David Kirkpatrick

July 16, 2010

Jonah Goldberg and cogent arguments …

… are mutually exclusive.

This is a very interesting take at Reason on where libertarianism is heading. It features three essays:

  • (Reason) Contributing Editor Brink Lindsey is vice president for research at the Cato Institute. He writes from the libertarian perspective stating libertarians need a clean break from the conservative political movement.
  • Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Goldberg argues libertarianism should retain and seek out ties to the conservative movement.
  • Matt Kibbe is president of FreedomWorks. He makes the argument the Tea Party movement is a libertarian movement.

It’s a long read for online content, but certainly worth the time if you are interested in libertarianism and are curious how to reconcile today’s political climate in the United States with a fiscally conservative/socially liberal stance.

The extended title refers to Goldberg’s essay. He’s certainly no intellectual heavyweight (or even light middleweight for that matter) and almost exclusively falls back on talking points from up on high and straw men in both his short- and long-form writing. This contribution to Reason did not disappoint on that measure.

To keep this short I’ll just point out one particularly egregious example.

Here’s Goldberg from graf six:

For starters, why should libertarianism be so hostile to culturally conservative values? Isn’t libertarianism about freedom, including the freedom to live conservatively if that’s what people choose?

Er, Jonah, libertarianism is not hostile to conservative values in the least and certainly all people should have the freedom to live conservatively, or not, if they choose. The problem comes when conservative values become the law of the land through bad policy. When this happens all people don’t have the opportunity to live as they choose. Only conservatives are permitted that right.

So it pays to remember, and to be intellectually honest, in recognizing there is a huge difference in being hostile to conservative values and hostile to conservative laws. Libertarians tend to dislike the heavy hand of the state in all spheres of influence. The free market for sure, but just as much in the free mind and body.

December 3, 2008

Jonah Goldberg is an idiot

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:51 pm

I know the bloggy left has all sort of names for Goldberg, but he really is just that stupid. It’s embarassing for the right punditry of the US that he has any mouthpiece, much less a national one. A scion of the feeble-minded right.

This is just indicitive of his worthless dribbling.

From the link (via the Daily Dish):

After a vote in which a minority of two or three percent were denied civil equality under the law and in which many thousands of couples had their legal marriages voided, Jonah Goldberg thinks the real victims are Mormons:

It’s just that Mormons are the most vulnerable of the culturally conservative religious denominations and therefore the easiest targets for an organized campaign against religious freedom of conscience.

He cites an ad campaign that wasn’t sanctioned by the No On 8 campaign, and summarizes the wave of peaceful protests by tens of thousands across the country by picking a few of the worst incidents of the fringes as a way to discredit the civil rights movement. He cannot in any way substantiate the notion that the marriage movement amounts to “an organized campaign against religious freedom of conscience.”

August 30, 2008

Even small minds …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:45 pm

have large thoughts every now and then.

Jonah Goldberg at the Corner:

I’ve been thinking about it and I think the bottom line on Palin is pretty simple. If she does a good job at the convention and survives about three weeks of serious media scrutiny — no horrible gaffes, no unforgivable I-don’t-knows to gotchya questions (fair and unfair), no botched hostile interviews — she will emerge as the single most inspired VP pick in modern memory and she will give the Democrats migraines for a long time to come, assuming there are no terrible skeletons we don’t know about. But, if she screws up in the next three weeks, gives the press and the late night comedians sufficient fodder to Quayelize her, she’ll be seen as anything from a liability to an outright horrible pick. That’s it.

I guess reality is kicking in 24 hours later for the knee-jerks. It’s so strange to see the “upstart outsider” candidate in Obama immediately become the calm, collected and, conservative in terms of the situation, option.

McCain, the insider “maverick,” will only look more like a dirty old man and what the Brits call an OAP (old age pensioner) next to his presumptive veep pick and opponent after this week’s events.

August 5, 2008

Sully on Goldberg

Filed under: et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:12 pm

It’s good to see Andrew Sullivan back in typical form after his working vacation. He’s bringing teh funny, but it’s hardly a fair fight to pick on the special one at NRO:

Leave it to Jonah:

An explosive fad in the 1980s, postmodernism was and is an enormous intellectual hustle in which left-wing intellectuals take crowbars and pick axes to anything having to do with the civilizational Mount Rushmore of Dead White European Males.

Philosophy is easy when you know nothing about it, isn’t it?

I’ll give Goldberg this much, academic postmodernism was, and still is, a load of crap.

July 24, 2008

What has happened to Ben Stein?

First he pulls this bit of nonsense during the tour promoting the nonsense documentary — and I use the word documentary very loosely here — “Expelled.”

Now Media Matters is reporting he’s gone Godwin on the Democratic Convention and Obama.

From the second link:

On the July 23 edition of CNN Headline News’ Glenn Beck, guest Ben Stein, while discussing Sen. Barack Obama’s planto deliver his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination at Denver’s Invesco Field, stated that he did not “like the idea of Senator Obama giving his acceptance speech in front of 75,000 wildly cheering people” because “[t]hat is not the way we do things in political parties in the United States of America.” Stein continued: “Seventy-five-thousand people at an outdoor sports palace, well, that’s something the Fuehrer would have done. And I think whoever is advising Senator Obama to do this is bringing up all kinds of very unfortunate images from the past.”

Host Beck responded that he has “been saying that we’re headed towards a Mussolini-style presidency forever. … I mean it’s crazy.” Stein then declared, “It’s a scary situation. … But 75,000 people screaming in an outdoor arena, that’s just too much. It’s just — it’s scarily authoritarian.” He continued: “It’s like Juan Peron and Evita.”

Stein is not the first guest on Glenn Beckto compare Obama to Adolf Hitler. On February 22, National Review Online editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg said: “I think one of the things that is decidedly fascistic, or at least just a bad idea, is looking for silver bullets. You know, when Barack Obama campaigns, he’s basically saying, ‘I’m a silver bullet. I’m going to solve all your problems just by electing me.’ FDR, Hitler, all these guys, they basically said, ‘All your problems can be solved.’ “

Not too shocking a feeble-minded hack scion like Goldberg came up with a weak analogy, but for Stein this would have been unfathomable before his little turn in “Expelled,” and in particular his behavior on the publicity tour.

I’ve heard that old friends are turning on him, but I haven’t read any of his latest columns — if he still has one somewhere. I always enjoyed his work for the American Spectator and other media outlets.

It’s sad to see a once vibrant, and intellectually challenging, mind grab for the easiest, least relevant argument. Unless Stein honestly thinks Obama will do for the United States what Hitler did for Germany and then Europe. If that’s the case maybe he needs a CT scan to make sure he doesn’t have brain tumor.

July 22, 2008

Obama and the media

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:32 pm

I can understand the McCain campaign’s frustration at the attention given to every move Obama makes. At the same time I seriously doubt McCain wants to crank up the scrutiny on his various missteps. All in all, both candidates are getting some seriously soft-glove treatment by the press.

McCain is in a tough spot. How do you compete with this?

Barack Obama strode onto the world stage on Tuesday with trademark audacity, or as his political enemies would have it, a dearth of humility, in the symbolic shadow of Jordan’s Temple of Hercules. As he tries to convince Americans he will keep them safe, the White House hopeful held his first major press conference abroad as presumptive Democratic nominee near ancient Roman ruins and a shrine to the mighty Greek mythic hero.

Overlooking sun-bleached homes and minarets of the Jordanian capital, Obama spoke about his stealth mission to Iraq, against a backdrop seemingly chosen to suggest a young dynamic potential president, at home and abroad.

It was another example of the Obama campaign’s flair for political imagery, and a world away from frigid icebound Iowa, or hard-knocks schools in rustbelt towns in Ohio where presidential candidates usually hang out.

After knocking the dust of Iraq off his boots, Obama swapped his khakis and flak jacket for a suit and red tie.

Even worse, he was thrown under the bus by Jonah Goldberg, GOP party hack:

Within months of the invasion, McCain was calling for more troops and the head of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Later, when the Iraqi civil war erupted, Al Qaeda in Iraq metastasized and the Iranians mounted a clandestine surge all their own, McCain doubled-down; he argued that we couldn’t afford to lose and proposed a revised counterinsurgency strategy for victory. That was the same very month that Obama introduced the “Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007.”

That’s all great stuff for McCain’s biographers. But the tragic Catch-22 for the Arizona senator is that the more the surge succeeds, the more politically advantageous it is for Obama.

Voters don’t care about the surge; they care about the war. Americans want it to be over — and in a way they can be proud of.

When this is the best you get from the bought and paid for set, there is no base. The problems facing McCain include the Christianists don’t like him, fiscal conservatives don’t trust him and Reagan Republicans understand that he’s not one of them. There’s not much left of that stool once you subtract all that core support.

July 16, 2008

Fascism on the bookshelf

Filed under: et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:45 pm

Here’s a great set of book reviews from the August/September 2008 print issue of Reason Magazine.

Michael C. Moynihan takes on Naomi Wolf’s The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot and Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, and finds both quite lacking — particularly Wolf’s effort — and chastises the current habit of pundits, commentators and bloggers throwing the word “fascist” around willy nilly.

Here’s Monyihan’s summation:

That certain modern ideologies contain trace elements of fascism doesn’t mean that they are in any meaningful way fascist, or even pre-fascist (as the Wolfian left would have it). Not every flag-bedecked rally is Nuremberg, not every Guantanamo Bay is Auschwitz, and not every ill-conceived call for redistribution is a sign of corporatism.

It is important, in times of crisis, when an administration invokes the perennial threat of an external enemy, that a citizenry be vigilant in safeguarding civil liberties, in jealously guarding the constitutionality of invoked wartime powers. But when those self-appointed guardians collapse into “Weimar moment” paranoia, not only is the concept of fascism diluted to the point of meaninglessness, but other, more pressing liberty-related issues are subsumed by the hysteria. When both sides see creeping fascism lurking around every bit of political rhetoric and action they disagree with, then the term doesn’t need to be reappropriated or redefined, it needs to be buried.