathers came home from world war II I have no right to discuss this event or less right than someone who lost part of their family tree? I guess we should just follow the line and say richstag fire was started by anarchists just like the nazis said it was.

This thread is awesome. I especially liked Kate's citing Schivelbusch (who is doubly awesome). But come on - let's not romanticize Goldberg. Even if you loved his book, I think it's obvious that sensationalism is more important to this man than a serious analysis of the relationship between Italian fasicism (and I'm not sure why, when I breezed through it, he never mentioned Franco's Spain - maybe I missed it) and Nazism (and, I guess, modern liberalism). But so are people hoping to make some kind of point on blogs. Blast. I negated myself.

Should've put "But this is also the case among those people hoping . . . "



If I'm going to contradict myself, I might as well do it in an articulate manner.

Obama's parents were a Marxist bureaucrat and a college socialist, so he was surrounded by communists since conception. But he wasn't "excreted". Don't say "excreted" when you mean "expelled", unless you were excreted from college.

ps; Clinton tried to blame OKC on Rush Limbaugh, too. But not even Clinton tried to seize radio stations and remove Rush like these new gang of Fasc...sticks.

(and I'm not sure why, when I breezed through it, he never mentioned Franco's Spain - maybe I missed it)

The Franco regime did make use of corporatist measures and among its components was the Spanish Falange, the local body most kindred to European Fascist parties. However, the Nationalist opposition to the Republic comprehended not merely the Falangists, but Carlists, Alfonsine monarchists, and the 'Autonomous Right' of Catholic parliamentarians willing initially to work within the Republic's institutions. The Falangists were by the least consequential element prior to 1936. Gen. Franco himself was a professional soldier whose politics were unknown prior to 1934 and who adhered to no political party prior to 1937. The main ideological currents of the regime antedated Facsism by decades.

Wow. Get busy elsewhere and you never know what you will find on the comment pages of NLT when you get back.

Craig, somewhere between "Lucianne Goldberg's son" and "excreted a book" I thought I was reading an ad hominem attack. I will apologize if that was not the nasty remark it appears to be. Sometimes I forget you only write on here to spread sweetness and light.

Thank you, John, maybe especially for #26.

Thank you, Pete for being much clearer than I know how to be.

Thank you, Craig, for actually explaining a bit when you said you wouldn't. It helped.

I have to agree that the rhetoric of Goldberg's book was not exactly scholarly. Conservatives trying to find the popular voice are not always pleasing, although I admit I laugh at the outrageous stuff. I recognize what I read, Mark Steyn being a favorite, as satirical. Since I do not watch TV I miss most of the offensive stuff mentioned above.

But honestly(!) in a week when the president has taken charge of GM, forcing the resignation of the CEO, and replacing a majority of the board, amidst calls from Democrats in Congress to dictate the compensation of corporate executives, here we are arguing about if it is really arguable that American liberals are inclined to the fascist economic model? No, looking back, really, we are not. We are arguing about whether Bush headed us in that direction, which he indisputably did. and whether or not Jonah Goldberg was nice and/or effective in his book's rhetorical pose. (Yes, if Goldberg did not mention Franco, he should have. Didn't I say I thought the book could be better?)

So maybe Brutus is right and we the people are trapped between a right and left seeking to control us. How do we get out of this fix?

Kate, it wasn't merely the rhetoric of Goldberg's book which wasn't exactly scholarly, it was the content, as well. It's historical revisionism based on Goldberg's desire to settle some personal (I suspect largely imaginary) score. But enough about it - it's already got far more attention than it deserves.

[Ok, as for the ad hominem, I suppose I should have said "wrote" rather than "excreted" but you initially said (comment 4, above) "He makes an ad hominem attack on the young Goldberg for being his mother's son..." - yet again, I still fail to see how referring to Lucianne Goldberg's son as Lucianne Goldberg's son is an ad hominem attack.]

Something to keep in mind about the evil of dictating compensation of corporate executives, thus far I've only heard that being proposed for executives of corporations that came begging (via corporate jets) for bailouts from the government. The Right is happy to suggest government checks and controls on individuals who go on the dole (see Craig Blair (R-WV) and his proposal to run drug tests on social welfare recipients), so why should they oppose this? Again, too many participants (esp. corporate titans) in the marketplace are happy to suggest that the market be free if that entails their competition going under, but if it entails corporate welfare or post-failure bailouts, then their commitment to the ideology suddenly vanishes. And too many supposedly "principled" free-market ideologues strike me as silent, or at least having pretty muted protests to the whole thing.

But the most salient example of the right's confusion (and frankly, flat-out idiocy) over the present political-economic situation can be found in the paranoid (and popular!) rantings of former Ashbrook guest of honor Glenn Beck. This guy perfectly represents Orwell's observation that the term fascism has been watered to mean nothing more than "something undesireable" (or perhaps even down to "things that Glenn Beck and his biggest fans find undesireable"). For a tidy smackdown of Beck's LATEST bloviations, see here - you might notice that Beck even trotted out the same dicey, self-serving definition that Kate has offered here previously.

I thought the "I don't watch television" badge of honor was part of the stereotype for lefties, liberals, hippies, etc? But Kate, do you listen to talk radio? And Mark Steyn is a
satirist now?? You're joking, right?

The ad hominem business: if you slur a man for being what he is, in this case Lucianne Goldberg's son, that is an ad hominem attack. Do you have sympathy with people who claim Barack Obama is a Muslim because his father was? Or even better, a communist on the same basis? You might as well go after Goldberg, as someone else did on here at least once, because he is a Jew. The excreted part was just nasty, but as you can tell from my reading preferences, nasty in politics is not really a problem for me. Your ad hominem attack on Goldberg seemed a silly way to attack Ken Thomas' complaint about leftists investigating political groups they do not agree with.

I will quote myself: "Humorously, he reaffirms the point of the post. He makes an ad hominem attack on the young Goldberg for being his mother's son, probably did not read the book, but presumes a fallacy, because if the man is Right, he must be wrong."

And "muted protests" - like hell. Since I do not like government "bailing out" business, is it any wonder I do not like it when that "bailout" becomes a buyout? I have been protesting the whole thing; (not that anyone listens, and why would they?) Yet, lots of people on the right, especially economists, (and even Rush) have been complaining about all of this "bailout" stuff well back into the Bush administration. Just because you didn't take note, or choose to ignore it, does not mean it didn't happen.

As to that article, you assume that just because Glenn Beck says something I say I should think I am wrong? Big deal. I could probably find things Stalin said that you agree with, too. So what? We have had a battle of definitions on fascism here before, and just because the economic aspects of fascism are inconvenient to you and David Neiwert does not mean I, or anyone else, has to ignore them. On the other hand, the last quote included this: For fascists, the dysfunctional capitalism of the interwar period did not need fundamental reordering; its ills could be cured simply by applying sufficient political will to the creation of full employment and productivity. If that is not just what the Obama administration is doing, "applying political will" like billy-ho, I ask you? What heck? We are looking at National Socialism, of which there have been many varieties, not just that of the Nazi's, and I don't like it. I may not like, I think, whatever you say.

Finally, lots of home schooling families gave up TV in the 80's in order to choose what aspects of pop culture they would have in the home. My father tells me that rejection of television is rejection of American society and maybe you are telling me that, too. I do not like the sense of being indoctrinated. Cable has improved matters on television, but it is just boring. It is funny, and depressing (perhaps about myself as much as about modern culture) that when I am someplace where I find limitless access to the putative joys of TV, I can roam 60, 80 (how many?) channels and still not find anything I want to watch, but old movies and repetitive news shows.

I am unsure of your final point. Are you wishing me to take Mark Steyn more seriously than I do? When I read him, I should not laugh?

Bravo, Kate!

No, Kate, I don't have sympathy for those who claim that Obama is a Muslim because his father was. For starters, as much as one can be certain of anyone else's true religious beliefs (GWB says he's a Christian, so does Obama. They've participated in Christian church rites, but perhaps it's all an elaborate front for both of them?), there's no serious reason to believe that Obama is Muslim. On the other hand, I don't think anyone disputes that Jonah Goldberg is, in fact, the son of Lucianne Goldberg.

There is a substantial difference in quality between saying "X is a Y because X's father was a Y" and "X is his father's (or mother's) son." There's no intrinsic value judgment in identifying someone's son as someone's son. Is Lucianne Goldberg's name alone so bad that simply being called her son is a character attack? I would think that for some people, such heritage would be a plus. As for him being a Jew, I couldn't care less (nice sideways attempt to suggest I'm anti-semitic, though).

That's fine Kate, you and Mr. Beck can of course use whatever ahistorical, libertarian definition for "fascism"/socialism that you wish to use.

As for Mark Steyn, well I didn't say that laughter wasn't in order, but I think his kind of satire is largely unintentional. I laugh at him, too.

That is my question to you, my dear. Why do you castigate Jonah Goldberg for being Lucianne Goldberg's son? "I just like to remember how he came to be relevant to anyone, came to be part of the conservative punditry class. The reason is a stained dress and his mother's involvement with tawdry gossip." Isn't it a bit of a reach? When was that? What hold does Lucianne Goldberg have over National Review magazine and all conservatives that she could leverage her son into the public eye and ear for the last ten years or so? How does she keep him there? From what you say, it is all about her and nothing about him. He must have done something, in the meantime, or how could he still be in a position for you to be ragging on him as you do?

Of course, Craig, you and whoever can use whatever narrow focus on fascism you like in order to ignore those aspects of it that you do not wish to look at.

As for your last, I think Steyn's satire is very intentional. I am glad that you have the generosity of spirit to laugh at that satire, even when the sort of things you espouse have been the target of his humor. That you laugh, as you say, speaks so well of you.

Craig, think of it this way. Someone who insists on calling Obama by his middle name is being obnoxious despite all the "hey its his name right?" disclaimers. We all get what they are trying to do. Same thing by choosing to identify Jonah Goldberg by substituting his mom's name for his own.

Steyn is pretty funny alot of the time, but he is missing something that would allow his satire of the the Left to cross over to nonconservatives. He is funny to me, but I'm already converted. I'll say it again: conservatives are missing the combination of smart and good natured humor that helped make Reagan so effective.

I'll say it again: conservatives are missing the combination of smart and good natured humor that helped make Reagan so effective.

Grant Mr. Reagan this: coming from a cohort where it was atypical for a young man to be enrolled in high school and from a social stratum where acquiring higher education would have been anything but an expectation, he did manage to complete college and managed to do so during some of the most difficult years in the country's economic history. However, by the time he had passed seventy, he was a comical example of intellectual atrophy. See David Stockman's memoirs on the point. Yeah, he was effective: we've had 27 years of balance-of-payments deficits which commenced with his peculiar combination of fiscal and monetary policies. We gotta be nice to China, 'cuz they own us.

Pete, your comparison is closer, but still not a bullseye. I'm not sure I'd agree that someone who insists on using Obama's middle name - Hussein - is necessarily being obnoxious. Maybe if they're a bigoted cretin, but otherwise, it depends. Didn't Obama himself insist on using it when he was sworn into office? Only to those who link the incredibly common name Hussein (it's about on par with Smith in the Middle East) with dictators and/or Islamic terrorism and/or Saddam Hussein is using the name insulting. I don't reflexively connect the name with those things, so use of the name is a non-issue for me. I presumed the situation would be the same for those here who have no problem with Lucianne Goldberg (I'd guess most here have no beef with her, but who knows).

Kate, my dear (?? !!) my initial remark that you incorrectly tagged as ad hominem wasn't to castigate Goldberg for being his mother's son, it was for his sloppy book. But my later, explanatory comment ("...The reason is a stained dress and his mother's involvement with tawdry gossip.") was to point out the sleazy nature of his career start, chock full of nepotism and crass opportunism. You asked "Isn't it a bit of a reach? When was that?" Well, it's certainly been chronicled as such before. Here we go:

"Jonah, agent fatale Lucianne Goldberg's 29-year-old son, entered the national stage when he listened to the Linda Tripp tapes with his mom. His 6,000-word opus on the subsequent media siege of his mother's New York apartment was cut to an amusing -- but trim -- 900-word item that ran in the New Yorker's Talk of the Town section.

A lesser man's 15 minutes of fame might have ended there, but Jonah Goldberg was just revving up.

He took to the air: "Nightline," "Larry King Live," "Today" to start; soon thereafter "Hardball," "Crossfire," "Politically Incorrect," "Equal Time," "Good Morning America" and "The NBC Nightly News." A debate in Slate and a contributing editorship at the conservative National Review followed. This month Goldberg began work on a full-length book about the Clinton affair and his personal involvement with it. The project, Goldberg says, may be a little "'Bonfire of the Vanities' type thing about stories peripheral to the scandal." Movie deals may follow the final book deal, he says."

As for how he continues on at NRO and elsewhere, well, I chalk it up primarily to the old "wingnut welfare." For now he's blogging and got a regular guest spot on Glenn Beck's Bomb-Shelter Variety Hour (useful for hocking his book). As for his staying on at National Review Online, well, only Ann Coulter was able to find a way out from that gig (Jonah himself insisted she wasn't fired). I guess history will judge if Jonah builds a legacy even 1% as impressive as William F. Buckley's (I say that as a respectful opponent of WFB) - I suppose there will be a small cult who will insist that he has.

Regarding Steyn, I suspect that we're laughing for different reasons Kate, even if Steyn is aiming his rhetoric at the left. As Johann Hari wrote in the New Statesman: "Steyn's prose has a jangling musicality; like Ann Coulter, he writes in a demonic demotic that makes you chuckle even as you retch."

Lastly, I think the primary thing of importance here is to speak of what exactly is going on and . why it is dangerous. I'm more than open to the idea that Obama is doing and has done some things that are dangerous. But again, the danger of monitoring and limiting salaries of companies which have asked for and received taxpayer monies to stay afloat largely eludes me. At least in comparison to notions such as this:

"I confess to being frightened of Sharia and if a shifting demographic brings that closer, then dain’s trains have appeal to me."

Craig, it surely is possible for someone to fefer to Obama's middle name in a nonderogatory way. It is also possible to refer to Jonah Goldberg as his mom's son. But sometimes the context can tell us when it the reference is designed to show contempt by the writer. I don't really get why you want to be sly about this since you gave the game away in later posts.

AD, you can give alot more to Reagan than his undergrad college years. I'm not sure that the self-serving memoirs of disgruntled Reagan era staffers is the best guide to his character and policy. There is a whole new scholarship of Regan's presidency and character that undermines the 1980s caricature of Reagan. The ending of stagflation (partly the work of Volcker, but even Volcker's work would have been impossible without Reagan's support), the regaining of initiative in the Cold War, and the popularizing of a conservative politics that had the initiative for over twenty years all rank as historic achievements. The deficits were large though never as large as the next several projected Obama deficits (as a percentage of GDP), and a combination of spending restraint, some tax increases, and a growing economy were able to shrink the size of the national debt (again as a percentage of GDP with alot less trouble than the deficit chicken littles of the 1980s would have had us believe. And the reason China is worried about the viability of our debt is less the Reagan tax increases or the Obama stimulus than our changing demographics and our projected entitlement spending. Reagan is hardly at fault for that. These our the problems of our time and it is up to us to adjust to them without blaming the politicians who dealt with the problems of their own time. If Reagan's accumulated public debt and Reagan's tax rates were our biggest problem, we would be doing just fine.

During the entire period running from 1914 to 1981, it was unusual for the United States to run balance of payments deficits on current account. Large scale borrowing from abroad commenced coincident with the enactment of Mr. Reagan's economic program and the United States was a net debtor nation within three years. We have been collectively dependent on the purchase of Treasury securities by foreign agencies ever since. Institutionalized self-deception and insouciance on fiscal matters was not notably characteristic of the Republican Party prior to 1981 and that is as much a part of his 'legacy' as the good judgment calls he did make on certain policy matters. I brought up his academic record as a means of acknowledging something I might have denied at the time: he was NOT a preternaturally unintelligent man.

Your characterization of David Stockman is gratuitous. That aside, Mr. Stockman's recollections were corroborated in various respects by Terrell Bell, Martin Anderson, and Donald T. Regan, and came as no surprise to anyone who read the newspapers during those years. See also Lou Cannon's account of his years as Governor of California. A man who assigns discretion over his official schedule to his wife who then subcontracts the task to a newspaper astrologer is properly regarded as daft, whether or not his budget director is 'self-serving'.

"Craig, it surely is possible for someone to fefer to Obama's middle name in a nonderogatory way. It is also possible to refer to Jonah Goldberg as his mom's son. But sometimes the context can tell us when it the reference is designed to show contempt by the writer. I don't really get why you want to be sly about this since you gave the game away in later posts."

You're right, Pete. The amount of typing I've done explaining the differences in the statements also gives the false impression that I'm trying to hide my contempt for both mother and son.

You're right, the context is a big part of the reason why I didn't get how writing "Lucianne Goldberg's son" on this blog could be seen as a smear. (Is she an embarrassment to the NLT crowd?) Writing or saying "that Muslim Barack Hussein Obama" on FreeRepublic or FoxNews (or...maybe...here?), where much of the audience loathes Obama and/or Muslims is a different deal. Also, pointing out that Lucianne's his mother - a non-debatable point - isn't to smear him with connections to another right-wing figure (of no minor significance) - on that score they're so similar the comparison is pointless - but, again, to point out his nepotistic career launch.

But I should've been truly sly...and left out the "excreted" part of the remark.

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