Jonah Goldberg Claims Liberals Worship 'Big Government' as Their God
Sadly, Jonah Goldberg has another book to promote, which means he'll surely be popping up for more interviews like the ones that Blue Texan already wrote about here and here. For anyone who would like a reminder of the dishonesty in the last book he wrote, check out Dave Neiwert's post from back when Glenn Beck was still on the air and promoting Goldberg's fraudulent Liberal Fascism: Historians stand up to 'Liberal Fascism' and its abuse of history, while Beck blithely promotes it.
This Friday, Goldberg appeared at Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition conference and although he claimed that he was not there to plug his new book, that's clearly what he was doing during the end of his speech there. I'm assuming a lot of what he said is straight out of his new book, The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, but someone else who has actually read it will have to let me know, since I'm not in the mood to beat myself upside the head with a hammer attempting to read it or to send him any money. Hearing him talk about it in the interviews or speeches I've seen is bad enough.
I'm no expert on so-called "liberal philosophers" like the ones Goldberg was quoting here, but to this non-expert, his arguments seem completely ridiculous. Feel free to correct me in the comments section because what he said here is so convoluted, I'm having trouble making sense of it, but his basic premise seems to be, here are some things some liberal philosophers said. I'm going to interpret what they said to mean they want man to take the place of God. Man shouldn't have anything to do with government getting involved with policies that protect the least among us, because that's God's place. The lowest person in a society is an unborn fetus, so you can't care about those who are actually born unless you put that unborn fetus first. And President Obama has repeated some things these liberal philosophers have said, therefore he must be a Socialist. And his Life of Julia campaign is very creepy.
For a more honest assessment of President Obama's Life of Julia, here's Steve Benen's take from last month: 'The Life of Julia':
I thought about this joke about a week ago, when the Obama campaign unveiled an interesting online feature called "The Life of Julia," featuring a woman at 12 different stages of her life -- ages 3 to 67 -- and "how President Obama's policies help one woman over her lifetime -- and how Mitt Romney would change her story."
The point of the project is fairly obvious: throughout a woman's life, Obama has an agenda that provides protections and benefits that offer opportunities, while Romney has an agenda that does largely the opposite. Head Start programs help "Julia" at age 3; college aid benefits her at 17; the Affordable Care Act covers her at age 22; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act protects her at 23, Medicare covers her at 65, etc.
The right is not at all fond of "Julia's" story. As Joan McCarter noted yesterday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the online feature "creepy" and an extension of a "government-centered society." Ross Douthat is thinking along similar lines.
Jon Chait makes the case that conservatives seem to be missing the point. [...]
Reading through the "Life of Julia" slideshow, it's hard to imagine the American mainstream finding anything "creepy." It doesn't show a model in which the government controls anyone's life; it shows public institutions that offer everyone opportunities to succeed.
The next question should be to press Ryan and Douthat on what, exactly, they find "creepy" about the specific measures within the feature. Is Head Start scary government intervention? How about student loans? Is health care coverage for young adults (backed by 85% of the country) considered excessive? How about Medicare? Is access to affordable contraception and equal-pay laws offensive? How about small-business loans?
Goldberg also basically admitted that the "tea party" was there to try to get the George W. Bush stink off of the brand that is the Republican Party and for them to pretend that they didn't cheer for him and his policies for the entire time he was in office.
Here's a rough transcript of some of Goldberg's remarks:
GOLDBERG: One of the things I love about the tea party is that they were sort of a stem cell therapy for the Republican Party; not embryonic stem cells, sir. But they helped the Republican Party regrow its mind and we now have a Republican Party that is actually recognizing the fact that they lost their way too a little bit under George Bush. George Bush was an honorable and decent man. He had wars to fight. He had the war on terror to deal with and it knocked him off of his game, but at the same time the U .S. government spent an enormous amount of money. […]
America was told during the progressive era that everything has changed, that all the old assumptions were gone. That the old ideologies that under-girded American society were no longer relevant and we had to embrace a new era, a new time of standard role for government. The progressives actually made the argument that government could take the place of God; that government in fact eventually, was god.
They committed the Christian heresy of stateology, this idea of what the philosopher Hegel called “the god state,” that the state would do if God actually existed and it empowered the left to play god.
If you read liberal, or leftist philosophy, it is always about putting man in the place of god. It is about creating, whether it's the Bolsheviks or the progressives, it's about creating a heaven on earth, what the philosopher Eric Voegelin called immanentizing the eschaton; trying to make the here and now like the hereafter. And the problem is that you cannot do that. You cannot create a heaven on earth. The perfect society is reserved for the next life, not for this one.
And this is something that all conservatives of whatever faith fundamentally understand; that we are built from a crooked timber of humanity and that a state cannot straighten it out. If you read liberal philosophy, people like John Rawls, he says the way to imagine a decent society is to imagine you were creating it from scratch and you didn't know where you were going to be born into that society. He calls it the veil of ignorance. And he says you would create a just society if you thought you might be born the lowest person in that society, you would want to sort of hedge your bets. And that's how you should design a society.
There are a couple of problems with this. First of all, it very explicitly puts man in the place of god because it is not man's place to design a society from scratch. And second of all, the whole philosophy goes out the window because the one group that he doesn't acknowledge are the unborn. He says that he's completely for abortion rights and it seems to me that if you were going to design a society from scratch, not knowing where you were going to come into it, the one hitch that you would want in there is to make sure you were allowed to be born into it in the first place.
So when we hear President Obama speak these days - you know I have this book about the tyranny of cliches, I'm not going to get into the whole book plugging palooza thing - but when we hear President Obama speak these days, he's constantly invoking these same sort of age old liberal cliches, these left-wing formulations about how to design society.
When he speaks about social justice, he is talking about how to design society, how to run society from the state as if the state were god. I don't know if you guys have seen this Life of Julia web site that the Obama campaign came out with, but it is one of the creepiest things I have ever seen. First of all, the guy is president for life according to this thing. He's president until like 2070 and poor Julia, this young woman who benefits enormously from having President Obama in office, her whole life is basically about her relationship to the state and at the end of working hard her entire life, she gets to work in a community garden. She doesn't even get her own garden.
And the stupidity goes on from there. Jonah Goldberg wants to push the conservative line that we should fear that evil government that wants to somehow control our lives and tell us how to live them, ignoring of course what Jill wrote about here earlier this week, which is the fact that that government "is us."