Let’s see…. Today is Sunday, right? I ask because being out-of-town for the weekend (which I am) always skews my perception of time. It now seems like a lifetime, ather than something less than two days since I heard Jonah Goldberg talk about his new book, The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.
Would it surprise you to learn that Jonah is a great speaker? It didn’t surprise me at all. One only has toreach his work, or watch him on TV, to know that any talk he gives will be entertaining, both at the substantive and the performance level.
Jonah’s thesis, which he delivered with a great deal of verve and humor, is that liberals fall back on meaningless political catch phrases, in order to shut down any substantive political argument. For example, being told “We need to get on the right side of history” makes no sense. But liberals use it all the time to avoid examining the merits of their ideas.
One of the reasons liberals get away with this meaningless rhetoric is because they’ve convinced themselves that they are actually apolitical. They have no guiding ideology. They’re pragmatists who, like Joe FrIday, function in a world governed by “Just the facts.” This is belief is a “Big Lie,” one that they tell themselves and, worse, our credulous young folk, who are held hostage in their public school and Ivy League classrooms.
I’ve only just started Jonah’s book, since I’ve been too busy to sit down and read anything more than a paragraph here or there. I can tell you already, though, that it’s a winner, written with Jonah’s hallmark wit, erudition, and insight.