Jonah Goldberg: The Gilded Age Was Awesome For Poor People

Pictured: American children enjoying Gilded Age, ca. 1900. Professional wingnut revisionist historian Jonah Goldberg was very upset that President Obama called the GOP budget -- which pays for tax cuts for rich people by cutting services for poor

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Professional wingnut revisionist historian Jonah Goldberg was very upset that President Obama called the GOP budget -- which pays for tax cuts for rich people by cutting services for poor people -- "Social Darwinism". In a nearly fact-free piece, which he wrote for the Weekly Standard (undoubtedly in crayon), he argues that...

...it’s worth noting that the so-called red-in-tooth-and-claw Gilded Age was a time of massive, historic economic growth. It was when America overtook Britain as the economic powerhouse of the globe. That’s one reason the left has always hated it. When Europe was boldly embracing socialism, America was proving that capitalism was better at generating wealth and lifting people out of poverty.

What a mess.

First, the Gilded Age is generally regarded as the era after the Civil War (ca. 1870s) until the Progressive Era (ca. 1900s). Which European countries were "boldly embracing socialism" before 1900?

Second, anyone who thinks the Gilded Age was an era in which the masses were "lifted people out of poverty" is pathetically, horribly misinformed.

While the rich wore diamonds, many wore rags. In 1890, 11 million of the nation's 12 million families earned less than $1200 per year; of this group, the average annual income was $380, well below the poverty line.

And here's the best part. Jonah argues that it's unfair to characterize the extreme laissez-faire economics of the Gilded Age "Social Darwinism," because that term was simply an invention of a "liberal" historian in the '40s.

Almost no one else called himself a Social Darwinist either (including Spencer’s alleged co-conspirator William Graham Sumner). Simply put, there was no remotely serious intellectual movement—at least not in America or Britain—called Social Darwinism, and the evil views attributed to so-called Social Darwinists were not held by its alleged founders.

That's a fun rhetorical trick! Let's try the same device, using a work of Jonah's.

Almost no one else called himself a Liberal Fascist either...Simply put, there was no remotely serious intellectual movement—at least not in America or Britain—called Liberal Fascism, and the evil views attributed to so-called Liberal Fascists were not held by its alleged founders.

See how easy this is?

That Jonah is considered a serious intellectual by the right tells you everything you need to know about the modern conservative movement.

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