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Jonah Goldberg, (1968–) known to liberal bloggers as Doughy Pantload, is a pundit and editor at the National Review Online, the website for the well-known conservative magazine the National Review, and has done great work in helping destroying its brand (when it's not too busy destroying itself). His mother was "ratfucker" Lucianne Goldberg (1935–2022), who became famous by masquerading as a journalist to spy on the 1972 Democratic presidential campaign for Richard Nixon and later by helping to touch off the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Andrew Sullivan alleges that Goldberg received his position due to nepotism rather than to actual merit.
Goldberg wrote a book called Liberal Fascism in which he claims that Swarthmore-educated grade-school teachers are a greater risk than actual fascists. (This is despite the fact that he doesn't even know basic history about Benito Mussolini.).
The underlying premise is so poor that readers should be encouraged to pick it up in order to see what tripe the National Review actually publishes. For example the book clearly states that Hitler's National Socialist party (National Socialist German Workers' Party) was Socialist because it included the term in its name—which of course is on par with saying that a pineapple is a type of apple. This is not so much discredited but dismissed as idiocy by sane people.
Most bloggers find him an arrogant bloviator. He does get points for his massive geek cred; otherwise the depths of his inanity make him a worthless pundit. He has had a logical fallacy, Jonanism, named after him.
Goldberg is a true movement conservative, meaning that his politics shift with the times. During the Bush years, he was a bedwetter in the chickenhawk mold. With the return of the Democrats to power, he shifted to a quasi-libertarian perspective. Not surprisingly, this coincided with the release of his book, which would have seemed a tad hypocritical if he were still begging the government to lock up the bad people with the funny names. Still, hints of authoritarianism still slip through the cracks.[note 1] Even better is his stance on waterboarding. At one point, he admitted it was torture (under certain circumstances, and after suggesting it may have been worthwhile).[note 2] He later walked it back, posting reader comments arguing that waterboarding isn't really torture if you do it by the book. Of course, it is possible that he was merely posting these e-mails to demonstrate the depravity of his readers.
In addition to torture, Goldberg appears to endorse the assassination of whistleblowers. In one blog post he fantasized about Julian Assange being garroted. Wingnuts like him like to talk tough but usually want someone else to do the wet work.
As to be expected Goldberg is also a global warming denier, though most of his arguments seem to involve rambling about "Climategate." He's also made some noise about non existent DDT bans, and seems to hit most of the anti-environmentalist talking points when talking about anything even remotely environmental.
At the Corner
Much of the mockery Goldberg receives comes from his posts at the Corner, the NRO group blog. Goldberg has a reputation for posting links to flash games and YouTube videos in lieu of actual commentary. When he does get around to writing about politics, he tends to do so via bare links or Instapundit-style grunts. This behavior, combined with his habit of avoiding discussions by claiming to be on deadline, has given him a reputation for laziness.
His most notable achievement at the Corner was coining the neologism "bleg" — a portmanteau of blog and beg—which he defined as "an appeal for thoughts or more to readers of one's blog." That alone should tell you everything you need to know about Goldberg's work ethic.
Is Goldberg a clueless asshole?
In a word: Duh?
Goldberg received widespread criticism for an unbelievably heartless post he left at the Corner on August 29, 2005, the day that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The post, in full:
I think it's time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you're working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he's not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It's never too soon to be prepared.
A week later, Goldberg wrote another post apologizing for his horrible statements. Well... to be perfectly accurate, he spent 100 words apologizing and 1000 words criticizing someone else for incorrect statements about Katrina. Still, the fact that he said anything about it at all meant that he learned something from his mistakes.
Unfortunately, between 2005 and 2010 he forgot that lesson. Responding to the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, he argued that the real problem in Haiti was its "poverty culture" and that we needed to show the country "tough love" to help the Haitians shake it off. Maybe if the US and Europe hadn't deliberately made things difficult for Haiti it could shed some of that poverty, n'est-ce pas?
Liberal Fascism, or Goldberg's Load
Goldberg is probably best known for his book-length brain fart, Liberal Fascism. Long story short, it is Goldberg's argument that nationalism-hating, Social Darwinism-hating American liberalism is derived entirely from Italian and German fascism, "a very serious, thoughtful, argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care." This is however because the argument was previously nonexistent, and with the release of his book barely holds together as a conscious thought. Its inherent contradictions are too manifold for properly refuting and its premises deny falsifiability. Yet, this is more than nothing and the "detail and care" are arguably more than null. The truth however is a bit trickier.
Liberal Fascism almost didn't come out; it was delayed six times. Originally slated for a 2005 release, it didn't come out until December 2007.
Why the delays? There are any number of factors that can push back a release date. Even something as simple as a name change can cause a delay, and the name of the book changed at least three times. It is also possible that Goldberg is the laziest man on Earth and didn't even get around to writing it until 2007. The fact that he repeatedly used NRO to beg for assistance from his readers seems to support this.
In December 2007, a Daily Kos blogger organized a Google bomb directing searches for Liberal Fascism to a blog post in which Goldberg's arguments were depicted as a series of LOLcat images. Predictably, Goldberg was displeased. In January 2008, the link abruptly disappeared from search results, apparently a result of the fascist liberal Google manually editing the search results. Surprisingly, Goldberg seemed genuinely contrite over the whole affair.
The easiest way to debunk the "argument" is to quote the man himself. The following quotes are all from Liberal Fascism:
- "In this sense, both the Wilson and the FDR administrations were descendants - albeit distant ones - of the first fascist movement: the French Revolution."
- "Nazi attitudes toward homosexuality are a source of confusion...Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams write in The Pink Swastika that 'the National Socialist revolution and the Nazi Party were animated and dominated[note 3] by militaristic homosexuals, pederasts, pornographers, and sadomasochists.'"[note 4]
- "It is fine to say that many of Nazism's concerns were held by people who were not Nazis. But the fact that these conventionally leftist views were held by Nazis suggests that Nazism isn't as alien to mainstream progressive thought as some would have us believe." (On animal rights being a fascist position!)
- "But it [liberalism] is definitely totalitarian - or 'holistic,' if you prefer - in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance..."[note 5]
- "The white male is the Jew of liberal fascism."
- '“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”'[note 6]
- "Liberal fascism differs from classical fascism in many ways. I don't deny this. Indeed, it is central to my point." (As a result, "central to my point" became a meme in the world of political blogs. Ex: "Jonah Goldberg is different from Charles Manson in many ways. Indeed, this is central to my point.")
It almost goes without saying that most experts on history or politics in general (and fascism in particular) have come out against Goldberg's book.[note 7] Additionally, he was humiliated on many talk shows during the promotional phase. Jon Stewart did as good a job as anyone.[note 8]
Despite the widespread derision, Dan Schneider, the executive director of the American Conservative Union (which runs the Conservative Political Action Conference), has taken up the cause against "liberal fascism" in 2017 by using the term in reference to the alt-right. (If the alt-right consists of liberal fascists, what must conservative fascists be like?)
Goldberg's latest project is Proud to Be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation, a compilation of stories to which Goldberg appended his name. Amusingly, the press for the book itself has been overshadowed by a bizarre incident on CSPAN2's BookTV in which contributor Todd Seavey launched into a tangent on his ex-girlfriend, another contributor who was also present.
- ↑ This post, in which he argues that noting the racial disparities in drug enforcement is itself racist, is a good example. Even better, he posts an email from a reader who argues that the fact that we lock up more blacks than whites for drug crimes is actually good for the black community. Libertarianism!
- ↑ Goldberg has previously shown at least tacit support for the use of torture - see here and here.Interesting perspective for a libertarian, no?
- ↑ Very interesting language you're using there.
- ↑ Yes, he actually cited this thing.
- ↑ If you want to know why this is really funny, check out the NRO lists of conservative movies and rock songs.
- ↑ Oops! That's not from Liberal Fascism. It's from this column (entitled "Baghdad delenda est - no fascist undertones there), in which Goldberg argued that we should have invaded Iraq as a show of strength. He attributes this sentiment to Michael Ledeen, who is yet another person who thinks Jonah is full of shit
- ↑ A nice capsule summary can be found here
- ↑ "But wait!" you're saying. "Why is this video so strangely edited? Where can I see the uncut version?" Well, there isn't one. Comedy Central never released the entire interview, and no reason has been given. Goldberg has since claimed that they chopped him up to make him look foolish by removing his good arguments. No, seriously.
- ↑ https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=doughy%20pantload
- ↑ See the Wikipedia article on Lucianne Goldberg.
- ↑ Andrew Sullivan: Conservative Meritocracy Thrives
- ↑ Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change by Jonah Goldberg (2009). Crown Forum. ISBN 0767917189.
- ↑ Here you can find scanned in copies of the table of contents and the inside jacket of the book.
- ↑ Glenn Greenwald, Jonah Goldberg's deeply "conflicted" thoughts on war and torture. Salon, 12 November 2017.
"Mussolini was born a socialist, he died a socialist, he never abandoned his love of socialism, he was one of the most important socialist intellectuals in Europe and was one of the most important socialist activists in Italy, and the only reason he got dubbed a fascist and therefore a right-winger is because he supported World War I." (Emphasis added)
- ↑ Sounds Like Torture to Me, The Corner, April 20 2009
- ↑ 183, The Corner, April 20 2009
- ↑ This will exist forever.
- ↑ "Groupthink. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
- ↑ http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/26/opinion/la-oe-goldberg-climate-change-20110426
- ↑ http://www.nationalreview.com/liberal-fascism/203473/ddt-exterminationism
- ↑ A full week of posts, reduced to their essence
- ↑ Hello, I must be going. I cannot stay, I came to say, I must be going, TBogg, December 29 2009
- ↑ It Burns, Instaputz, May 20 2010
- ↑ Urban Dictionary: "bleg"
- ↑ The Internet remembers your sins, Mr. Goldberg
- ↑ Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, The Corner, September 06 2005
- ↑ Haiti's True Curse - Bring some tranquilizers if you plan on reading this.
- ↑ https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/haitis-troubled-path-development
- ↑ Tyranny Shmyranny, The Corner, June 19 2002
- ↑ The Corner, March 21 2007
- ↑ "We're all fascists now", Salon.com, January 11 2008
- ↑ See here and here.
- ↑ http://jonswift.blogspot.com/2007/06/jonah-goldbergs-shining.html
- ↑ Gosh, It’s Almost Like They’re Scared Or Something, The Corner, December 29 2007
- ↑ Google Bombs Jon Swift, January 12 2008
- ↑ Catching Google Bomb Shrapnel, The Corner, January 13 2008
- ↑ http://www.nationalreview.com/liberal-fascism/203255/white-man-jew-liberal-fascism-jonah-goldberg
- ↑ Goldberg’s Trivial Pursuit by Austin W. Bramwell
- ↑ Alt-right leader expelled from CPAC, after organizer denounces 'left-wing fascist group' by David Weigel and John Wagner (February 23 at 11:56 AM) The Washington Post.
- ↑ Man Gets Revenge on Ex-Girlfriend on C-SPAN 2. Bonus: The comment section under the video contains some fine examples of YouTube misogyny.