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I am retired from government, law enforcement, politics and all other pointless endeavors. I eat when I am hungry and sleep when I am tired.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Visiting National Review online is like driving past the old family home, now run down and in a very bad neighborhood. A morbid fascination keeps bringing us back to see the latest insult. So while WFB is till above ground I thought I'd see how the new lot would take the loss of their patriarch. There was a very empathetic and well written piece by Christopher Hitchens.

And then I stumbled on, or perhaps stepped in, Jonah Goldberg's Blog. The Blog is devoted entirely to thumping the tub for his own sophmoric book "Liberal Fascism." A lot better wits than mine have had their fun at the expense of Goldberg. So I needn't pile on. Yet the spectacle of A "serious" magazine of opinion devoting it resources to marketing the product of one of its editors under the rubric of a blog is just so low rent that I'm actually surprised. And it takes a bit to surprise me. If this Isn't money changers in the temple it will certainly do till the actual thing comes along.

The blog is an exercise in narcissism masquerading (badly) as commentary on the many bad reviews by adults the book seems to have garnered. I scanned the to and fro of Goldberg's responses to his readers until I came on the following exchange.

"The We Already Know This Canard"

From a reader:

Mr. Goldberg,

I've finally figured out what I find so unsatisfying about the complaints of Tomasky and others. It seems to me that the standard practice when reviewing a book that is allegedly derivative or unnecessary is to recommend the acknowledged authoritative book on the subject. Funny that in all the reviews I've read of LF I haven't seen a single one that suggested an alternative book to read on the subject of Progressivism and fascism. To me that says that those amongst the left who do know about this history don't want it talked about. Not because it's old hat or too boring, but for the same reason you don't talk about your grandparents locking Crazy Aunt Mabel in the attic; it's too embarrassing and shameful.

Condolences on the passing of Mr. Buckley.

Me: This is a very good point. Since I can say with pretty much total certainty that there is no other single book that comes close to collecting all of these facts in one place, you would think some honest liberal reviewers would say "Goldberg's all wrong on his interpretation of the facts, but these things are worth knowing."

What is one to say in the face of such ignorant self regard? Let's see, a book highlighting the essentially authoritarian genesis of the liberal left? Oh yes I can think of one. I believe it was called Leftism Revisited by the late Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. Doubtless young Jonah overlooked this book and its author. After all he was just some PhD Austrian fellow employed as the European correspondent for the National Review for about thirty years! As Jonah might say, Who Knew? The book, for those born yesterday and raised under the new post literate dispensation under which Jonah was apparently raised, is magisterial, well researched and footnoted with with original sources. It is in short, everything that Liberal Fascism is not. Of course, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn had the advantage of both knowing what Fascism was and having met a lot of actual Fascists.

Old testament sailors had the sense to throw Jonah's namesake overboard. When will the adults at National Review show the same sense?

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