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The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas

The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas [Kindle Edition]

Jonah Goldberg
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

“An indispensable and enduring field guide to the arguments the left makes—and the ones it tries to avoid.”

The Claremont Review of Books

According to Jonah Goldberg, if the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist, the greatest trick liberals ever pulled was convincing themselves they’re not ideological.

Today, “objective” journalists, academics, and “moderate” politicians peddle some of the most radical arguments by hiding them in homespun apho­risms. Barack Obama casts himself as a disciple of reason: He’s a pragmatist, opposed to the ideology and drama of the Right, solely concerned with “what works.” And today’s liberals follow his lead, spouting countless clichés such as:

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter: Sure, if the other man is an idiot. Was Martin Luther King Jr. a terrorist? Was Bin Laden a freedom fighter?

Violence never solves anything: Really? It solved our problems with King George III and ended slavery.

We need complete separation of church and state: In other words, all expressions of faith should be barred from politics . . . except when they support liberal programs.

With humor and passion, Goldberg dismantles these and many other Trojan horses that liberals use to cheat in the war of ideas. He shows that the Pro­gressive tradition of denying an ideological agenda while pursuing it vigorously under the false flag of reasonableness is alive and well. And he reveals how this dangerous game may lead us further down the path of self-destruction.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 688 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sentinel; Reprint edition (1 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0064VHWK0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #268,645 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality Bites 26 Oct 2013
Overall an excellent and engaging read by the author. The topic is from the Conservative point of view, with an unapologetic defence of this material, on the ongoing culture wars that is present in Western society. He covers this in witty and well researched erudite style, giving the historical origins, social context on the various key topics that are subject to debate on the newspaper leaders and online chatrooms.
He traces the continuing influence of Marx on the post-Berlin Wall secular opinions, the positive historical role of the Catholic Church, and injects a sense of counter-realism to the implicit assumptions of his opposition.
One cavaet, in that this is geared more towards US audiences, so a familiarity with that political system is assumed. In summary, recommended
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  174 reviews
117 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 10 May 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
I'm only halfway through reading this (just got it yesterday and I have 3 kids under 7 years old, so I'm doing quite well), but I figure if 18 people who haven't got past the cover can give it cliché-filled one-star reviews as part of their contribution to the culture war, I can be excused for offering my opinion based on a partial read.

I must say that this book is really engaging. Thoughts which I have tried to put into words for years, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, are presented in all their entertaining eloquence here by Jonah. For example, the defense of economic liberty as an inherent good or the indictment of people who shun "ideology" while they are simply bursting with ideas to improve society. He manages to provide depth, succinctness and wit in appropriate balance on these and other topics.

What it comes down to for me is that ideology should be discussed more in politics. I blame us for the fact that it's not. Politics is a market like any other, where a successful business has to sell what people want to buy. If they're peddling clichés instead of intelligent defense of their ideologies, it's because we've been buying it. As a nation, we haven't taught our children to understand freedom's intrinsic value or to think critically about ideas and policies. Our government-run educational system has produced people who don't know how to digest anything meatier than a cliché. It's time to teach them how. Don't accept muddy logic from friends and loved ones. Gently, but firmly, urge them down those mental pathways they have all but forgotten how to tread. Make them defend their principles if they can and be prepared to defend yours.
256 of 296 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessary cleansing of our language 2 May 2012
By Carlos Aguilar - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought the Kindle edition. This book will improve your critical thinking skills. It equips you with a sort of a BS filter that seeks out and neutralizes politically-loaded and intellectually vacuous words and phrases. Conservatives are always handicaped by having to debate in a culture filled with these Trojan horses, thanks to almost a century of conditioning by the media and the architects of popular culture. It's imperative that we sort these out if we want to win the war of ideas.

Take social justice for instance. Who could oppose any kind of justice? Except "social justice" is a term which turns the traditional definition of justice ("to each his own") on its head, transforming it into an indictment of income inequality. Whenever someone decries the lack of social justice, he isn't condemning any individual's rights being trampled, but the lack of a central authority deciding who gets what. Indeed, the ideal outcome for the social justice crowd is the type of society where the value one person creates for others is completely unrelated to the rewards that person receives. Bureaucrats would decide on their own terms in what proportion people should enjoy the fruits of their labor, if at all. How is that justice?

In Goldberg's book you will find a clear, logical, funny and enjoyable slaughter of rhetorical sacred cows. This is indispensable if we are to level the ideological battlefield. Lazy thinking is a friend of the Left. Unfortunately our society has set itself up to produce lazy thinkers. Think public education, Hollywood, the media, etc. It is firstly through the rigorous cleansing of our language that we can hope to get people to use their brains again.
180 of 211 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to tell if you're right or left... 8 May 2012
By E. Harkins - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I think it's hillarious that the reviews of this book are largely 5 stars or 1 star. In reading the reviews it's easy to see why...the leftists hate it and the more conservative folks appreciate its content. Not surprising too that the negative reviews are dismissive and nastier and generally don't refute the author's views, just rail against him. Let's see, who bills themselves as more tolerant than all others in the world today? It's awful to be judgmental unless judging conservative ideas and books. Got it. I know the rules of popular culture today, but I find it amusing and soooo predictable whenever I see it. This is a good book and the left's hatred for it just proves that point. The truth hurts, when you're on the wrong side of it.
176 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, informative, and a fine step forward reviving vigorous political discourse in America! 1 May 2012
By Craig Matteson - Published on
One of the most frustrating aspects of modern political discourse is the inability to engage with Progressives / Liberals in discussions or debates using well-formed arguments and reasoning. Why is this so? Because you will quickly get a shorthand reply using hackneyed declarations and clichés that are supposed to stand in for an argument. They are supposed to be some kind of self-evident truth, and debase the standing of their opponent to even be discussing the issue. For, example, how could there possibly be anyone for religion in the public square. Everyone knows that Separation of Church and State is in the Constitution, for heaven's sake - er, something's sake. Except that it may not be as clear or as traditional as the Liberals seem to think.

Jonah Goldberg, who wrote one of my favorite political books, "Liberal Fascism": now gives us another treasure. He shows how Liberal discourse is debased by the use of these standard tropes about diversity, religion, ideology, pragmatism, social justice, the Living Constitution, and a lot more.

We get history lessons and cultural analysis on how these standard statements came into being, what they used to be about, and how they have been transformed and recycled into modern politics as a way of stultifying discourse and shutting down any possible opposition or questioning of the Liberal Agenda. The history lessons are vital because any number of thoughtful writers have pointed out how dangerous it is to live our lives based on "facts" that just aren't so. And Goldberg delivers these clarifying lessons with such style and humor that they are downright entertaining. Honestly, you will find yourself chuckling. That is if you aren't too fond of the sacred cow he just slaughtered.

For example, he demonstrates the idea that man was demoted from the center of the solar system by Galileo is a complete misreading of what the center meant to the Renaissance mind. Think bowels and you will be closer to the mark. Center as a place of prestige is of more recent origin. And this changing of values over time leads to these anachronistic deceptions about meaning in our politics.

As the author says [This book] "is about clichés that have a tyrannical hold on our minds and the clichés that serve to advance ideological agendas that would expand and enhance the state's mastery over our lives". There are so many taken to task here that I am sure you will find more than a few you have been waiting for someone to dismantle for a long time. I know I found it cathartic when Goldberg declares, "The Marxists who claimed to be ending the masses' addiction to religion then proceeded to slaughter those same masses at a rate unprecedented in the history of human life." I also loved his unmasking of Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign as being for the "middle class" when the Clinton Campaign KNEW that 90% of Americans considered themselves "middle class". "It was an appeal to classically bourgeois values masquerading as class warfare." Brilliant it was. Honest it was not. But the nation fell for it. The purpose of this book is to help us get up to speed on how this verbal slight of tongue is used on us so we can stop falling for it.

I want you to get a copy and read it a couple of times so you can talk to your liberal friends and hold them accountable for what they say. Then I want you to buy a couple more copies for your tongue-tied friends who fall for these clichés and help them to begin to see through them.

And this is a vital time to do it as the airwaves and discourse between now and November are not going to be full of light and truth. We are going to hear noise, obfuscation, and clichés in quantities like schools of ocean fish darting in unison to the demands of the directions from Campaign Headquarters. Do NOT fall for them, my friends. This is not only an important book, but it is also a fun book. Well, unless you are feeling skewered by it.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI
46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jonah Consumes the Whale! 3 May 2012
By Tired Turtle - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jonah Goldberg is the author of "Liberal Fascism" in which he skewers the progressives/liberals by showing that it is they who more closely follow and emulate the "fascist" rulers they accuse conservatives of being. In "The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas" he once again uses his wit and sound logic to debunk and point out the silliness of the "Cliché" as used in political discourse/debate. This is just a fun read. I am sure you will see many maliciously slamming this book because it has caused that dissenting reviewer great discomfort. Discomfort from the fact that somewhere in the back of their brainbox they have the faintest realization that Jonah has scored a direct and devastating hit on the unsubstantial foundation upon which liberals have based their arguments.

The fun thing about "The Tyranny of Clichés" is that most readers will recognize that we have all heard these statements and thought--"boy, is that dumb, and doesn't substantiate or make the point", yet have remained silent. Well, Jonah will provide you with a sound, logically supported retort which will allow you to annoy the hell out of any such offending speaker. Others have unfairly rated this book based upon the publishers pricing, not it's content. This is unfair and should be ignored. I am sure there will be a lot of negative reviews and low ratings, based upon the political views of the reviewer and unwarranted antipathy toward Jonah. One should be able to clearly tell this bias in the review and I predict that many such reviews will only prove/reinforce Mr. Goldberg's thesis.

So purchase the book and dive into the arena in which Jonah consumes the "Whale" that is the Liberal Establishment and destroys their "clichéd arguments" using a humorous yet devastatingly logical approach. It is a fun read. I highly recommend this book.
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