The great flaw in the liberal tradition is the obligation to respect other people's arguments, even when that other person is a nitwit.
It's the downside of the dialectic. We're expected to engage with everyone, whether or not their facts are wrong, their ideas are immoral or they're obviously just using the vocabulary of politics to express problems at home. Result: Laura Ingraham.
And, you know, Plato's Republic.
Point, counterpoint. It's an intellectual duty, like cleaning up after your dog. That's why, starting next week, we're expected to get our pants in a bunch about Doubleday's proud new contribution to the discourse: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.
Or, A German-Owned Publisher Calls a Rabbi a Nazi and That's Just the Title.
(Doubleday is Bertelsmann. The phrase "politics of meaning" was coined by Tikkun founder Michael Lerner. Creepy? Sure. But it's all just for fun.)
The author is our old friend Jonah Goldberg, whose other intellectual achievements include being the fat guy who knows every episode of The Simpsons by heart, and rising to the dizzying heights of the KCIA's National Review from his humble origins, being born in a whorehouse.
And that's not really fair. The Korean CIA doesn't technically run the National Review.
It's more of an imprint. Like Doubleday and Bertelsmann.
Where was I?
Jonah Goldberg, the lovable contrarian gadfly, is looking to push your buttons, and from the available excerpts and the reviews so far, it seems he'll be doing it by sticking it to Woodrow Wilson, who's been getting a free ride for far too long.
You're next, William H. Seward.
Woodrow Wilson? We're supposed to get steamed that someone is talking smack about Woodrow Wilson? It's like blaspheming against Phar Lap.
You think Jonah Goldberg must be joking, but that can't be it, because he's not quoting The Simpsons, and he doesn't have dip on his hands. And you're not thinking: I hate this party, I want to go home.
How did Goldberg get stuck with the unenviable task of trying to be irreverent about Woodrow Wilson? Because the Kennedys and FDR are played out. Christopher Hitchens has already done Mother Teresa and Ann Coulter cashed in on re-evaluating the last polarizing historical figure a few living people could actually pick out of a police line-up, Joseph McCarthy.
(One advantage Goldberg has over Coulter? His tits are real.)
So it was Woodrow Wilson or nothing. Hillary had better get elected soon, or conservatives will have nothing to hate but themselves.
But there's more to "liberal fascism" than just the iron heel of the League of Nations. Goldberg's secret history also proves that everyone who wasn't a fascist really was a fascist, pacifism is violence, secularism is religious oppression, social security is Stalinism, compassion is censorship, black is white, anarchy is totalitarianism, slavery is freedom and the only right more precious than racism is mining.
It's that book again.
It's not an argument, exactly, but it will make your teachers dread having to teach you, and attention is good.
The whole point of a book like Liberal Fascism -- besides degrading publishing so TV doesn't look so bad - is to make liberals mad. Cornel West says, "You have got to engage," but sometimes you don't. Sometimes the best thing to do is walk away.
Forget it, Jake. It's Opposite Town.
Wait, something about the book's cover just jumped out at me.
Ooooooo! See, he's subverting the Happy Face! (Take that, 1963!) My blood is boiling so hot I could tie-dye a shirt in it. But it isn't even an original twist. Remember the white supremacist sister act, Prussian Blue? Here they are four years ago:
Not liberal fascism. Just plain old fascism.
Jonah Goldberg is so tragically lame, to sell a book he'd steal a logo from a racist child.