At the risk of coming across like Andrew Sullivan (i.e. taking swipes at other writers -- see below), I gotta say that I was also struck by David Oshinsky's 'surprisingly positive review'
of Jonah Goldberg's 'Liberal Fascism.'
Positive in the sense that he views Goldberg as more sophisticated and witty than Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. I'd add, without reading either book, that Jonah's 'Liberal Fascism' is probably more sophisticated and witty than Gregg Jackson's 'Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies.'
But that's the problem: It's not hard to be more sophisticated and witty than Sean, Michael and Gregg. ...
As for Jonah's book (and again, without reading it), I think it obviously falls into the dreaded Must Win The Argument At All Costs category of ideological books. It's all about scoring points and counter-points against ideological opponents, i.e., winning arguments. ... I've harped on this issue
before -- that the hard-core ideological left and right are mere mirror images of themselves when it comes to debating issues. In Jonah's case, it's as if he said to himself, 'Aha! You calling me a fascist? You're the fascist! Aha!' ... Here's a dirty little secret about modern conservativism, as gleaned by yours truly while devouring National Review, American Spectator etc. during my brief hard-core conservative stint in the '80s: Many conservative pundits and intellectuals have an inferiority complex when it comes to arguing with liberals. They know that liberals have an all-encompassing view of the world that provides them with ready-made put downs (accusations of fascism, McCarthyism etc.) -- and for years that argumentative style infuriated conservatives to the point where the former publisher of National Review, William Rusher, wrote a book called 'How to Win Arguments.'
For years, the book was heavily advertised in National Review -- along with countless articles dwelling on conservative frustrations with getting around the arguments of liberals and their allied lackeys in the media. That debate-club compulsion to win arguments became part of the modern conservative mindset -- with the ultimate debate-club tactic being to turn the tables on liberals, or 'to fight fire with fire,' as one conservative friend once put it to me. Thus, you have Jonah's sophomoric 'Liberal Fascism' response to liberals' sophomoric accusations about conservative fascism. (You calling me a fascist? You're the fascist!
). ... Don't think for a second that liberals are somehow immune from the same must-win-arguments compulsion. The problem with both ideological sides is that they can't stand ambiguity and/or losing debates. Their all-encompassing ideological world views would collapse if they acknowledged their all-encompassing ideological world views aren't that all-encompassing. ...P.S.
-- It should go without saying that not all conservatives and liberals are locked in an endless scorpions-in-a-bottle fight. I can't imagine George Will or Robert Novak writing a book with a title as dumb sounding as 'Liberal Fascism' or 'Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies.' ...