Thursday, January 17, 2008

Calling Jonah

-- by Dave

My weekly post at Firedoglake calls out Jonah Goldberg for his evasion of a "serious" debate with liberal critics of his misbegotten monstrosity, Liberal Fascism:
Jonah Goldberg has been complaining since before the release of his book, Liberal Fascism: How To Smear Liberals With Classic Right-Wing Projection, that there just weren't any liberals who took it seriously. And it's been a steady patter ever after, joyfully dismissing liberal critics either for being too scatological, or for not having read the book, or for just not being "serious."

And then there's me.

I did read the book, and wrote a review for The American Prospect that was, frankly, quite scathing, but otherwise perfectly serious in its examination of Goldberg's arguments and evidence. Jonah responded, kind of: as I promptly pointed out, that while Goldberg expends a great deal of time excoriating and dismissing various details within the review, he utterly neglected to address its central point. Which seemed to me a reasonable expectation.

Since then, Goldberg simply hasn't responded himself, except for a brief dismissal. But hey, the fans keep sending in those cards and letters! And those nasty liberals still won't talk about his book seriously! Meanwhile, I published a detailed counter to his response last Sunday -- but so far, Goldberg has neglected to acknowledge its existence.

I've also e-mailed and asked if he could at least let me know if he'd be responding, and have heard nothing back.

So it now appears that Goldberg is more than happy to respond to right-wingers like his NRO cohort Michael Ledeen because, well, they're "serious" -- which is to say, they don't attack his central thesis. The left? Oh, they're just not "serious". OK, even when they are "serious" -- that is, they read the book, published their review in a national venue, and the critical issues raised are by any standard serious points, they're not really serious because they're not on subjects that Jonah wants to talk about (i.e., subjects that undermine the entirety of his enterprise).

Now, I know being raised in a place like Idaho makes me something of a crude bumpkin, manners-wise, but where I came from, there was just one word for this kind of nonsense: chickenshit.

We "liberal fascists" want to know: Is Goldberg sincere about having a serious dialogue about the real problems with his thesis? Or is he just playing a deeply cynical game? I think the answer is becoming clearer daily.

There's lots more, of course. Hope you enjoy.

UPDATE: Be sure to check out John Emerson's takedown.

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