Jonah Goldberg’s Very Small Penis : How One NRO Correspondent Plans to Kill Your Children, Eat Your Puppies & Sodomize Your Kittens

Avatar

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

151 Responses

  1. Avatar Rose Woodhouse
    Ignored
    says:

    I would also like to nominate: “That’s European.”Report

    • Avatar Katherine in reply to Rose Woodhouse
      Ignored
      says:

      This amuses me because in Canada we have the same thing, but by the left and with the phrase “American-style”.  If you want to rally opinion against a policy, just call it “American-style”.  (Granted, sometimes the phrase describes things we should be avoiding – like our government’s support for mandatory minimum sentencing despite the serious problems the US has had with it – but it’s also an easy cliché and a fast way to appeal to emotion.)Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Well, we’ve broken the penes barrier when it comes to titles.

    I did not have RTod in my pool for the person who did that.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    Congratulations, Tod. A serious piece with some important points to make, and what do you get in the first ten comments?

    Dick jokes.Report

  4. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
    Ignored
    says:

    FTR: “Liberal Fascism” was the publisher’s provocative title, and sold a lot of books.

    Also, Goldberg’s complaints are left-specific, and it would be facile to dismiss them out of hand.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/top-five-cliches-liberals-use-to-avoid-real-arguments/2012/04/27/gIQAFR1zlT_story.html

    And certainly, it would do for the right to locate its own cliches.  We should probably bash the right around here more often.  Oh, and the libertarians too, who do not want government roads, water or police.

    Q: How many Libertarians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    A: None. The invisible hand of the market will take care of it. What are you, a socialist?Report

  5. Avatar James K
    Ignored
    says:

    What would be amazingly, astoundingly awesome is if Goldberg or any of his bloggy brethren passed these along (or cited some of their own) to make an actual attempt to change and improve the way we talk about public policy in this country.  To really try to discard tired cliches that keep us from thinking, and instead engage is real and meaningful arguments about the people we want to be as we push farther into the 21st century.

    But I’m not holding my breath.

    Trouble, at least as I see it, is that people in general don’t want to think about policy.  Political candidates and parties are flags to rally around, and policies are just devices to put on the flag.  And it even makes sense for things to be this way.  How much sense does it make to be an informed voter when the mass of uninformed voters will drown out your contribution?  People like me and Jason, we’re paid to know this stuff.  For everyone else, unless you find discussing these matters inherently pleasurable (and I’m assuming that’s the majority of the League’s readership) then it’s a waste of your time.

    This is where pessimism about democracy comes from, and whils I minght not be willing to go with Murali’s solution, I think it would be healthy to develop a set of cultural norms where more deference to experts (on matters covered by their expertise) was considered appropriate; and that voting was not treated as so important that everyone should do it, but rather as so important that people should only do it if they’ve put enough effort in to understand the decision they’re going to make.

    How to create those norms?  Alas, I have no idea.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to James K
      Ignored
      says:

      Do you continue to say this, regardless of how skeeved the makeup of our electorate gets? Say only the 1% are considered “knowledgeable” to vote?Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to James K
      Ignored
      says:

      For everyone else, unless you find discussing these matters inherently pleasurable (and I’m assuming that’s the majority of the League’s readership) then it’s a waste of your time.

      This is a point that is not made nearly enough, though I think you don’t go quite far enough in explaining why it’s a waste of most people’s time.  It’s not just that the marginal impact of one vote is so small; it’s also that, in a reasonably stable democracy, political debate has comparatively little potential to dramatically affect the average person’s life.  In such a democracy, you’re only very rarely going to get truly radical swings in policy from one government to the next, affecting all areas of life. And even when this is a possibility, accurate prediction of the short and medium term effects of major policy changes is pretty much impossible because there are so many variables involved that are completely out of the government’s control in all but the most closed societies.

       Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        It is also a function of a government that governs, with small variations, both to and from the center. A frequent complaint made about the spectrum of viable political choices available to the U.S. voter is that they can choose between a center-right party and a centrist party; both are beholden to and servants of their big business donors; the policies they produce are functionally the same and differ from one another only in degree and rhetorical packaging. Both parties liked NAFTA, except for the elements of both parties that didn’t. Clinton cut welfare. Bush adopted Medicare Part D. Bush and Obama pushed for TARP and financial bailouts. Obama kept Guantanamo Bay open.

        I’m not entirely sure I personal agree with this sentiment, outside of the realm of foreign policy where I really do percieve no substantial difference between what Democratic and Republican Presidents do. The disparity in the timbre of judical nominees from Presidents of the different parties is dramatic, and important. And it seems to me that partisan control of government at the state level can produce some dramatic differences. But if you were one to perceive that there is only going to be a marginal, incremental difference in the policies the government will adopt regardless of which party is in power, then politics in general becomes a fool’s debate, full of sound and fury yet resulting in no real impact upon one’s own life.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        “It’s not just that the marginal impact of one vote is so small; it’s also that, in a reasonably stable democracy, political debate has comparatively little potential to dramatically affect the average person’s life. ”

        That’s certainly true.  There wasn’t much public input into CPSIA, DMCA, SOPA, the Patriot Act, DOT and FAA regulations on the design of vehicles and their employment, DHS decisions on what level of screening is appropriate for air travel, FDA determination that doctors should be the gatekeepers to medical care, BATF determination that marijuana is a felony-crime illegal drug…Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        Mark –

        But, trajectory of policy matters, doesn’t it? I’d agree that the marginal impacts of single policies are rarely impactful, but the cumulative effects often are.  The path the US has followed over the last 30 years is dramatically different than the course it was on before then.

        This suggests to me that policy debates are in some respects more important than the legislation they lead to. It is in the debates that the philosophical terms are set.  Obama was correct when he stated that Reagan was transformative. He defined the playing field for the decades that have followed.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Scott Fields
          Ignored
          says:

          I think I need to make a pretty big clarification here.  I’m not saying there’s no substantial difference between the parties.  Nor am I saying that politics is completely unimportant, particularly in the long run.  For that matter, I’m not even necessarily saying that the majority of uninformed voters really believe that there’s no difference.

          I’m saying something much more nuanced: day-to-day life in stable democracies is, well, stable for most people. This is a good thing, and one that just about everyone implicitly accepts, much as we might complain about any number of things or say otherwise.    There are far more aspects of life that we’re basically not debating than are subject to debate, and for the overwhelming majority of people, those aspects of life constitute the most personally significant portions of our lives.

          And while trajectory surely matters in the long run: 1.  no one actually knows for a fact what the effects of that trajectory will be, even though we all surely have our own strong opinions – there’s just too many variables at play; 2. the good thing about slow trajectories is that it’s usually possible to reverse them if it REALLY starts screwing with people’s lives; and 3. “in the long run, we’re all dead,” so making sure that there’s still going to be a relatively stable life tomorrow is going to take precedence for most of us over making sure that our long run trajectory is in line with our ideological preferences.  In other words, while the stuff we debate matters, we’re not going to debate policies that will have comprehensive and far-reaching short-term effects on most of our lives.

          Put it this way: I have a hard time thinking of a situation where a stable democracy would consider debating the rapid and complete abolition of private property.

          Look at Hollande in France, who is a proud Socialist running against an unpopular center-right incumbent while his country teeters on the brink of recession.  If ever there was a situation where a stable democracy would be open to a bout of truly radical proposals, it would be that.  Yet the cornerstone of Hollande’s campaign is that he’d like to increase government spending by 1.5 to 2 percent of GDP and pay for this by repealing tax breaks that would result in less than 2 percent more tax revenue as a percentage of GDP.   That, and he’d like banks to have to separate their retail and investment operations.  In other words, he’s not looking to do anything that would completely transform the life of the average person.

          Or, if you’d prefer, think about the average day for the average American: you get up, turn the TV on, maybe take the kids to school, go to work, go home, hang out with the wife and kids for a bit, eat dinner, hang out some more with the wife and kids, put the kids to bed, maybe watch the end of the ballgame, then go to bed.  To do that, you make use of government-funded infrastructure that almost no one wants to get rid of, you go to a job made possible by something approaching a predictable rule of law that no one wants to completely upend, etc., etc.

           Report

          • Avatar Scott Fields in reply to Mark Thompson
            Ignored
            says:

            I don’t disagree with any of this. Yes, in stable democracies truly radical proposals are rare and therefore people can keep on keeping on with the most personally significant portions of their lives. In stable democracies change is mostly incremental.

            I guess I’m urging caution for radical change that occurs incrementally and hoping for greater due diligence in our policy debates. Like in the metaphor where the frog boils to death in the pot where the heat is turned up very gradually, we have to be watchful of the long trajectory radical change if we are ever to course correct. We started on the course that leaves us currently with the FIRE sector wielding remarkable power to privatize power and socialize risk a long time ago.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s not just that the marginal impact of one vote is so small; it’s also that, in a reasonably stable democracy, political debate has comparatively little potential to dramatically affect the average person’s life.  In such a democracy, you’re only very rarely going to get truly radical swings in policy from one government to the next, affecting all areas of life.

        True, but the reason it’s true is that the political system is already in equilibrium.  If a large number of voters radically changed their minds about a policy issue I’d expect the major parties to change tack on that issue pretty quickly.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to James K
      Ignored
      says:

      The most illuminating thing about a policy degree is just how little the debates you have with your colleagues have any bearing on the political debates held in public. Maybe that’s not a terrible thing, given the sometimes byzantine depths we dive into, but I’m not so sure a culture of experts is where we want to. There’s far too many cases of extreme failures from the Great Depression to Vietnam where policy experts got it absurdly wrong.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Nob Akimoto
        Ignored
        says:

        The most illuminating thing about a policy degree is just how little the debates you have with your colleagues have any bearing on the political debates held in public.

        Having policy debates with my colleagues left a similar impression on me.

        I’m not so sure a culture of experts is where we want to. There’s far too many cases of extreme failures from the Great Depression to Vietnam where policy experts got it absurdly wrong.

        But the real question is, would regular people have done any better?  I find that very difficult to believe.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James K
          Ignored
          says:

          What could get worse than absurdly wrong?Report

          • Avatar James K in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            Things can always get worse.  But mostly I think we’d get absurd wrongness at higher frequency.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James K
              Ignored
              says:

              We may have to agree to disagree on that. One thing I’ve learned about people who are paid to be ‘smart’ is that many of them also think they’re right. So the disputes, and the squabbles, and the likelihood of disaster if only those people were left in charge is just as likely.

               Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                So Still, are you advocating a more populist approach?  A kind of, “I don’t know much about how the healthcare system works, but I can tell a lot about a man by his firm handshake, so we’re gonna do this…” leadership?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                I guess. Not quite sure. My point was more along the lines of Kissinger’s saying that academic disputes are so bitter because the stakes are so low. And to be clear, it’s not that I think that the stakes are low, but that smart people in an academic setting get hung up minor details which are more or less inconsequential to the over all purpose or result. Mole-hills become mountains. And that’s what I imagine James’ world of smart people determining policy looking like.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I think we’d see different kinds of disasters.

                That is, experts tend to get the unknown unknowns wrong. Populism/anti-expertise tends to get the known knowns wrong.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Nob Akimoto
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s a good way of saying what I was also thinking. Experts would be disastrously  *convinced* that Y would follow from X. Non-experts would be clueless about what X and Y even are. I think a nice equilibrium can be found in there somewhere.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                In a comment that will surprise no one, I think the problems you are describing come not because people are experts but because they have a hard time letting go of their dogma.

                Which is why, I would argue, Palin would be just as awful a choice to make public policy as the people you’re describing.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly
                Ignored
                says:

                Or just as good a choice. Depending and all.

                Good point!Report

              • Avatar James K in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                In my experience the mere fact people don’t know about something doesn’t stop them having strong opinions about it.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James K
                Ignored
                says:

                The stronger their opinions, the less they know about the subject

                I’d argue, along with Bertrand Russell: the fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James K
                Ignored
                says:

                Did Russell steal that from Yeats, or vice versa?Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Experts would be disastrously  *convinced* that Y would follow from X. Non-experts would be clueless about what X and Y even are. I think a nice equilibrium can be found in there somewhere.

                Would non-experts therefore be more likely on average to get the answers right? Or would non-experts be able to avoid the most extreme policy blunders with any greater frequency? At the very least the current way of aggregating expert and non-expert opinions seems to skew heavily in favour of non-experts without adequately compensating for their inadequacies.Report

              • Avatar James K in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                This isn’t about intelligence, it’s about expertise i.e. domain-relevant education and experience.  Mere intelligence is like having a fast car and a bad map, you just get lost faster.

                And on experts are right (on questions of their expertise) more often than non-experts.  Sure, experts make mistakes, but beware of committing the Nirvana Fallacy.  The question is not, are experts infallible, but who is more likely to cock up.Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to James K
          Ignored
          says:

          I think at least the Vietnam question seems to have been a problem of experts being too certain of their own assessments. Admittedly I don’t know if it was possible to come to a different conclusion. I remember an interesting run through where we formulated a policy solution based on what the principals knew at the time and the outcome wasn’t very different from history.Report

  6. Avatar Jeff
    Ignored
    says:

    Oh joy!  Another entry in the “False Equivalency” game.

    I have zero respect for Goldberg.  I find him mean, crass and useless.  I have even less for his “cliches of the left” when EVERY argument from the right gets reduced to foolishness like “death panels” or “socialist”.

    On the other hand, TVD is wrong about “better to let 10 guilty men go free…” — it doesn’t shut down argument, but allows us to say, but what about…   Moreover, when you jail the innocent man, you let the guilty go free so you’ve defeated yourself.

    Can you tell I’m really, really tired of this game?Report

    • Avatar Michelle in reply to Jeff
      Ignored
      says:

      +1

      I waded through enough of Liberal Fascism to realize that Goldberg was just a step or two above Beck and Limbaugh in his attempt at “serious” political commentary. To me, he’s just another right-wing shill out to skewer the left and adding nothing to the quality of political debate in this country.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Michelle
        Ignored
        says:

        On the contrary, Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” thesis holds up quite well, mostly because it’s true.  Today’s leftism has very authoritarian roots, and its goals not achievable without coercion..  Mussolini’s Fascist Italy was not seen as a bad thing at the time; that was to come later, with its alliance with Nazism [or at least the invasion of Ethiopia].  Fascism was not yet the dirty word that it is today.

        http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/3682351/Hillary_Clinton_and_the_liberal_fascists/

        Liberal Fascism is littered with quotations from everyone from Che Guevara to Hillary Clinton in which all the customary liberal-leftist buzzwords tell their own story: ‘experiment,’ ‘experimentation,’ ‘perfected,’ ‘laboratory school,’ ‘greatest social experiment in history,’ ‘fix the people,’ ‘a living laboratory for experiment,’ ‘efficiently operating piece of machinery,’ ‘bold, persistent experimentation,’ ‘human reconstruction,’ ‘action, action, action!’

        Hillary talks of her desire to be ‘a town prodder’; Che’s motto was ‘If in doubt, kill him.’ Goldberg is not saying Hitler and Auschwitz could happen in America, but he does fear fascism with a smiley face; a caring fascism, a feminine fascism, a fascism of feelings and feeling your pain, a fascism in which you can host ‘baby showers with a safety theme (Hillary’s suggestion) and where the ‘sensitive, caring government’ (Hillary’s guru’s phrase) is never not there to ‘help’ and ‘improve’ and ‘fix’ and ‘prod’ and ‘perfect’ all of which were the core hallmarks of Hitler’s fascist project.”

        Report

        • Avatar Ryan Noonan in reply to Tom Van Dyke
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh, Tom. Here we go again.Report

        • Avatar Michelle in reply to Tom Van Dyke
          Ignored
          says:

          A far better book about the phenomenon Goldberg labors to describe in Liberal Fascism is Friendly Fascism by Bertram Gross. It’s been a long time (probably more than 20 years) since I read the book but, from what I recall, it’s a pretty biting critique of the kind of growing corporate-government “partnership” that’s far more likely to lead to fascism with a smiley face than anything Hilary Clinton might devise.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Tom Van Dyke
          Ignored
          says:

          The rhetoric of experimentation is the primary conservative rhetorical defense of federalism, I’d just point out.Report

          • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Michael Drew
            Ignored
            says:

            Yeah, I’m pretty sure it would not take much to tie modern conservative buzzwords to fascism just as much, if not more so. Especially if I get to say that every word uttered in the last decade by a conservative politician or talk show host constitutes a “buzzword.”Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jeff
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, “10 innocents and one guilty man” made me think of this story:  It’s almost a cliche at this point:

      • The police focus on a single (innocent) suspect
      • they don’t follow up on leads that point to it being someone else
      • the prosecution hides exculpatory evidence
      • an innocent man is sent to prison
      • the DA’s office refuses to DNA-test new evidence until finally ordered to do so by  a court
      • The man is finally freed, and gets nothing from the system but a precautionary apology and a denial of any wrongdoing
      • And it’s in Texas, of course

      But in this case, there’s something additional: the actual murderer killed at least once more, which might have been prevented if the police and prosecutors had cared enough about not convicting the wrong guy.Report

  7. Avatar Kimmi
    Ignored
    says:

    3 and 5 are shorthand for entire argument sectors. (like “the living constitution” on the other side)

    Socialist is still dogwhistling. Social Darwinism is basically saying “but you don’t CAAAARE” about the poor. But it’s at least saying that honestly.Report

  8. Avatar Russell Saunders
    Ignored
    says:

    Some time ago, one of my best friends and I were discussing the whole “terrorists hate our freedom” idea.  As it happens, she one of those brown-skinned people of a different religion from a different part of the world.  She said to me “I hate your freedom.  Your freedom costs the rest of us an awful lot.”

    It was rather an illuminating moment.Report

  9. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    My favorite part of this is that number 3 is in direct contradiction to numbers 1 and 2.  Government regulation is bad!!!!!!…. UNLESS it is used to regulate marriage in such a way as to exclude folks we think are icky OR it is used to keep us safe from the hordes of freedom hating terrorists just outside the gates.

     

    WHOOPS!Report

  10. Avatar BlaiseP
    Ignored
    says:

    But Tod, you haven’t made any caveats for the helpless sodomized kittenz!    The Internet is just full of that sort of thing.

    Liberalz are easily fooled.   It’s like Hyp-mo-tizing a  Chicken.   Just gently push its beak against the ground and draw a straight line out from its beakie.   In the same manner, push the Librul’s head down and tell him to Be Fair.   See, Librulz are suckers for the word Fair.   And Compromise.  The Paradox of Zeno’s Chicken, no matter how much of a head start you give the Conservatives, they want a bigger head start so’z they can cross the finish line first.

    Goldberg’s a ninny.   The Conservatives managed to blow the world up with their Deregulatory Bullshit.   Four thousand dead troops and untold Iraqi casualties in a war based on a pack of lies, wore out our military, blew up the deficits, elected and re-elected the stupidest man of his generation… and there they stand like a bunch of egg eating dogs — without even the dignity to whimper and grovel like the dogs would when they’ve been caught.Report

  11. Avatar Michelle
    Ignored
    says:

    If Goldberg were truly interested in writing a book about political cliches and how they damage discourse, he would have delved into the sins of both sides. He might also have looked at how our current  media culture encourages cliches, soundbites that can be easily disseminated without much thought and without having to delve into their actual veracity. He might have even sat and counted the number of cliches mouthed each week on both Fox News and MSNBC to show how both sides do it. And finally, he might have examined how relying so increasingly on cliches as opposed to any kind of genuine conversation allows both sides to talk past each other and avoid discussing the very real choices and issues that confront our country.

    But, of course, that’s not what Goldberg set out to do.  A serious book, as opposed to yet another left-bashing tome, likely wouldn’t sell nearly as well and would probably tax Goldberg’s limited intellectual capabilities to their limits.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Michelle
      Ignored
      says:

      Of course, Goldberg’s primary objective is to produce a salabale book so as to enrich himself.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Michelle
      Ignored
      says:

      “If Goldberg were truly interested in writing a book about political cliches and how they damage discourse, he would have delved into the sins of both sides. ”

      So you accept the truth of what Goldberg wrote, then?Report

      • Avatar Michelle in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        Do I think liberals use political cliches? Of course, although not to the degree nor with the same amount of success that the right has done over the last couple of decades. Moreover, pretending that liberals are the ones who are cheating in the “war of ideas” is nonsense as it infers that conservatives either play fairly or have actually come up with some new ideas since Reagan.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Michelle
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, the very title of Tod’s post nails one unassailable difference: the unimaginative left’s egregious and execrable overuse of—addiction to!— ultrahyperbolic pejoratives, demonizations, slanders, psychological projection, and even outright hallucinations.

          It’s become such a rhetorical banality that mocking it is an established literary form, like haiku or the knock-knock joke. Come to think of it…

          Knock Knock, who is there

          A conservative, Romney?

          Quick, check on grandma

           Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Michelle
          Ignored
          says:

          “Do I think liberals use political cliches? Of course, although not to the degree nor with the same amount of success that the right has done over the last couple of decades.”

          I’ve heard this argument plenty of times regarding all criticisms against the Left — Yes, but the Right is more narrow-minded — Yes, but the Right is more judgemental — Yes, but the Right does it more often — Yes, but the Right is more miltaristic. What I haven’t seen though are the measurements that give certain weights or quantities of badness so that we know how much worse the Right is. If the Right is like a tad worse, then that makes the two sides about equally bad. Is there some entity that keeps these measurements? Like, for instance, how many more cliches does the Right use in comparison to the Left? Is it 2 to 1, 3 to 1? Is there any area of moral, intellectual or political concern which improves the quality of life where the Right can be said to excel over the Left, or is the Left superior to the Right in all such matters? I’m just wondering, because if the Left is really that superior to the Right, then perhaps we should all just follow the Left and forget about the Right. I’m ready to let the Left show the way. The only problem is that no one can say what the Left really is. Are liberals considered Left? Are progressives and liberals the same. Are liberals the same, or are ther different forms of liberality. Do any label really do justice to those who are not-Right?Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to MFarmer
            Ignored
            says:

            You do it more!

            No, you do it more!

            No you!

            No you times ten!

            No you times infinity!

            No you times infinity squared!

            No you times infinity to the infinity power!Report

          • Avatar Michelle in reply to MFarmer
            Ignored
            says:

            MFarmer–My point was that Goldberg is being disingenuous in pretending that only the left is using cliches to “cheat” at the war on ideas. Puh-leeze. Does anybody actually believe that?  Where’s the left’s equivalent to Fox News? And don’t tell me MSNBC because it lacks both the viewership and the direct connection to the Democratic Party that Fox has to the Republican party.

            My other point is that cliches and banalities are about all you get in politics these days because of the type of culture our mainstream media engenders–where you put up a Talking Head from Side L against a Talking Head from Side C and have them battle it out, as if there were ever only two sides to any issue. Ideas have nuance and substance–cliches don’t.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to MFarmer
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m not sure if this is helpful or not mike but here’s a recent article from right wingers in the right wing Washington Post no less pointing out that in the past several years the right/GOP has been doing it a heck of a lot more. Mind you they’re probably statists but I don’t think they’re liberals so maybe there’s some value to it for ya.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-just-say-it-the-republicans-are-the-problem/2012/04/27/gIQAxCVUlT_story.htmlReport

  12. Avatar Ryan Noonan
    Ignored
    says:

    Just a little self-advertisement here, but one of my most famous tweets of all time was:

    “When @mattyglesias calls @jonahnro stupid and @jonahnro calls @mattyglesias a prick, the only winner is the truth.”Report

  13. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    Thinking Simply Saying the Acronym “PC” Out Loud Is An Actual Argument

    To be fair, this is very often a response to the use of the words “racism,” “sexism,” and/or “offensive” as stand-alone arguments.Report

  14. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    I’d love to talk about evidence and rational arguments in politics…ohhhhhh lets say we start with health care. I hear there are actually many examples of countries providing universal health care. Almost every one those has good results and those places don’t use ideas conservatives like.

    Thus endith the rational evidence based discussion.

    Goldberg is  a hack. He tries to sound reasonable enough to get serious people to take him seriously but is just chumming the water for right wing causes and to get book sales .

     Report

  15. Avatar Boris
    Ignored
    says:

    I would nominate “Liberal Media Bias” . Especially when a Fox News talking head is saying it.Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Serious ruminations on your five Republican memes with as little, er, few mentions of penes as possible:

    1. Gay People Marrying Destroys the Sanctity of My Own Marriage: …Also, it’s often championed by public figures that are divorced or caught in scandals outside their marriage bed; the lack of concern about this among its supporters has always seemed a tell-tale sign of its inherent lack of seriousness.

    I don’t know what things are like on the ground in the rest of the country, but this honestly feels like it’s deflating from where I sit.
    You mention the public figures and I think that that has had a huge effect on the debate. Remember the famous quip about asking which of Gingrich’s three marriages did he consider the most sacred. I mean, that’s an uppercut. Additionally, the scandals of a non-zero amount of mega-church leaders getting caught with male prostitutes hasn’t helped either.

    A million years ago, we had this thread here.

    A comment I wrote then (we were so young!) made distinctions between Marriage In The Eyes Of God (MEG) and Marriage In The Eyes Of The State (MES). It concluded:

    “…We may have the power to prevent gay folks from having a MES… but it always struck me that given the nature of a MES… you know, the manilla folder stuff…, it would eventually get really depressing to deny inheritance rights to gay folks. To deny hospital visitations. That sort of thing. These guys who do stuff like discuss which kind of hamburger helper they ought to get, who discuss their days, who discuss the kitten, who discuss the sock monkey vs. floppy teddy bear issue…

    To deny them a manila folder struck me as something that would eventually become really, really depressing and something that people who claim knowledge of the Mind of God would eventually sicken of.

    I don’t understand it.”

    I get the feeling that folks on the fence are getting sick of what they’re doing in practice in the name of what they want to do in theory.

    All that to say, I see this one withering on the vine.

    2. Terrorists Attack Us Because They Hate Our Freedom:

    This one made a lot more sense in the days of the Second Intifada and the days following 9/11. Why? Prior to that, the stuff I remember were the arguments over such things as Christian censorship in response to Ofili and Seranno and Kazantzakis and the almost complete change in tone when it came to The Satanic Verses. “They hate us for our freedom” is shorthand for something. I think it indicates a vocabulary problem more than anything else. There are reasons that we are hated and some of them do have to do with how much license we’re willing to take with The Sacred. While it’s easy to point at such things as our support for Israel in the face of the oppression of the poor Palestinians, we also have to point at such things as “the Buddhas of Bamiyan”.

    There are many reasons we are hated. “Freedom” is a poor word choice… but it’s not so far out there that we can’t even tell what the person who is saying it is talking about.

    (I suppose I should also mention that Osama bin Laden printed an open letter to the US about a month after September 11th, 2001. He mentions a great many things about his motivations for the attacks. The fact that we are sinners was waaaaay up there. That’s got some overlap with “freedom”.)

    3. Government Regulation is Bad:

    When I use this one, I use the variant that says”captured” (and, where it’s not captured, it’s something akin to either Prohibition or Stand Your Ground Laws… laws that, in practice, don’t accomplish what we think they ought to accomplish).

    4. “Socialist:” This term doesn’t mean what it used to, I tell you what. When I was going to school, there were still communists around who argued for such things as it being right and proper for command economies to punish people who wanted to buy stuff on the black market in, if not the same breath, the same discussion that they railed against the War on Drugs.

    5. Government Can’t Do Anything Right: Oh, I don’t use this one. I tend to focus on the things it does well. Protecting prosecutors from malfeasance, protecting policemen who shoot teenagers in the face with pepper spray, protecting TSA agents from charges of sexual harassment, killing dogs, colluding with corporations… there’s a lot of stuff that government excels at.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      “All that to say, I see this one withering on the vine.”

      Agreed.  I believe that in 30 years, 70% of those who are now against SSM will be telling their children they were for it all along.

      ‘There are many reasons we are hated. “Freedom” is a poor word choice… but it’s not so far out there that we can’t even tell what the person who is saying it is talking about.”

      Maybe.  But I still remember having actual discussions in the time right after 9/11 with guys who asked, in all sincerity, why some Dems (specifically those that were unsure about Iraq) wanted the terrorists to win.  And regardless of what people thought, I have a very clear memory the reinforcement that “because of freedom” was patriotic and “because of what we might have done abroad” was unpatriotic.

      This term doesn’t mean what it used to, I tell you what. When I was going to school, there were still communists around who argued for such things as it being right and proper for command economies to punish people who wanted to buy stuff on the black market in, if not the same breath, the same discussion that they railed against the War on Drugs.

      Mega-dittoes!Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      The government also managed to pretty much destroy endemic severe elderly poverty along with creating a whole new class of consumer for the private sector via the creation of Social Security. But yeah, other than that, ya’ know, they can’t do anything right. Sell the whole thing of to AT&T and Wal-Mart. I mean, they’re much better at running things.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak
        Ignored
        says:

        Kathryn Johnston wants for nothing!Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Yes, I totally get the connected between local law enforcement assholes being assholes and the most successful anti-poverty program in the history of the republic. By the way, every time libertarians rightfully get upset about local LEO’s going off on power trips, they undermine the whole, “hey, if we just leave decisions to local lawmakers, we’ll be in much better shape!” argument. The only difference between local politicians and national politicians is that local politicians are cheaper to buy off and no one pays attention to them.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak
            Ignored
            says:

            Local lawmakers are not, however, capable of invading Iraq and Afghanistan.

            Something that the federal government also excels at.

             Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Right. They can just go to war against each other, like almost happened multiple times under the Articles of Confederation.

              That still ignores the fact that the federal government does lots of good things very well, no matter how much you go, “look over there, it’s a unicorn” to try to cause a distraction.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                I didn’t cause a distraction, Jesse. I specifically said that I didn’t use a particular argument or criticism and then you started arguing against me as if I had.

                I’ll say again: Oh, I don’t use this one. I tend to focus on the things it does well.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                …and then listed negative things to most people on this site. Which I agree, is a nice little parlor trick. But, it’s still just filled with as little as substance as Goldberg’s rant.

                Which is of course why libertarians will always be off in their own little corner. Because when somebody, from the right or left comes over and says, “ya’ know, we agree with you on issue x, but you at least got to believe that thing y is a good thing, right?”, a libertarian says something like, well, you did.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                Then take great comfort that, at least, you aren’t on the same side as the libertarians.

                (The government does an *EXCELLENT* job of that as well.)Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, I’m with you on a lot of things. But yes, I’m perfectly happy being on the side of people who think Social Security has been an unqualified good that has been run well by the government. Ya’ see, I just don’t think we should burn the house down because the kitchens on fire.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The kitchen is on fire, though. There are a lot of people that it will hurt before it gets to us, though. We won’t see it for a while.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Great, we’ll help you put out the fire in the kitchen. Then kick you in the balls when you try to knock down the walls in the living room because you think a private company can rebuild it better. 🙂Report

  17. Avatar Dan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    “I’m hoping this is just him tossing a little complimentary anti-college red meat to the Red State crowd, because otherwise it’s a little sad.”

    That seems pretty sad on its own.Report

  18. Avatar joey jo jo
    Ignored
    says:

    nazis were facist national socialists who belong on the left because the word socialist is in their self description.

    china is the people’s republic of china so republicans are all chinese because they share the word “republic”.

    i doez this right?  i can haz book deal?

    but what if my parents were members of the DC village royalty?Report

  19. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    Is, “If you buy foreign, an American loses his job!” right wing or left wing? Because that one’s annoying as hell.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *