Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Boy Can't Help It

Jonah Goldberg has an extraordinarily strong Authoritarian drive. It's strong enough to override an also-strong rebellious streak, embodied in his love of anti-social pop culture heroes like Homer and Bart Simpson and in South Park. It's strong enough to crush any creative streak that might have lurked in this former tv writer and producer. It's even strong enough to make him support the types of people who would be horrified by Goldberg, an East Coast elite Jewish writer; the evangelicals.

Jonah states you can't be conservative without being religious. He appeals to authority by listing several conservatives that purport to be religious. It does not occur to him that his Authorities might be lying or disbelievers ; for instance, it's well know that Karl Rove is an atheist. Jonah also seems to state that if you are religious you must also be conservative, or else you will start acting out of mercy and give away to the poor, which would make you a liberal. QED, in Jonah's snarled mind.

The conservative party is trying to figure out where they went wrong. They are split between realists such as David Frum, who wants to win, and fantasists such as Goldberg, who wants to be right. Authoritarianism and conservatism both abhor change, by definition. The future must be the same as the past; the child must obey and copy the father and mother. There is no solution or compromise possible. Either they have enough votes to inflict their view upon the world, or they don't, and that depends as much on the economy as ideology. No debate or intellectual exercise can change that.


Susan of Texas said...

He did declare that he is Jewish. I looked this up a while back and found an article he wrote about Christmas, quoted below, and a couple of other mentions.

"Maybe it's my upbringing. When my parents got married, my father insisted the kids be raised Jewish. For the record, Mom's Episcopalian. And, also for the record, you can spare the e-mails about how that means I'm not Jewish because Jewishness is matrilineal.

This didn't stop me from getting Bar Mitzvah presents (ah, the early '80s, so many electronic calculators!). And it doesn't stop me from getting piles of anti-Semitic e-mail, either. Anyway, Momma G said, Fine, we can raise the kids Jewish, but we have to celebrate Christmas.

And so we did. In fact, my parents clipped a headline from a newspaper and taped it to a cardboard Christmas tree ornament they still use every year. It says: "Santa Knows We're Jewish."
I attended a Reform Jewish day school, and almost everyone I knew had a Christmas tree at home...
And keep in mind, this school, Rodeph Sholem, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, was virtually a madrassa of knee-jerk Jewish liberalism."

Susan of Texas said...

Anonymous said...

I thought his stablemate Derb was an atheist.

Anonymous said...

I love how he says that progressivism had "some success" with its first flowering in abolitionism, but that the results of the later Progressive Movement were "mixed." I assume he's talking about Prohibition, which is virtually the only unsuccessful element of early 20th century Progressivism.

Progressivism was sustained in the early use of mass communication by "muckrakers" who detailed the horrors of laissez faire capitalism like dangerous factory conditions (see Triangle Shirtwaist Fire) and child labor. Many of those writers were religious people.

Some of the "mixed results" of the Progressive movement were: the Interstate Commerce Act (1887) and the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890), the beginning of the conservation movement, railroad regulatory legislation, and food and drug laws.

Progressive activism was also essential to important changes to the Constitution, which provided for direct election of senators and extended suffrage to women.

Progressives were the first social workers, who ran settlement houses and championed birth control in the horrifying urban slums of the day.

Almost all of this was the work of deeply religious people.

Does Jonah also forget the strong religious element in mid-20th century progressivism's fight for civil rights?

The man is terminally confused about the historical relationship between religiosity and political persuasion.

But then, we know all about Jonah's grasp of history.....

Susan of Texas said...

LA confidential pantload,yes, that's right, I believe. Every so often there's so amusing bickering when Derb laughs at the others for questioning evolution.

Julia Gray, I actually think the Pantload is talking about the New Deal.

Anonymous said...

He might have been talking about the New Deal, but he referred to the (capitalized) Progressive Movement, which was the early 20th C version of reformism.

Since he's such a great historian and all (cough) I offered him the compliment of assuming he knew what "Progressive Movement" meant.

The New Deal could be construed as the Progressive Movement's "second wave," I suppose.

Righteous Bubba said...

I'll be durned, thanks for the correction. Somehow I was under the impression that he was raised Episcopalian.