Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism...

Jonah Goldberg has a new book out. It's not exactly new ground, and it's under fire for a number of reasons (see here and here for some examples). It's a shame that he managed to screw up such an easy topic. The knee-jerk labeling of conservatives as fascists is a problem that could use a thoughtful examination, but writing the book equivalent of "I know you are but what am I" doesn't count as thoughtful. Then again, the majority of criticism I've seen is the "Nuh-Uh!" variety, so neither side is doing very well.

All this substanceless back-and-forth has a purpose, though. If either side actually addressed the merits of the underlying argument, they would have to admit that there are plenty of fascists filling the ranks of both Team Blue and Team Red. Both teams have prominent members that support increasing the welfare state, restricting speech, curtailing civil liberties, increasing the War on Drugs, encouraging nationalism (or "national greatness"), expanding state surveillance, and enlarging the state's realm of power. Anyone who follows politics should be able to name a number of politicians from both teams who engage in all those behaviors.

However, such an analysis requires admitting that the battle between Team Red and Team Blue is just a bunch of shadows on a cave wall, and no major pundit is going to do that because it's bad business. Calling attention to the cave wall isn't going to sell millions of books, generate TV interviews, and create name recognition. Only properly identifying the shadows will get publicity with the cave dwellers. Everything else is a distraction, and distractions cannot be tolerated when election 2008 is going to be the most important election of our lives. Voting for the wrong shadows will destroy your freedom, and don't you forget it.


At 1:38 PM, January 02, 2008 , Blogger Vernunft said...

Don't you think at least some people are breaking out of the dominant paradigm (I cannot believe I just typed that ;_;)? Ron Paul is doing well, for instance; moreover, Fred Thompson is at least talking a small-government, truly federalist game, even going so far as to oppose a federal abortion amendment on such grounds.

At 9:51 AM, January 03, 2008 , Blogger Freiheit said...

Look at how they've been treated by the majority of pundits. Thompson has been mostly ignored (admittedly, he seems to be mailing it in), and Paul is either a racist nut, an isolationist nut, or an unserious candidate, depending on the critic.

I don't know about a dominant paradigm, but there's definitely a presumption among the media and most pundits the Something Must Be Done, and anyone who claims otherwise is an outsider/unserious/dangerous/crazy.

I don't know what ";_;" means.

At 8:33 PM, January 03, 2008 , Blogger Nick Milne said...

It's a pictogram suggestive of a man crying. The bottomwise elements of the semi-colons are tears.

Quod erat

At 4:38 PM, January 07, 2008 , Anonymous OhioforRP said...

i LOVE ron paul. and i hope he does well in new hampshire - not that it represents most of hte nation by any stretch of the imagination. and press ignores rp because they don't take him seriously - it's pathetic. god forbid someone stand by the constitution and actually say what they think. he's not like gravel, he's not an idiot. (just an OB-GYN.) if you haven't checked out's coverage of the primary though, you should. veracifier is doing an on the ground journalism project with their reporterson the ground in NH and anyone else with a webcam that wants to comment in. maybe they'll show something different than cnn. democratic journalism, democratic america. spread the revolution!!!!!


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