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": http://www.amazon.com/review/R1E3MQQ04S4IJ5/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm 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