[Content note: I'm reviewing a book by Jonah Goldberg, so it's safe to say I'll be discussing some pretty awful shit. This particular post includes allusions to eliminationism.]

[If it's the year 2015, and you're a Philadelphia charter school student doing research for your required Jonah Goldberg book report, I hope you accept my apologies on behalf of the people of 2012.]

Have I mentioned that all the chapter titles in this book are set in CAPS LOCK? True story. (Actually, the typology is pretty phat fly phly. The kids still say that, right?)

Also, if you had three in the "how many pages until Jonah Goldberg mentions Nazis" poll, congratulations!

This chapter is about ideology IDEOLOGY, so logically enough Goldberg starts it off by discussing a speech Barack HUSSEIN Obama's made right before taking office. During a speech in Baltimore, president-elect Hussein proclaimed that America needed "a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives-- from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry."

Obvs, the latter three are NBD, because President Hussein is a Muslim Nazi:
How odd that a black man with the name Barack Hussein Obama is elected president and then turns on the country elected him with a wagging finger and an exhortation to abandon precisely the qualities the American people lacked sufficiently in order to elect him in the first place.
Also odd: I am reading a book by two time Pulitzer entrant Jonah Goldberg, author of New York Times bestseller Liberal Fascism and a syndicated column for which he is well compensated.

Also: Goldberg's argument appears to be that the election of a Democrat heralded the end of small thinking, prejudice, and bigotry. Okay, player.

For the rest of the chapter, Goldberg prattles on about how having an "ideology" isn't a bad thing. After all, to have an ideology is to have a perspective, and all humans have a view of the universe that is shaped by their circumstances. Thus, in a sense, "facts" are not as objective as you might think, given that different people are seeing "reality" filtered through different lenses.


Obviously, Goldberg uses this line of reasoning to talk shit about leftist academics.

(True Fact: Donna Haraway, who AFAIK invented the whole "situated knowledges" thing is also Catholic. That's only interesting in light of Goldberg's later claims that the left hates Catholics. So.... stay tuned for that?)

The basic problem I see here One of the many, many fundamental problems is that Goldberg is equating some liberals screams of "ideology" with the lack of any further argument on their part. I actually agree that yelling "OH NOES IDEOLOGY" in a crowded Congress is unproductive, but that's not quite the totality of what many Democrats (or liberals) have been doing for the past decade.

Anywho, are you ready for Goldberg to deliver the sockdolager? The argument that's gonna finally prove what we already know about there being multiple valid ways to look at the same information? Me neither.

Goldberg chooses the quality of US healthcare to prove that everything we've already known to be true is. Sure, you could say (if you're a liberal) that the US spends way more money than other countries on healthcare yet achieves shittier outcomes than most nations in the Global North (no, Jonah Goldberg did not use the world "Global North.")

However, have you considered:
1. If money is no object to you, the United States has great healthcare!
2. High infant mortality rates? Seems kinda irrelevant when you think about all the abortion! (Which is obviously more widespread than in other Global North nations!)
3. When you take out all the stabbings and shootings and shit, the life expectancy (according to no cited sources) in the US is probably better than it is in those pussy nations where the poor parts of town aren't shooting galleries.

Seriously. Those are his three counter-arguments, given with essentially no citations (up yours, fascists at the World Health Organization!), unless you count stuff from National Review Online, which Goldberg founded.

I'll give Goldberg this much: his first argument does actually strike me as reasonable. If you only care about the mega rich, the US probably does have pretty good healthcare. Also: YOU'RE (LITERALLY) HISTORY'S GREATEST MONSTER.

Not content with the degree to which he has obliterated snooty leftist thinking (not at all, if you're keeping score), Goldberg proceeds to shock any liberals who might be having this book loudly yelled towards them by a man on a radio station by proclaiming that in America, members of different ethnic groups have different life expectancies. Also:
If we really want to improve life expectancy for black men, we could put them all in jail, because their life expectancy in prison is higher than it is outside of it.
HA HA HA, OUT OF ALL THE THINGS TO NOT GET A RISE OUT OF ME IN THIS BOOK, THIS IS DEFINITELY THE LEAST. (Seriously, though-- keep on reaching for that dream, advocates of the prison-industrial complex!)

....and that was the end of that.


Just to prove a point about how liberals hate diversity, Goldberg lumps all people together into two homogeneous camps, Team Liberal and Team AWESOME!!!1!!eleventy!! Conservative. He then proves (LITERALLY) that liberals are horrible by showing how they defend one of their own without regard to reason (even though multiple perspectives, including putting all black people in jail (he's kidding!) were totally valid a few pages ago).

Can you guess which pointy headed, Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyite-Czarist-Liberal asshole Goldberg chooses to center this argument?

Go ahead, guess.

I'll wait.

If you said Andrew Sullivan, you won! It turns out that liberals are always defending Andrew Sullivan, even though Andrew Sullivan is always wrong. (True stories: Jonah Goldberg and I agree on this one, and I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.)

Dude, your strawperson's straw pants are totally on fire, and by extension, so is the rest of said metaphor. (LITERALLY.) I mean, I'm not a liberal, but I'm pretty sure that while Andrew Sullivan is gay, he is not liberal. On a good day he might be what some have referred to as a**hole centrists, but that's about it. Certainly, not all liberals have defended him all the time. Not even the gay ones.

That's basically the story of the book this far: there are two types of identical people, and on the basis on no evidence whatsoever, liberals are the worst people on the planet (which doesn't strike me as particularly bad, given that they're still runners-up in the best people on the planet contest, but wev.).

Reading this book is like listening to the late Andy Rooney (who I sincerely hope is doing the audiobook) try to imitate a Jerry Seinfeld routine:
Did ya' ever notice that conservatives dance like this, but liberals dance like that? Why is that? The even later Charles De Gaulle once told me an interesting story about toast. He said, "Andy, you can't make an omelet without going to the supermarket to buy eggs." And that's why this current generation can't understand that liberals are horrible people who are all Nazis.
Neat! Next week: Pragmatism PRAGMATISM [Spoiler alert: Everything smells except Bill Buckley.]

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