Jonah Goldberg’s Tyranny of Cliches

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.

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  • Doug

    It’s a great book – I just finished it recently.  I wish I had known he was in the area – I would have loved to have seen him in person.

  • Charles Martel

    The liberal use of cliche is what I call “the Tibetan prayer wheel strategy.” Much as Himalayan Buddhists spin prayer wheels to send entreaties wafting heavenward and do their praying for them, liberals use cliches to do their thinking for them. Both activities involve automation that does not require much more than a reflex action.

  • Old Buckeye

    Added to my arsenal (reading list).

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Left cheats because they are serious at winning. Their enemies try to play by the rules because their enemies think this is some soccer game on a field, designed for the audience’s amusement and where “fair play” has a goal and role.

    Eventually they will realize that war is serious business and that the Left is quite serious.