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tv   In Depth  CSPAN  November 7, 2010 12:00pm-3:00pm EST

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>> guest: the way it looks atthn uplifting everyone's lives, fulfilling, for filling the holes in their souls and all the rest. i don't mean to say it is necessarily evil. i believe it is for the most
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part very well intentioned. it is full of good and decent people who i think are more often than not simply confused about what politics can and cannot do. >> host: who founded it? >> guest: fascism, the official title for found a fascism has to go to mussolini who was in his our life one of the most important socialist intellectuals of the 20 century. he was extremely popular as a socialist leader. if he hadn't broken with the congress international, basically what the common term, the vatican of communism at the time, if he hadn't broken it, if he hadn't proved to be a heretic who was disloyal to moscow in effect he probably would've gone down in history as one of the half-dozen, does the most important socialist of the
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20th century. but instead of what he does is he comes up with what i recall a hermetic reform of socialism, a national socialism. and becomes the founder of what they call fascism. fascism gets its meaning from the fascia, bundle of sticks that is wrapped around. you can find it all over the place in america in republican architecture and art and all that kind of things. historically, it was a sim of the authority of rome and was also symbolize strength in numbers. strength of unity. in the late 19th century there were bands of what not to recall the fascia is come or little groups. mussolini comes back from world war i, having been an art social turkey aren't the title, not a leader of the italian fascists but at time socialist. he comes back. he wants to bring what he calls
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the socialism of the trenches, which is this sort of militarized unity that you got from fighting in a war, and he calls this new nationalized socialism fascism. that's where we get the word. >> host: what are the central tenets of fascism? >> guest: depends on who you ask, including miscellany and when you as. one of the real problems you run into, especially for mussolini is his run in power was a long and he was causally trying to revive what his state was doing, and revive its popularity daddy issues different definitions at different times and all the rest. but the central tenets of fascism, you know, one of the famous definitions, everything inside the state and nothing outside the state. what he means, he doesn't necessarily and everything has to be owned by the government that everything has to be
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controlled, herded, regulated, directed by the state. and the state isn't again against it, this idea it's an organic concept, the praying of the society. we talked today about cloud computing. cloud computing from which everybody is supposed to draw their direction, their meaning at what not. and the actual public policy may very overtime in various ways, but in almost every regard, sort in terms of an italian socialism would regard fascism as being on the left. you know, heady, cracking on corporations. increasingly for a time he was hailed as a leader for women in politics because he was for suffrage and all those sorts of things. increased pensions, greater welfare state, all these sorts of things. they're all about expanding the role of the state.
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expanding its intrusion into different parts of peoples lives. which is always one of these funny ironies, when a libertarian, when every other retain types get into power, they are branded by so many people on the left as a fascist when one thing that libertines don't want to do is expand state power. the reason why they do so much of that is because there is that, the left has this idea they have a monopoly on political morality. the further you get away from them the closer you get to evil and they defined, one of their synonyms is fascism. so they don't like what you're doing you must be a fascist. >> host: who was rousseau and his role in fascism? >> guest: well, we so was -- rousseau was one of the -- rousseau was a political philosopher who in many ways was the inspiration for the french
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revolution. and rousseau argued and social contract, things like the conflict of the general will, that the group was more important than individual. that our rights come from the crew. that we are born in, we are born as noble savages. what i want to do is contrast result with say, john block or adam smith. and other than those, the locking, scottish and lightly view our rights come from god, not from government. we are captives of ourselves that we're individuals within all right. and rousseau is completely the reverse, that we are not send -- we are not sinful creatures. we are born without sin. we are born noble and wonderful things. man is born free but is everywhere in chains that what he means it civilization is corrupt. society is corrupt.
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that people are good. the conservative vision, or the classical liberal vision is the opposite, is that because of our sinful nature you need to have a society that checks our ambition against each other. that's what the federalist papers and all the rest are all about. anyway, rousseau's ideas fairly or unfairly, and i have this argument with a lot of people and i'm willing to be agnostic about some of it, inspired in me was the revolutionary tradition which begins with the french revolution. the french revolution i argue in the book was essentially the first fascist revolution. it was this idea that expert people wrote to peter and all these guys, good guy society, they were explicit about how they wanted to turn politics into religion. they were very antagonistic towards traditional organized religion. they turn the churches into temples of reason and whatnot.
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there's a line where we want to turn a commitment to the revolution into, by cultivating the religious into this idea that we're going to, that they were going to overturn all past, start over. this revolutionary tradition in many ways lies at the very core i would argue another people have argued of fascism, as a way to understand fascism. the left, the marxists have always understood fascism as a counterrevolution. that this was the aristocrats and the industrialists and the old guard trying to restore the status quo, and, you know, fight back against the evils of communism and socialism and all the rest. and i say that's wrong. fascism and fact was part of this revolutionary tradition. it had its own special tent and whatnot, but if you look at what
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mussolini believe, if you look at what hitler did come if you look at what they were selling, they were selling a revolution. they weren't monarchist. they certainly weren't free market capitalists or anything like that. they wanted to start over at year zero. >> host: in the liberal fascism you're right that the traditional family is the enemy of all the political totalitarianism because it is a sebastian of loyalty separate from prior to this date. which is why progressives are constantly trying to crack its outer shell. so, therefore, what is "liberal fascism." >> guest: "liberal fascism" i make the item in the book that we sort have been looking in the wrong place for fascism. everybody basically agrees one of the great lessons among all of us, of nazi -ism, fascism, is to say never again. that this was a great would it want to go through again. i agree with that entirely.
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but where liberal fascism comes in is that we have been looking in the wrong place. i argue that personal, but i'll -- i should backup your the title track and comes from a speech by h.g. wells. h.g. wells was sort of forgotten today because of the science-fiction guy. you know, the fourth removed when us come off in scope would be about giant and send. the reality is that h. g. wells was when the most importantly the intellectuals of the 20th century. hugely influential. usually influence on socialism which was in britain. hugely influential on the social gospel movement and united states. the religion arm of american progressives. and wales in 1932 was asked in
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his speech to young liberals at oxford, where sort of the next young liberals, college and the crowds these would be younger sort of fire breeders of the liberals in britain. and it gives a speech say i've tried all my life to come up with labor for what my ideas mean, you know, what my philosophy is. and he says i have wracked my brain, and i finally figured it out. it is liberal fascism. he also called for the enlightened nazis and. liberal fascism was this idea that, according to h.g. wells, that we need to use the power of the state much the way the fascist work on in much the way the bolsheviks were, to further the ends of what was then becoming called liberalism, but five minutes earlier was cold -- so getting back to what liberal fascism today, liberal fascism is a sort of literary term that
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i tried to use in the book to show that contemporary liberalism still holds onto its roots of american progressivism. that american progressivism really was part and parcel of this fascist moment in american -- and global or western political and intellectual life. if you look at the crossbar was asian, between american progressives and american progress of philosophers like william james and john dooley and what was going on in europe, there's a huge amount of give and take going both ways, particularly in the area of american practices and. and if you look at what you think of when you think of at least what a well read person thinks of many things about fascism, a lot of progressives believe, you can see how there was a lot of commonality there. so getting back to how i begin, the answers question, so long winded lee, the contemporary
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winded -- today is costly saying components across the political aisle are kindred fascist, scratch the surface, there a fascist. michael hedges came out with a book, pulitzer prize winning reporter, came out with a book called american fascists in which he argues basically every christian conservative in america was a fascist. truman called do his opponent in the 48 raise a fascist. goldwater was called a fascist. reagan was called the fascist gun in the west. bill clinton was called a fascist. i don't mean to just say i know you are, but what am i, talking about this stuff, but part of the argument is these guys are projecting. they are not looking at their own intellectual history and do not look at the roots of the contemporary liberalism which
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draws on american progressivism which had deep and abiding similarities to doctrinaire fascism that i'm not saying they are anti-semitic or cannot say they are genocide raises. it's important to remember the italian fascist were not genocidal racist either. we had decided at some of fascist just means absolute evil bad guy. that's not how it is understood in the 1920s. it's not how is understood basically until fairly late. one of the great failures in my book is that it has popularized the use of fascism as an epithet that were things i was hoping to do, and i failed miserably, is shut down the use of the word fascist as an epithet. instead it's become bipartisan. and i don't like it. i don't think it. it's all that health will. it might help my book sales, but, you know, that's not what i had hoped to do. and so when i say, talk about liberal fascism of the book, as
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much as anything, when try to do is a look, i'm going to use the word fascism, we might as well use it more accurately. we might as well look out these things in our life that are popular in mainstream and progressive that bear a hell of a lot more similar than fascism than anything you here out of rand paul, for example. host greg the subtitle of little fascism is the secret history of the american left, mussolini to the politics of meaning. why that sometime and what was the original subtitle? >> guest: there were many are reading subtitles that never made it to print. paperback is to the politics have changed because they wanted me to update to barack obama. one that was on there for a long time was, had mentioned something about -- part of the item an and a, and this gets to what we're talking about, part of the argument i'm trying to make in the book, and i honestly believe this, is that it does
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you know good just to point to terrible things and save fascism. that's picking low-hanging fruit. what's really hard to do, but if you truly believe in never again, if you are a truly believe in protecting liberty and defend the constitution, is you have to go to things that seem great, wonderful and all the rest. and that's why the chapter called we all fascist now because we've all of these things that would be utterly recognizable to one fascist or another that we now celebrate as just perfectly mainstream. and so the subtitle that it has now, the politics and meaning one, hillary clinton in 1983, 94, i can become she gave his famous speech about the politics and meaning where she said, we need to redefine what it means to be a human being in the
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modern world. she wanted to reinvigorate the sense of spiritual from the federal level down. she had -- she got a love this guy from guy michael lerner and all the rest. this would get at the core of which are first question was about, which was this idea of a political religion. there was this idea from, this was a body of thought that hillary clinton was tapping into at the time, you could see in the popular culture and all sorts of other places that said that somehow things were out of balance, things were wrong here but we needed to do was find our new authenticity, define a new sense of the spiritual in the public realm. and that is precisely what fascism is about. and bolshevism and a lot of these other things were about, what about giving people meaning, feeling up their sense of the religious through politics.
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hillary clinton eventually backed down from all that, but because it turned out that most americans go to this obscure institution you might have heard of called church, to get their spiritual -- and i looking for a federal program. but that impulse, you know, which we hear courts of from barack obama all the time that the idea that the guiding principle of the federal government is to ensure that we are our brothers keeper, we are our sisters keeper. which second of all, it's a massive expansion of the mission of the state to say that it's the state's job to make sure that we're all our brothers keeper or our sisters keeper. >> host: jonah goldberg come in the book which you edited and did introduction to, out to be right, the first line in this book did you ever wondered why the best comedians are blacks, canadians and jews?
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>> guest: a good opening line i thought. yes. so the odds that there is one that i've been making for a long time, is that part of what makes for, what makes comedy good is this ability to have that visitor from mars kind of perspective, you know, the whole point of, do you ever notice. that's a huge part of comedy is to find these obvious yet somehow bizarrely hidden connectioconnections between things. and it's very hard to be a great comedian if you grew up without any kind of alienation, either from your family, whatever your comedians talk about, their lives, there's always a reason why they became comedians that involve something about being left out of school or maybe i got out in the family, or whatever. but as a generalization, the point is that canadians, blacks,
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jews, the part of mainstream american culture, except the canadians, but they are also separate. particularly among canadian comedic figure all of these basically you have their faces pressed up against the fishbowl of the united states watching it, sort of in these late consuming american popular culture, voraciously but they still feel sort of part of it so they can make these observations about american life in a way. and the reason why i bring it up in the book is because i think many ways, particularly on college campuses, political conservatives is the same think of is that we are part of the mainstream life, part of mainstream american life but we have to know our own culture as well as the majority culture, that we stand outside of it in a way that other, that liberals don't. that is a source, a source of strength that comes from a disadvantage that conservatives have. because we have disability to stand outside of a tradition to understand the builder, and
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people within it themselves. >> host: welcome to "in depth." this is booktv's monthly program with one author, looking at his or her body of work. our guest this month is jonah goldberg. jonah goldberg is the author of "liberal fascism." editor of the "proud to be right." editor of the "national review online." is a leading scholar at the american enterprise institute. he is a blogger, a columnist that you can reach him at his website that you can read them at aei did you can read them at "national review." you can read them in several newspapers around the country. he's our guest for the next two and half hours. going to put the phone lines up on the screen if elected out in a doctor jonah goldberg. if you live in east and central time zones, (202) 737-0001. those of you in about a pacific time zones, (202) 737-0002. you can also send us an e-mail at booktv at c-span dot board. unfortunately, our twitter is not working today so we can't
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take any tweets for jonah goldberg but if you want to get updates on booktv go to twitter.com/booktv. mr. goldberg, and "proud to be right: voices of the next conservative generation" essays on gay rights, drug laws, isolationism. sex at a young i. homeschool religion. there seems to be a lot of contradictory essays in this book that is that anything -- let's start at the basic. what is conservatism? what unites conservatives? >> guest: you're right about the book and that was intentional, is that one of the points about the book, much like the blog where he spent much of my time at "national review online," i am the editor at large, i am not the day-to-day editor. thank god. there is this presumption on the left and on the mentioned it
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based on what is conservative, you know, there are two eyeholes in the publication of the a class. that's all you need to know that. in fact, one of things that is so vital for conservatism is point out that there is a robust intellectual and ideological diversity on the right. there's a lot of disagreement on the right. there's this assumption that conservatism is all dogmatism, that we all, you know, received orders that were shock troops of christian right or for corporate america, or for colonel sanders. who knows? but we are all supposed to be marching in step. all concerts have same person or something like that. so one of things i wanted to show what that is there is a wide diversity of view from essentially and narco capitalist libertarian to hard core christian right social conservatives. and the one thing that unites
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all of these factions to one extent or another is skepticism about the progressive obsession with expanding the role of the state, the ability of the state. irvin kristol one of my heroes used to say there were two kinds of conservative. there's were those who are anti-left and those that were antistate. it wasn't this is a and libertarian versus conservatism. i know that gets -- is what was the result conservatives who are perfectly comfortable with a strong robust federal government that had all sorts of work and worthwhile things that they can take the left was very good at running it. and then there are a lot of conservatives in united states are peoples i don't care who's running it, government should maybe, should be involved in peoples lives, blah, blah, blah. this was one of the fundamental sort of ideological or
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philosophical schisms that run through the right that a lot of debates hinge around it. and, in fact, i always argue that conservatism is less dogmatic than liberalism because we are constantly arguing about these philosophical trade-offs between liberty and virtue, between order and freedom. and we redraw those lines costly. meanwhile, the left doesn't have these kind of philosophical arguments in the same way. because the consensus has are to be informed at the dogma is already there which is, you know, the government should do good when it can, where you can, whatever it can't. >> host: jonah goldberg, blake sends this e-mail from chicago, libertarians tend to seek any social issue law, e.g. illegality of hot, gay marriage as an oppressive and in valid the strength of liberty by the government.
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>> guest: i probably disagree also. i want to say two things about this. one, what you see, there's more attention these days between certain libertarilibertarians and has been in a while, is the idea that as the culture needs to become stronger. civil society its affiliates links with were the state withdraws. civil society can be pretty stern about what it allows and doesn't allow, the culture permits and doesn't permit. i don't know what friedrich hayek, one of my heroes, would say about every given issue about population or whatnot that he would certainly agree that you would need a vibrant and healthy civil society and civil
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culture to regulate things, the state should be regulated. and so you can have a lot of these things be, you know, you don't have to have come to the little bit of government you don't have to radical individuals everywhere. secondly, what i would argue though is that the solution to almost all of these debates, and i think i brought this up when i was on the other c-span panel recently, the solution to all the debates between conservatives and libertarians about the proper role of state can be satisfied with federalism, this idea of pushing political authority as low as possible level. so if one small town wants to ban pot, it can be in part. another small town wants to let your freak flag fly, you can say that. and let people decide how they want to live in a community to actually live in. and the problem that you get with is why libertarian and tend to unite at the national level
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is because you have the federal government saying you need a one size fits all lifestyle be imposed by the state from the national level. and that's crazy. to me, i would push pretty much all these things down to the lowest level possible. have them enforced basic civil rights and all that, but beyond that if one can once to live banning alcohol, let them ban alcohol. in other towns wants to legalize marijuana, let them legalize marijuana. and if you object in that town and you have a knockdown drag out fight with your local town council and whatnot, and you lose, you can suck it up and lived to fight another day, or you can do this thing that social scientists call moving. and leave town with your feet. the most mobile society in history of humanity. people should be able to live where they want to live. but the idea that a count of 5000 people should be held hostage to the personal views of
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one person, or a handful of people, strikes me as lunacy. again, you have to have basic enforcement of human rights, but beyond that push all these things down and that would satisfy 90% of libertarian objectives and whatever set of the conservative one's. >> host: you mentioned the panel that booktv racially covered, proud to be right, one of the panelists was helen, thee is essay in "proud to be right," and you mentioned in the front of the book that this is your favorite essay of the book. why? >> guest: first of all, i like helen. and second of all i have a deep and abiding fondness for a yield political union which plays a big role in this. and i like passionate not necessarily, not necessarily sure i agree with everything in about what i'd like about it was a sort of fierce application of
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serious intellectual to one combatant, combativeness which is one of the things i love about conservatives on campus, that they're less interested in changing the world, more interested in having a really good argument. that's one of the things i like about the right is that you know, you can have these really great arguments that to on political philosophy in history and all the rezko i'm not saying that doesn't exist on the left, of course it does, but the sort of cultural orientation of the left is one of constant social improvement in their duration and change and all that kind of stuff. and i like the sort of first principles argumentation that you get on the right from -- >> host: let's take some calls. first up, glynn in michigan. you're on with jonah goldberg. please go ahead. >> caller: thank you very much
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gentlemen. i was just curious, why does mr. goldberg think that conservatives are still so often portrayed as the archie bunker type characters in the mass media and pop culture? and also, specifically, what do you think of the movie w., the oliver stone movie about the george w. bush administration? thank you. >> guest: i will confess that i have a pretty serious moratorium against oliver stone movies. and i haven't watched it on cable. there was no way i was going to plunk down money at the theater for it. so i would just have to plead the fifth. i should not say take this because as nothing i can and commitments appear in terms of archie bunker, it's the easiest
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place for liberals to go. and receive is right now, right this huge debate going on right now about why obama got in trouble, why has the problems he has. and a big chunk of the rationalization obama seems to be giving himself is that the stupid americans don't realize how dumb they are, or how scared they are, and panicky they are that they don't understand the truth and reason and enlightened wisdom when they hear it. that was obama's argument about western pennsylvania. basically is just a bunch of archie bunker's, rural archie bunker's out in the hinterland , you know, clinging to their religion and their firearms and/or xena phobia, where they often put it, clinging to their skydiving broomsticks. you heard on the campaign trail he says the reason why logic
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aren't working right now is because of is that americans are just so scared. he's causally claiming that problems have to do with messages. and define us in the commentary as well. i think there is this, it is incredibly self-serving narrative for the popular culture and the liberals, that somehow if only we could educate the great into understanding why the republican party is stupid, everything would be better. >> host: you mentioned you're not an oliver stone said. are you planning on reading decision point? >> guest: exactly sounds unlike a lot of these kinds of books, it might have some interesting stuff in there. i think i might. i dipped into the tony blair memoir. it looks pretty interesting but i'm planning on going back to
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it. it sounds like there's some interesting stuff and essentially bush picked a good way to come out with his book host of compassionate conservatism. is that fascist? >> guest: in certain aspects it is a liberal fascism. i despise fascist liberalism. there's one of these things from my liberal detractors that i never, i should say detractors of liberal fascism think that i have nothing but unvarnished praise and love for republicans and bush picked a civil practice i've always hated compassionate conservatism. first of all, it struck me as not a conservative alternative, but the republican version of it. a lot of i feel your pain kind of nonsense. i want the government to feel my pain. and, you know, i often joke, i like my conservatism. island old testament kind of guy. but more seriously, when bush
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went around campaigning about compassionate conservatism, i'm a different kind of conservative. i'm a compassionate conservati conservatism. put that at all as any other context and you can see why it's insulting. first of all how much different kind of jew, a compassionate jew? , i'm a compassionate catholic that it's offensive on the mayor. second, it's untrue. it's slightly guy didn't conservatism is uncompassionate rests on one of these grand category pairs of you do our great society which is your worth as a human being, the measure of your soul directly is callable to your commitment to fast and efficient government programs. and i think in many ways, you know, compassionate conservatism was one of the reasons why the republicans got such a mess is that admittedly a lot of it was just rhetorical bs and pr marketing and all the rest.
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but at a very basic level, it gave up the idea that the federal, that the conservatism's believe at its core in the classical liberal notion of limited government. and i don't think the conservatism, i don't think conservatism is purely rebranded classical liberalism. at a conservatism that won't conserve classic liberalism isn't worth conserving. that is if you don't have this fundamental skepticism about the ability of the state to make this a perfect world, to philip people souls, did you think that government -- if you don't have skepticism about the efficacy of simply thinking with your emotion, your guy, saying the government has to do something. remember bush had a on labor day 2003 when somebody hurts the government has to move. no, it doesn't have to. it doesn't have to do anything
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if there's nothing it can do. or if it will only make things worse. a store today and your times, where the u.s. government on the one hand has this major campaign run by michelle obama to reduce obesity and unhealthy living, fine, not my favorite kind of everything but a perfectly acceptable thing for first lady to do. the same agency says that she's working with has worked with dominoes and other groups to radically increase the amount of fatty cheese that people used to get to boost sales. this is a kind of nonsense you get when you have a public philosophy that says when somebody hurts, the government has to move, because we have is two different groups of people are hurting, and by helping this one, you hurt these people more and by helping this one you heard this group by more. the government should get out of it and let people forget how to fix their own hurt.
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>> host: next call, jacob your. go ahead. call back high, june. i would like to ask you as a jewish person myself, especially interested in this. a few weeks ago c-span had on book tv, they had the book called the unspoken alliance by sasha sharansky which i assume you're familiar with, talk to israel's long-standing relationship with the apartheid government in south africa. the book went into the south african documents which had never gone into before. and it found out that israel was trying to sell a nuclear bomb to south africa in 1973, and that there is no country in the world that is basically tied with the apartheid government, even trying to do business with the bad guys there after apartheid fell. >> host: what's your question? transit is the more outraged when jewish intellectuals,
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people like you about this, and don't you think that israel should take massive massive reparations for the black people of south africa for trying to keep them in such , you know, almost slavery like conditions for years? >> host: got it, stephen. >> guest: i don't about the book that i think the idea of mass reparations was want to know more beforehand, but on the face sounds like a ludicrous, just another way of taking shots at israel. if the allegations are true i think it's unfortunate. i don't first of policy myself as a jewish intellectual just for the record. never have been to israel. i don't regularly write that much about israel. i'm a staunch supporter of israel. we will probably leave it there. >> host: dan gibbons e-mails in, was teddy roosevelt largely
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responsible for launching the progressive movement in the u.s.? what is your overall opinion of him as president? >> guest: this is a fun one. it's interesting that one of the things, i assume at some point we'll get into this, there's this new fad for going after woodrow wilson. and i should say newly popular because it has been a fad with certain conservatives, whose research i used quite a bit for writing my book for a long time. in many ways glenn beck credits my book, really turn them out onto all of this kind of stuff. in some ways that's a mixed blessing but i think i'm very grateful for the guy. so anyway, one of the things that a lot of liberal critics, wilson bashing stuff says how can you guys don't go after teddy roosevelt? just because he's a republican, blah, blah, blah.? the short answer is no. because i do criticize teddy
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roosevelt. and so do a lot of the same conservatives to go after woodrow wilson. the first problem is that could -- teddy roosevelt wasn't that bad as president from my perspective. he doesn't start really him biting his progressive step into his office and wants to run for president again. you know, some 1912 he finds the bull moose party which also the progressive party. and he would've been really bad news if he had gotten into office. he certainly is responsible for making the progressive movement and progressivism much more popular than it would have been without him. and his ideas from 1912 on about economics and of these sorts of things are abysmal. one of the problems so is that in much the same way that a lot of people on the left really hate the imperialism and a lot of the stuff that winston churchill was involved in, it had to concede he was one impressive guy.
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as a conservative, i have this sort of cognitive dissidents are whatever you want to call this as i have a huge amount of problems with teddy roosevelt ideology, and i'm very glad he wasn't in office, wasn't elected president in 1912. i think he would've been better than wilson because i think tr was a more impressive more humane person, a more decent human being than woodrow wilson. certainly less racist. but he was just incredibly impressive guy. no one could read the first biography of teddy roosevelt and not just the while, what a cool interesting guy, teddy roosevelt was. meanwhile, woodrow wilson is this human toothache who hated everybody, measurable guy, and it just made, wilson makes it a lot easier to say tra school. >> host: you kind of in trenton can use them quite a bit of time with woodrow wilson, and do you credit him with the
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founding of "liberal fascism" in america? >> guest: no. this is one of the things again, and on the critics, david greenberg, "slate," a couple of people at "new york times" about why are people being of wilson now. one of the defenses of wilson that you get from a lot of these guys is, you don't understand, wilson was popular. he can't be dictated. he was by the of course he was popular. that's what mussolini was popular. hitler was popular. dictators almost by definition start out popular. that's why they become dictators. you can't be a dictator and much of the masses with you. and so in many ways, the on i make in "liberal fascism" is that woodrow wilson was feeding off of the intellectual currents of the age, that he was, he was riding the wave as aware of american progressives. and his ideas were a natural
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consequent of these ideas of start with william james' concept of the moral boom of the war, there tied it with things that jane addams had to say, that teddy roosevelt is a. basically, remember, woodrow wilson once to the white of teddy roosevelt in 1912. but was a, new freedom for wilson, new nationalism for tr. wilson's new freedom sounds awfully live on the campaign to. the fact he gets elected, forget all that. i'm going to be progress. if you're not a progressive, his words, you better watch out. and knowing that wilson is responsible for american progressives, but he sort of the apotheosis of it, and he does some terrible things as what's in the intellectual climate at the time, but it is entirely possible that teddy roosevelt would have done those things. >> host: when you hear about american integrates co-general,
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talk about american exceptionalism, is that fascist? >> guest: no. >> host: but isn't not a religion of the state? >> guest: no. it can be, it can be sure. like you say, actually i'm not even sure that it can be. let's put it this way, all fascist believe in the exceptionalism of the country. but not all people who believe in except osha of the qatar fascist. one of the things i think of american exception is when not a -- we are not nationalistic. we are patriotic. there's a difference. we have this idea that the state is there to do defined and limited to things as bella in the federalist papers and in the constitution. and that we are a liberty loving people. one of my favorite social
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sciences wrote about the differences between canada and the united states for years, and you can see this, the greatest lab experiment in many ways has lasted 500 years was in north america we have, if you are a lawyerless or a royalist at the time emac revolution, you either state in canada where you move there. if you're a loyalist, your white. in the 13 colonies. you either moved, if you are a loyalist or more list you left the 13 cars and move to canada or state in candidate if you are committed to freedom that sort of the revolution, this idea that our rights come from god, not from government, that we are sovereign, free markets, fremont, limited government and all that kind of stuff you stated that 200 years later, keynesians are good and decent people. nonetheless, are perfectly comfortable with a much larger state and the american people
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are. for the simple reason that that's what their cultural feedstock. and so marty osha to point out that 40 years ago, the united states government, told their citizens were switching to the metric system. 40 years later everybody in canada is on senators and congressman all that stuff and united states, you know, and lets you resize make you don't know what that stuff is. that's because we don't take orders from our government. that's what makes us exceptional is what the beacon of liberty that believes in limited government. and i believe in the pursuit of happiness, that it is a god-given right. that is not in any way for cystic. the american revolution of conservatives, a lot of these games people play between conservatives and white -- right wing, ashes will call right wings. american right-wingers are fascist.
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people with what he will not understand is in america, american conservatives are conserving the american revolution. we are revolutionaries generations later. preserving that tradition, and that is why everyone, from friedrich hayek to hunter, iraq is basically place in world where a conservative can be a classical liberal. because it places like europe, to be conservative assuring their hypocrisy, the crowd and all those sorts of things. we find a revolutionary war that we wouldn't be like those countries. and that is when the ironies of american political discourse today is that it's the left, very proudly so, obama and clinton, all these people, looking busy at your at the general social welfare state and say we want to be more like that. and that is why so many on the left are at least in part so
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antagonistic and the concept of american conceptualism because american conceptualism is this ideological and cultural bowl worth that prevent the expansion of the state. we do things different here. is an argument the left hates to hear because they don't want to do things differently here. they want to have a social welfare state like and respect they want to have a national health care system like in france. they think that to save all americans are different and, therefore, we can have this thing is incredibly inconvenient, childish and all the rest. and i see is what the things that makes this such a great country. >> host: this is booktv's "in depth" program. jonah goldberg, author, columnist, editor is our guest this month. and bread from minneapolis, minnesota, you go ahead with your question. >> caller: how are you guys doing today? >> guest: good. >> caller: this conversation is so passé i'm not sure where to pick up. i call 20, 30 minutes ago when we are still talking about the definition of fascism and benito
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mussolini, and i was pretty much astounded by the remark mr. goldberg made that is mussolini had basically taken on the status of dictator of italy he would have been made one of the top 10 intellectuals individuals of the 20 century. and i was wondering if you could expand on that a little more? i guess i just don't remember mussolini having an intellectual side, but that's not to say he didn't. number one. and number two, i was wondering if you could take us back to the purest intellectual discussion that was being have an earlier about rousseau and the social contract. annie duke toggle bit more about the hegelian overtones, hagel and his philosophy and how -- >> host: there's a three good question. with a lot to work with. let's start with mussolini. >> guest: just to clarify i didn't say he would be removed as one of the top 10 intellectual. he would've been considered with one of the top socialist
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intellectuals, you know, of the series left. at least that's what i meant to say if i said otherwise. you know, he was cast by a lot of people, as a bumbling of. a guy spoke and read many liquidity was friends, he traveled many famous circles. he translated major philosophy into italian. was a deep student, or at least he claimed to be a deep student of philosophy. mussolini was also full of it often. and bragged beyond reality of things, quite often. but he was certain he fled in all these things. and was deeply respected by trotsky and lenin, and he deeply regretted when he broke off from the main server time is our socialist movement in europe.
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we can sort of leave it at that. >> host: what was his reputation in america during the '20s especially? >> guest: he was more popular than stone. he was hugely popular in the 1922 to the potter and the republic. the flagship of american progressivism. was, in surveys, he was found to be routinely listed as one of those admirable men. when the sun you're the top comes to deny states, they changed the lyrics to the american audience and they change it to something along the lines of your the top, you're the houdini, you the top, you're the mussolini. one of my favorite stories was when will rogers is appointed american ambassador at large for the u.s. press corps, the national press club, he goes on a fact-finding tour of europe and he comes back, and become second with the first things he is asked is what did you think of mussolini? and will rogers says, that is
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some whop that i really high on that bird. but he was, and i'm not saying he was admired by the left. you was at my bike mainstream america as is really impressive guy. made trains run on time. >> host: what happened to his reputation? >> guest: it starts going south first of all with the invasion of ethiopia, that kind of stuff. you know, mussolini in a facetious way, one of his big problems is that he gets on its realism bandwagon right at the moment when into realism is no longer fashionable. and so that was really condemned. but what really ruined his reputation is not season. and understandably so. but it's a much more interesting and complex story. one of the things, you know, i learned a lot of things working on this book that at one of the things i found most fascinating was personal, among professional
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historians that jesus debate about whether german nazi-ism is fascism at all. and this was a debate that we had a time and a debate without ever since but i think it's probably fine as a matter of generalization to say they're both fascism and leave it at that that is not a cut and dried are you italian fascism is more interesting to me as someone who grew up on the other west side of manhattan, italian fascism was not anti-semitic. mussolini always said that we could never be anti-semitic because they were too many jews who are the founding fathers of italian nationals but jews were overrepresented italian fascist party until 1938 when basically mussolini has to become a psychic to hitler, the nazis think we've got to get rid of jews. and start started posing these known drug laws and all the rest of italian fascist were some of the month, until 1930, the
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safest place to the entire middle europe was ashes italy and really fascist spain. the italian fascist send troops into harm's way to save jewish lives. not a single jew of any nationality, including german jews were sent to the deaf can do to 1943 after the germans take over italy and basically occupied it. this is not to exonerate the italian. siding with hitler and world war ii is a major black mark against you. and anti-fascists did all sorts of terrible, evil think that the thing is we tend to play the movie backwards and say that if the holocaust and everything that, you know, that leads to the holocaust, fascist and whatnot, they are all equally culpable. it's a more competition story. >> host: john jack russo, social contract. >> guest: again, the are you again i make that, you know,
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again, i'm sort of being defensive about this as i've been such a dumb by rousseau defended about this. said the way i sort of leave it at this point is that there was something in rousseau, something about the idea of starting from scratch, about the general lamb, jenna will basically saying that the group is more important than the individual that if the group expressed will, sort of a travel organic sense, is one thing. and the individuaindividual must either conform or even conceivably die. in a way, there's something in rousseau that gets the blood pumping of the french who launched at the tear and decide they want to start the world from scratch. and if you look at the french revolution as a visitor from march, sort of a fascist , you know, or even any kind of, i
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think that there is fascism and cultural visit and small, i do my thing or bolshevist, but if you look at it from a visitor from mars, deeply nationalistic, uses terror, kills its own people, tries to weed out distant voices, deep strains of paranoia, it looked an awful lot like what you think of fascism revolution. if you read right -- "mein kampf" which i don't recommend, part because it is misrepresenting and part terrible -- >> host: and you read it. >> guest: there are a parts i read. so much nonsense and it. the book worth reading is hitler's table talk which is a list of transcripts of hitler's conversation with his cabinet and his friends from idaho, 42-45, something like that.
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it is fascinated you get a sense of what the guy actually believes that the been the sort of half propaganda, self-serving narratives, but one thing that is clear is that what hitler because he was a nihilist opportunistic guy, right, what he thought was an idea that would inflame the mind of man, that would allow him to bend the masses to his will for his will to power. and that is -- he said i didn't borrow dogma or doctrine for public policy proposals from italian fascism. i borrowed this idea of planning the masses, this idea would organize the masses around me. that is what he admired about mostly. in fact, what a lot of the nazi ideologues at might about the french relation is this idea achieving the masses so whipped up a radical change that could shake off the shackles, and start the world fresh. >> host: very quickly, third
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point from wind in minnesota. >> guest: hagel, hagel in many ways is sort of an inspiration for the progressiprogresses, a lot of european intellectual that he had this idea that the state was , you know, he prefers to as the god state, march of god through history is the state or something like that. and basically the state is this way of, is metaphysical concept. not just government, right, it is the distillation of the sort of jenna will that comes up that govern society, guide society. it is what mussolini is getting at when he says everything in the state, nothing outside the state. . .
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>> host: jonah goldberg, is there one website that people can go to to read your commentary to see your book reviews were taking it step is from your books to read your national review columns and blogs?
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>> guest: alas, no. i don't have a personal website. you know, up until about six months ago i basically work out of my home. i had some many deadlines. the idea of maintaining something like that without help, and i still basically have no assistance. it's just too much. one of these days i lots of project. teeseven its. >> host: assembly was to follow you, where can they go? >> guest: twitter. they can -- i have a facebook page, but i don't maintain that. >> host: is national review the best place to go? >> guest: you will always find out what is going on with me. >> host: what is that web address? >> guest: national review dot com. it is one of my lasting achievements.
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that is sort of where i hang out on a day-to-day basis. i also blog for something called the enterprise blog. i am a visiting scholar there right now. it's where i got my start when i first came to washington. i was a little policy known running around. >> guest: can in columbus ohio, please discuss your use of humor and the softer side of conservatism and why you think that it helps your ability to persuade. >> guest: great question. i was expecting far more when did you stop beating your wife questions. well, i think it is very important. a think humor is very important. i'm not saying and the funniest guy in the world. i don't think i am. i don't even think of the funniest conservative. i think that, you know, one of
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the -- the earlier caller is set why aren't we all cast as archie bunker's? i get that. there is this notion that conservatives are uptight and eight life and misanthropic. one of the important things is to point out to younger people who are still trying to find their way, you can enjoy life and be conservative. you can be a real person. you can make fun of yourself. you aren't that uptight. you know, i'm not saying the national review was all that uptight before i got there. they always have a great sense of humor. there was a perception before i created the on line that, you know, national review was all puns and quotes.
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one of the things i wanted to do was inject the pop culture communicating to young people who were sympathetic with ideas and what we wanted to do in terms of public policy but often wanted to get girls in college. did not want to have to give up liking what they liked. one of the problems you have with bill buckley who is a huge hero of mine. i love him to my last breath. he was so intellectually intimidating that allow the people said, i can't be a conservative if that is the standard. the symbol of thing. there is something about him. that gap probably does not eat a lot of chicken wings. i want to combat some of that kind of thing. at the same time bill buckley. if there is a guy who enjoyed life more than bill buckley, i don't know who he was. i try to be self-deprecating. that is my personality.
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if you're going to be in this business for the long haul it should go where your personality is. i also think that this is a vital tool for persuading people convince them that they are not villains. one of the reasons i wrote the book, a lot of leftists, you know, the best working definition of a fascist is a conservative who is winning an argument. we don't want to hear from you. you can humanize conservatives and work against this and show people that we like life, which we do. most of the conservatives are far less uptight that a lot of liberals. that is a huge cultural projects , and an important one for the cause. >> host: mark in san clemente, california. >> caller: high. great show. i would like to ask you, you were just bringing this up.
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you don't like when people stereotype republicans. i wanted to ask you, why haven't the national review and the american enterprise institute, why haven't they done more or, in fact, anything to distance themselves from the many racist right wing radio and tv hosts like bill o'reilly and rush limbaugh and bob brandt in steve whalberg who all have a long history of saying horrible things about african-americans. bill o'reilly referred to mexicans as wetbacks. rush limbaugh once said why do all thief of what you of the most wanted posters look like jesse jackson. there are dozens and dozens of these things. people -- i don't know about you personally. you can answer the question. many people still go on these shows. i'll hear people like this in new york.
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rush limbaugh is praising them. they are praising rush limbaugh. why do you think there are more from the civilized republicans to distance themselves from these racist? >> host: we got the point. thanks. add just have to stipulate that these accusations are making in terms of the fax, one comment are true. i have not heard them. if they said those things they should not have said them, and i condemn those statements. this is a game that a lot of people -- both sides play. someone says something asinine. you know, pariahs. i think rush limbaugh -- i don't agree with everything he does. he does of fantastic job at being rush limbaugh. he is a valuable contribution to
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the symphony of conservatism. i don't think it is at all accurate to say that bill o'reilly and rush limbaugh are racist or let alone it is an irrefutable -- and irrefutable, you know, the judgment objectively arrived at. it seems to me it is -- you're pushing a political line. that said, look. moving away from those personalities, one of the great shining liberal accomplishments of the last 50 years was being on the right side of the civil rights movement. conservatism was on the wrong side. there are all sorts of interesting worthwhile caviar outs and all that kind of stuff you can throw in after you make that statement. the end of the day you have to make the statement.
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the national review was wrong. the new republic was right. and i said that all the time. i understand why the fact that conservatives came out of the wrong side teeseven this is the same thing. republicans were more right than the democrats were. more republicans voted than the democrats. but the republican party under eisenhower killing all the way back to t r had a much better record than the democrats to on racehorses in almost every respect. woodrow wilson was one of the most racist presidents. i understand why there is this cultural backdrop. i think one of the things that gets them in trouble, at least with colors like you, is this desire to beat back against this wet blanket of political correctness that says we all
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must see the world exactly the way liberals say it has to be seen. we lost pay fealty. sometimes that is a source of great humor, and sometimes it's a source of inappropriate comments that will probably l. considered. i don't think that drawing from inappropriate comments or jokes that fell flat you can then say that these guys are racist and must be separated, i have no desire teeseven not a big fan of michael savage. on the whole i have no desire to separate myself. i'm only responsible for the things i say or the things the national review or a i does. i'm not responsible for institutions and people who are not associated with. when i don't hear these things that they say. i can't just go buy your characterization.
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>> host: very quickly. liberals are down. they are in list hair banes screams. eating away at the very foundation of our great nation, a nation that will eventually collapse because of their corruption, greed, and mostar stupidity. the world would be a more wholesome place of the liberals would give up their wicked ways and become conservatives. to hear many of the most popular of spokesman you might think so. it is a sad thing when an intellectual movement inspired by high caliber scholars is publicly reduced to the name calling, overgeneralizations and erroneous accusations represented about. >> guest: do i think that the conservative movement has a problem? the me put it this way.
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the modern conservative movement is remarkably successful. starting from by handful of intellectuals comes a little earlier. on this very small core of intellectuals, expanding into a series of very highbrow magazines. becomes this popular thing. gallup has that 42 percent of american compared to 20% described themselves as liberal. and when you get a market that date you're going to have voices that speak only to that market and don't speak all that well to the average person outside of that market. and it's one of these great games that both sides play where they find people who are saying things to their own side. isn't that terrible.
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that is not what we normal americans believe. so i think there is some merit to the idea that conservatism is less necessary now some of the cheerleading stuff sometimes goes overboard. i'm very ecumenical. you know, the symphony analogy is a right one. in a bid symphony you need at tuba and percussion. strings and all the rest. everyone must play their different notes. to say, oh, well, i don't like the big drum. let's get rid of the big drum is ludicrous. everyone must play together. everyone has their part. people criticized glenn back. he's always leaning forward.
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he is so, you know, falling forward and aggressive and has this enthusiasm when it comes from learning stuff for the first time. what i love about that is because he does not play this system -- he has not grown up in the system, as it were, he does not know why it is crazy to have an hour dedicated on national television. it works. at the same time he oversimplifies banks. he overstates things. i think he would plead guilty to that pretty easily. but if you look at the conservative project as a patriotic project, trying to make the country a better place, i don't know. what is a good analogy. if you're going to tear down the edifice of something the first guys to go and how the guys with a sledge hammers. they are not subtle.
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they take down the frames and smash of the fireplace. then you have other guys to come in and do the fine woodworking and painting in detail work and all the rest. someone like glenn back is a sledge hammer back. we need them. but i don't think that necessarily everything about conservatism is sledgehammer work. but what they like to do is focus on the sledge hammer guys and say this is what all conservatives are like. this is how they talk amongst themselves. the reality is that is just not the case. my vision from the beginning was to have it be collegial water cooler talk among conservatives. as long as you were right of center you were welcome. you know, the reality is wheel water cooler talk is pretty boulder.
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but the idealistic communicate this idea that we actually have agreements. we can draw fine distinctions. you know, you are getting all of your arguments from talk radio or cable-tv to be discussed from left or right. it is nutritionally insufficient intellectually. you need to draw on better sources. that does not mean you should get rid of talk radio. the. >> host: bill in berkeley, california. go ahead with your question. >> caller: thank-you. hands i enjoy your work. i am a professor at berkeley. two questions. what reading would you recommend for my students to introduce them or to help them grow on the right side? and secondly for myself what
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liberals would you recommend i read just to keep abreast of thoughts on the other side of the aisle? >> guest: they are good questions. in terms of -- i'm assuming it was primary documents. the conservatives were class. i've actually written about this kind of thing a few times. i think of a great daily contemporary iteration of conservative understandings that i agree with would be the conflict of vision. i think that the fatal conceit is great. it is some controversy about whether the editor wrote more. is still a great book. i think that if you are looking for a higher level introduction the conservative election
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movement of 1945 is a great primer on the history of conservatism. there are people who have different takes on that history, but everybody can sort of, you know, the gravity of that book is that everybody is orbiting to some extent or another. i think in terms of the rules to read these days, let's see. if you are talking about teeseven trying to imagine a berkeley professor. i think in terms of magazines, the new republic, do you read the new republic? it has suffered not because of the editorial ship or anything like that. it still does a pretty good job. but of their review of my book
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was absolutely asinine. i grew up reading the new republic. it was my fang. >> host: do you read paul? >> guest: in this same way i likes to play with a loose tooth it hurts, but it's kind of fun to do it anyway. but don't have much use for him, but i think it's worthwhile. i am thinking he is an odd liberal. we will wilkinson. he is more libertarian. he is a a social liberal. a brilliant guy. very worthwhile. the you ever watch keith coleman ? i watch a special report. other than that i don't watch much of that cable stuff. i literally read set during the day.
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the last thing i want to do while relaxing is checked and on the carl on cable. i fly, you know, over men so tendentious. you watch five minutes of it and you get it. i am sure there are liberals to feel the same way. >> host: do you think it is important to read things you don't agree with? >> guest: read things, yes. what's different television shows, not so much. it is a great show. that panel at the end is as good as it can get. i said that long before i ever appeared on it. a little goes a long way in terms of watching. but reading stuff is incredibly important. it is the only way you can counterbalance these kinds of thing.
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i get a lot more reading. although, always worth reading. i have never found -- other than for sociological purposes, what is the new york times saying, i have never found in new york times editorial and a fine. i will often find washington post editorials edifying. the l.a. times is way too overlooked in the back and forth inside the beltway. a better pitch, not just because i'm on it. people realize. in terms of liberal historians and that kind of thing, alan brinkley is a phenomenal historian. i don't agree with everything. i always learn something and find it observation. peter seems to be pushing himself much further to the left these days. he is a friend, and i debated
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often and learned a lot from him . i think jonathan, his blogs is more contentious and annoying than i would like, but the result he is trying to get. his pieces i find very useful. don't always necessarily agree. and don't have much use for the nation. never have. i just don't find it interesting . , you know, i think reading widely and to adversely. at the end of the day c-span notwithstanding, i used to be a tv producer. tv is an entertainment medium. it simply is. if you are getting a handful of other things push as far as you can toward the educational and informational as you can get. >> host: not be entertaining? >> guest: within the confines
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of television. you simply take in more information reading than you do listening. that's just the way your brain is wired. people usually tune in to see what so and so is going to say. they don't tune in to find out. i mean, on this week. people who liked him will turn them. my friend and colleague who was on capital gang, at the end, you know, after ten years of the show they differ a stack of your mail. she went through it and said not one letter from anybody, to anybody on this show ever said, gosh, thanks so much for changing our mind. it was all -- bob nomex letters were great job sticking it to mark shields.
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you never let him get away with anything. marks stuff was, way to go. you stood up. he sets of bully. and that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch it. i'm actually exceeds tv guide. if all you're doing is getting news from a conventional television sources you aren't getting enough news. >> host: you are on with jonah goldberg. >> caller: hello. somebody who realizes of the people are filibustering the whole show. i would like to have your opinion on the situation of a woman's right to choose. state-by-state. you know, colorado who was against the right to choose.
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who would be the authority on that? who would monitor the birth of a woman if she was raped jack went to government have to do that? >> host: we get the point. thanks. >> guest: duly noted on the filibuster in complaint. yes. it's one of those things, sort of like slavery. at the end of the day the federal government was right to smash the institution of slavery many good things were lost in the process, but the end result, the ultimate goal elway those things. needed to be destroyed. much the same way with jim crow in the 1960's. these are democratic tyrannies that needed to be crushed in order to ensure that african-americans enjoyed full rights under the law.
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i find it regrettable that it was necessary, but it was. it seems to me that is one of the places where abortion is very similar. it's that this fundamental question. if you are a human being is you can't be a slave. if you're a human being you can't be killed by somebody. you can't leave that up to states. so my sense is there even though i personally would like to see roe v. wade destroyed or undone de and this is she said back to the states, i think the country would have been healthier if it had been left to the states and you had a national compromise without the federal government coming in, at the end of the day it is the kind of thing that has to be decided that the federal level. i don't believe you will ever permanently banished. as it stands right now we have
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one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the western world. much more pro abortion that they have in europe and. you can have reasonable restrictions and move toward a day when this is not an issue. that will come from science more than anything else. yet. but abortion is one of those things. it would double back up. hands>> host: when you hear the phrase i am conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues what is your response? >> guest: i will my eyes and john. i can't tell you how many liberals you need to want to come around with you. i am with you. i am an economic conservative. the problem with that is you have these principles that you hold dear.
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you're just not willing to pay for them. so there is this obsession that comes from generally generated by the journalistic elites in washington who like to call themselves social liberals and fiscal conservatives. they think there is this great mass of people out there just like them. the masses aren't these pool of narcissists. there is a problem you get. they keep saying the republican party will solve all its problems if it just gets rid of these crazy social conservative christian service and adopts this conservative ideal. there is no evidence that is true. we know that christian conservatives are an indispensable part of the republican electoral.
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the michael bloomberg constituency is a rounding error . somehow jesting the conservatives it would be electoral suicide. if you go around the country and look, fiscal conservatives means a lot of different things for different people. they tend to buy into those doctrines and vice versa. it turns out those people are completely useless when it comes to the economic issues. there are the numbers that the help the party.
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>> host: show in queens new york. go ahead with your question. >> caller: good morning, gentlemen. what you think the media says obama is biracial? >> host: what is the second question? >> caller: do you think obama disowned his mother? >> host: got the point. the issue of president obama as race, does it matter? >> guest: i think it matters, to be sure. i'm not sure it matters in the context of this caller. it is a great and wonderful fang . i personally probably would prefer it if he had described himself as multiracial. it is his choice. he writes about this in his memoirs.
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that is entirely legitimate and fined zero. i don't think he is rejecting his mother. there's not any place to say whether he is or isn't. you know, this is one of those issues. huge salience and residents. for americans black and white, it's going to get people to take interest. >> host: author, columnist, scholar. we have about an hour and a half left. recently we went over to his office at the american enterprise institute and learned about his riding habits. >> i always wanted to be a writer. for a big chunk of college i wanted to write science fiction novels. one day i hope to go back to it.
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i grew up in a very journalism driven family and i always liked writing from a very early age. and i first came to washington i produced a tv series called a think tank. a scholar here back in those days. i was working as a research assistant. i became a television producer. i wrote on that. i started doing documentary's. a realized i did not like being a television producer, in part because when you are a tv producer there are so many intermediaries between you and the final product. there is talent. as limitations of the technology . as the grasp of the technology,
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the editing process to all these people who did in the way. every single thing. may have been negotiated, but that's fine. really it is a process. this is the entrance to the lounge. and so usually with a cigar in my hand. i love coming to an office. visibly working in an office still comes very and naturally to me. a kind of like disappearing from places with lots of distraction. it's also nice to set up here and have a conversation. often some of the others dollars to smoke will come up here. it's a nice, and formal way of
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doing tang's. so you know i have been working from home for the last 11 or so years. when i came here it corresponded to what we were doing, worked on my house. it's been completely gutted. all my bookshelves and all that had to be stored away. this is really the -- i don't know -- maybe 10 percent of all of my books. 5 percent. a lot of my favorite books a year. the decline of american liberalism is a forgotten and wonderful classical liberal history of american
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progressivism that i highly recommend. certainly if they like my book they would find that very interesting. up here is the conservative intellectual movement in america, which is one of the sort of founding texts of modern american conservatism. it's one of these weird ironies. it is technically a history of modern conservatism, but it is so influential in our understanding. it is part of the canon of it. it is like, i don't know, the heisenberg's uncertainty principle. merely through historic matches, his art of observing the conservative movement. segmented or solidified a certain narrative of the movement. there are some people who have criticisms of the book, but everybody respects it. even on the left heel around
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washington conservative circles. he should find a copy. it's a great book. one of the fangs, the degree of influence that american pragmatists had on fascism. the way pragmatism in many ways was a core philosophical driver of movements in europe and the united states during the progressive era and during the era of fascism. something i want to revisit in my next book. i find it very interesting. pragmatism and the indication is one of the truly great cons in modern political. ♪
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c-span2 jonah goldberg, you say that your mother and father are your greatest influences. why? >> guest: his name was sidney kohlberg. he was a very intellectual kind of guy. if you do will hoffenberg you will find the eulogy i wrote to my father. he died about five years ago. to use one of his phrases he was a peculiar duck. a very intellectual guy. extremely funny. a dry sense of humor. if he did not pay attention to what he was saying it would go
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right past you. he did not have a lot of hobbies one of his greatest hobbies was going on long walks with his sons and talk about anything and everything in the world. he was -- he dropped out of the ph.d. program at the university of michigan. he had a master's from nyu. very much a classic neocon. for about 50 minutes he flirted with ideas and came to his senses. a big chunk of any education i actually have comes from my father. speak one what did he do for a living? >> guest: he was an editor and journalists. as he rose up in the media company that kept getting bought by larger media companies he moved to the business side. the end of his life he had worked for the united media which counts among other things peanuts and that kind of thing.
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he was on the comic strips side of things as much as anything else. for most of his life he was an editor. he would assign writers and reporters to hundreds if not thousands of writing assignments all across the country. one of his favorite place to start a conversation was he know what would make a good article, you know what would be great to have someone asked. that is how he thought about things. and so he worked for -- he worked for syndicates, news service, parent company of the company he worked for. he grew up. deeply involved. >> host: some people might know your mother. lucy and gilbert.
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she was the perfect complement to my dad. my dad was deeply intellectual. always reading a different book. my mom is much more vicious and much more, sort of, enthusiastic about life. as we were discussing earlier this morning she recently quit smoking after a mere six decade medallion. she was in many ways -- one of the reasons why i have always had -- the purchase of feminism never really took hold on me. my mom was always very strong and independent woman he took flight from nobody.
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one of my earliest memories. back then we called them winos. costing me on my way home from school. my mother grabbed him and beat the tar out of the guy until she realized that he was just playing and i had been scared. she was briefly an auxiliary mounted police woman. she was involved in some scandalous stuff with the nixon administration. she was a ghost writer. she was a literary agent. she was a burst onto the national scene during a scandal when she was a woman who suggested to lead the trip that she tape-recorded conversations. she runs a website. a great web site. it still active. she stopped doing the radio show a few years ago. we talk all the time. i get a lot of my introverted
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nature from my dad and my extroverted nature from my mom. >> host: does she miss smoking? and what did she do with the no-smoking movement start? >> guest: a forceful personality. i remember distinctly coming to a visitor from college. we would go out to dinner. she would take an ash tray out of her purse and put it on the table and start smoking. basically her attitude was commended me. and she was always like that. she still is like that. very aggressive personality. >> host: this is book tv "in depth". our guest is author and columnist and editor jonah goldberg. "liberal fascism," "proud to be right". new york city. go ahead with your question. >> caller: hello. great to be here. a long wait. and happy to speak to you. i am a former mcgovern liberal who is now 80 party supporter.
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i know what it is like to be behind enemy lines. i really love your column and your book. at think it's the perfect cover. in america it feels like liberals want to give you a hug. very difficult to speak to liberals here in new york. but my two points. one of liberals and the other on president obama. liberals seem to prefer cultivating victims and the victim mentality so that they can feel morally superior and better about themselves even though their policies for everyone including people that they seem to want to help. that is one thing. it seems like they do things over and over again expecting different results which is the definition of insanity. the second thing i would like your comment on, by the way, a book i read, the psychological
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causes of political madness. he prefers to liberalism as a hypnosis. i have seen a lot of comments about that. it seems like their is a lot of craziness in the ability to reason. >> host: we have two questions thanks so much. >> guest: on the first one. >> host: victimization. >> guest: i think you're right that's absolutely true. i think that one of the break through accomplishments of fdr was to turn citizens and to clients. this idea that if you can get people dependent on government one way or the other -- don't just mean welfare, but middle-class entitlements and all sorts of other things, then they will, as rational human beings, vote their interests as they see them, which means expanding what government can give them. one way you play on people's
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emotions in order to the expand the role of government and create new glasses, the children being one of the great examples is by this idea of victimization in some ways i think it's a sort of trojan horse version of the european politics, this idea of telling people you are born in a certain cast or class were status. you'll be there for the rest of your life. he will do our best to make it as a miserable as possible. what the conservative republican approach is is that, you know, the only one standing in the way between you and your destiny is you. hard work. free country. pursue happiness. if you want to be a millionaire work to be a millionaire. there are no guarantees. that is what freedom is about. i don't know the book. i do not like the partisan
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differences. generally speaking it can sometimes work when you're talking about a specific person. if you understand their personality you can talk about their psychology and how it interrelate to politics. but to talk about liberalism kuala liberalism as a psychological phenomenon is problematic as talking about the services and as a psychological phenomenon. there is an history that is still unfolding. liberals and academics trying to render conservatism into a mental defect. chino, and charitable mental gesture. you have berkeley putting out studies, breaking out the caliper's. they're going crazy trying to figure out how the bumps in your head or how many loves you have
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explains why he liked tax cuts. you have people who get involved with all this nonsense about framing and have your brain processes tough. it goes back to people like herbert mccloskey and theodore edoardo who try very hard to make it sound as if anybody who was not loyal to mainstream liberalism was daft. i think it is profoundly undemocratic and can lead to very dangerous things. once you make things into a medical issue he say, well, their is a place for curing people of this kind of stuff. that is not what a democracy and free country is supposed to be about, trying to and as to size the critics of the certain prevailing etiology or lobotomize them or cure them in some other way. it also assumes that you cannot through reason persuade people that they're wrong. if you give up that belief you have given up on democracy.
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>> host: go ahead, larry. >> caller: hello. i just have a couple of questions. i saw that you work for been one bird. i read a book of his several years ago. are you familiar? >> guest: i'll profess i did not get a chance to read it. i know is argument about demographics. >> caller: i am wondering why that never worked its way into the mainstream. this stuff we are hearing coming out from the academics and the politicians don't square with that book. >> host: thank you. >> guest: basically been spent much of his career being a part a list. more babies is good. i basically agree with him on that. mark stein has been carrying this low for a while. my colleague at the national review. the demographic problems that you get into when you start
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having a low replacement of great, fertility rate. huge problems for entitlements and social security to read it creates problems for economic growth, the aging of society, and all the rest. at think it is -- it is a very difficult and perilous thing to interject into mainstream politics. it is one thing to have your mother in law say it, but it is another when the government tells you to have more babies because, you know, if you are reading in liberty you're supposed to have this many dates as you want to have and not more it is a complicated thing, but it does have serious demographic and therefore economic issues. >> guest: on going to combine to e-mails. one from lynn in pittsburg. and what was the less reaction?
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in most of the interviews i saw him all they did was comment on the cover of the book and did not address the content. that is number one. number two is j matthews for marineville. liberal fascism was coming out. did it seem like it would have been more perfect the time dividend described the obama wave that swept through 2008? >> guest: the reactions of the book, you know, there were a lot of pre-emptive attacks. i think the economists first started making fun of it a year-and-a-half before it came out. frank rich started making fun of it two years before it came out. a lot of left wing blotters long before it came out. a lot of snickering and what not. very frustrating. you want to defend what you're doing. at the same time you want to sell the book. it was a very frustrating
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process. you know, my amazon paige was attacked numerous times with let's say less than flattering images replaced in the book. you know, some of it was certainly to be expected. what i am doing really is a serious bit of revisionism. i am knocking out the support structure for vast assumptions about political organization, political morality, understanding of history, and i am also -- i pull a lot of skeletons out of closets about what the progressive movement, how racist it was, how many nice things they had to say about mussolini, how terrible woodrow wilson once. these were not things the liberals wanted to hear. a lot of my main detractors were not huge fans of me in the first place. they really wanted to do a shoot
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the messenger thing. at the time it seemed overwhelming and crazy. my editor gave me great advice. he said this is like one of those and medtronic pirates of the caribbean rides at disney world. these monsters can lunge out at you, but they can't really do anything. but i'm more disappointed, after the initial this hysteria and silliness i expected at some point to get a more serious treatment from some of the more intellectual places. yet i have to say with a very few exceptions i don't think there was a single liberal review that i thought very much of. there were a lot of critical stuff from the white at think was very good. serving the second half of the book which was of rob of stuff. you know, one of the most telling refuse was the new york
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times. the new york times review eight a week before the book came out. not normally what publishers like. the review was clearly not to praise kohlberg, but to tear down the book. yet the vyshinsky, a historian at the university of texas some what can densely but relatively accurately describes what the argument is. fascism was a phenomenon of the raft. hitler was objectively defined. woodrow wilson was aware of the fascist dictator. he describes all that. then he says goldberg becomes less persuasive when he gets to fdr. well, some hundred and 30 pages and. at that point it's really just commentary. there was not a single substance of a bottle in any of my argument. the first hundred and 30 pages
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of the book. the new republic review was basically a hissy fit. the "washington post," if memory serves, was sort of equally insubstantial. it took two years for the history news network which is an online enterprise to really come after a. it was organized. at first did not invite anybody who liked the book. and it was a huge relief to me. one of the people who attacked the book was robert paxton who is the dean of. i found all of his criticisms, the vast majority were factually inaccurate or characterized things that he just misread. you read these reviews and realize, man, i kind of hit the
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targets. when i was writing the book he see all sorts of stuff. this can't be true. how come i didn't know this? and, you know, check your sources. recheck your sources. you all these mainstream things as best you can. and then the critics come out. you're like, there are a few things wrong. i got a couple numbers wrong. a lot of it is certainly open to debate. the fundamental arguments, i did not see very many directed back. the second question was about the timing. president obama. a lot of people think the book was aimed at obama. the funny thing is i started writing the book. just like everybody else, i had no idea who he was. and then the book comes out.
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six months or a year later he's running for president. all of a sudden, you know, he is running as this figure with this massive deification of the people. wheely religious language. we are the ones we have been waiting for. they train their door knocking volunteers to not talk about the issues. according to the new york times the tell their volunteers to testify about how they came to obama the way one might talk about coming to jesus. all of this stuff. he openly said, there is this funny thing. liberals are constantly at odds with themselves. when reviewing my book they all say i'm an idiot for saying that contemporary liberals are heir to a residence in. the liberals talk to mainstream audiences it is all about how wonderful the progressives were.
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barack obama going to the university of wisconsin saying what better place than year to reaffirm the principles of my campaign. i think as say in the new version you have to give the night some benefit of the doubt and assume he does know what is talking about. racist imperialists who would have been horrified at the idea of his father even coming to the united states let alone the son of an african becoming the president of the united states. you have a hillary clinton -- and this is the word playing. she is asked by somebody what is a liberal and are you one. well, i used to, so liberal. liberal use to me is standing up for the freedom of individual against the power. she did okay defining liberal.
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the priests in the american political tradition. it's true. i would like to ask people. imagine if mike kuchar b, who are not a huge fan of, but if he was a candid at a debate and someone asked him what is a conservative and are you won, would reduce say. it used to mean this, but now it means this. that is why i don't call myself a conservative. i call myself a modern confederate. ..
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>> you know, it just means nice now. one of the things i try to do is progressive like liberal had meaning, and i try to ri attach it, and it made people mad. i can talk about round or flat. in some ways i hurt the book if they saw it as an attack on president obama. it was unbelievable. you had a writer at slate magazine saying any reporter describing obama as skinny is guilty of ray schism. if i got into any of that stuff, you nebraska, while -- you know, while he was running, pin it on me, i don't know.
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>> host: proud to be right published by harpers. why not a sental, threshold conservative? >> guest: that's an easy thing, and i'm not here to disparage other institutions or anything like that. basically, i've been talking to adam bellow for a long time about a book and nothing worked out, and then i came up with the idea of liberal phackism, and he loved it and i wrote a proposal, and i told my agent, at the time, it's not adam's idea, he doesn't own it, but i feel i should work with him. i have a nice repore with him. you only write your first book once, so he made us an offer, and if it's fair, we'll do it. that's how it happened, and it's still an adam bellow thing.
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he asked me to edit and write the introduction. my next book is not with him, and, you know, -- >> host: what it's about? >> guest: the title is tyranny of political cliches. it talked about fragmentism and i can have a little more fun. before liberal fascism, i was developing a picture of being a funny writer. tyranny cliche allows me tore free willing. you know, talking about a book too much is a jinx. >> host: was he your editor for conservative authors? >> adam came up under irwin, an important guy at free press, and
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adam is carrying that torch now. >> host: is it a crowded market? >> guest: there's a lot of conservative editors out there. they usually -- no, there's little outposts at publishing houses, but there's a lot of, you know, successful books put out, but adam's been sort of at the scene of a lot of great stuff, and, you know, we're friends, and i think, you know, it's like a lot of these things. it's very important to have serious, committed, smart, reasonable conservative at liberal institutions. you just don't want a bunch of conservative institutions only in a ghetto. you want to have people at the "new york times," not just another washington times to only deal with conservatives. politics is about persuasion,
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and if all we have is admiration for the society and say how great these guys are and how bad they are, you can't join the ranks, and there's no progress like there should be in the real world of politics. you know, taking back these institutions or getting a fair hearing at the institutions should be a real priority. >> host: next call for jonah goldberg. it's jeff. thank you for holding. go ahead. >> caller: thanks, great work. i wondered if the author could talk about the liberal fascism fight in the rising of entitlement that is the main source of nourishment of this new fascism. >> guest: okay. i'm not burning with desire to
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have everything in liberal politics called liberal fishism even if it gets me more royalty checks. it's not helpful for society. that said, the sense of entitlement thing is a huge problem. there's a piece on how the end of history for american liberals now is in some ewe top ya or anything like that, it's the american college campus. there's a weird thing happening in the culture where you have these young, smart, generally well-to do kids, who feel the freest they've ever been, and they don't internalize the contradiction that their food is cooked for them, dporms are cleaned for them, security is provided by somebody else. they are pampered in ways that
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european kings couldn't imagine being pampered 500 years ago, and they somehow think that this is the way society should be, that the government should be in the business of boosting everybody's self-esteem and making everybody feel good. bill clinton had a line with the clinton initiative where he said, i have only two aims in my life now. make sure no one dies before his time, and to ensure that everybody can make a meaningful contribution. now, that to me is ewe toppian. that is a religious agenda and arrogant agenda to set for yourself, but you have on college campuses a culture that says the only real crime you can commit other than, you know, real crimes, is to offend someone's self-esteem or harsh
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someone's mellow. you have kids that come out of college, internalized this idea of how society should operate, and they want to extend this experience for as long as possible. you have people like barak obama and michelle how they rejected the sort of real private sector and went into the helping professions. michelle said chicago to turn down the hedge fund jobs, give up on wall street. go in and do something that helps society, be nurturers and stuff. this idea of extending health care coverage until your 26 so if you fall off the couch been accident, you can still be rushed to the emergency room. the way the restructuring student loans to extend adolescence through your 20s. you have a big front page piece in the "new york times" magazine
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recently because your brain isn't fully formed until you are 25, we need to extend add adolescence longer and have a federal program with an amish thing where kids have fun for a year before they get married. there's going to be a federal department that will work out great. you listen to the way liberals talk about this and how the loans are forgiven if you go into working for the government. it seems to me there's a conservative political effort to turn society into a less productive, less free market thing, and more into this, you know, mushy gushy kind of giant college campus. >> host: you wrote recently that elections of 2010 could put the right in disarray. that and the tea party movement, what do you think of that? >> i love the tea party movement, but like all things i
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love, doesn't mean they are great. i love bourbon, but it's not great. i like scotch too, i could talk about that all day. they have down sides too. i think the tea party is healthy for the republican party and it's allowed the republican party to regrow a spine. they organized a political conversation. i think that the -- at the same time the reason why the 2010 elections could put the gop in disarray, i'm optimistic, i think john boehner and guys are handling this well. it's not a revolution in talking about, you know, vast, sweeping rad cam changes and all that stuff. they are saying listen to the american people, do what we can, and lower expectations a little bit. it's none of the entry
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rhetoric. any way, the reason they could be in disarray is for the simple reason when you are a minority party, unity is easy because you want to be the majority party again. when you're a majority, by definition, you are bringing in different groups, different members of a coalition, different people who disagree about what the priorities should be and all of the rest, and it doesn't mean that it has to fall apart. you know, fdr's coalition had, you know, communists, blacks, and clansmen in it. he made that coalition work for 50 years, long after his death, but it's hard because the nature of majority coalitions is that you're the one who has to govern, and to govern is to choose, and second of all, you have different groups with different things in them. the tea partyers come in riding
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into town whooping and hollering saying we want to slash and burn the government, and i agree with a lot of that message, but at the same time, the gop needs to recognize that they need to win more elections before they can really make the real progress they need to. that's a healthy tension to make. i would like if they are more on the side of the tea party than not, but they're going to be disappointed people no matter what they do. >> host: next call, franklin in los angeles, hi. >> caller: hello. jonah, i'd like to ask you -- hello -- >> i'm listening. >> caller: i'd like to ask you the national review, correct me if i'm wrong, but i don't think they've ever had a black person in a top editorial position at national review. is there one now? has there ever been one? you brought up earlier people
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were talking about the ray racism and you claim not to know anything about this. have you heard of media matters or fairnd in accuracy and reporting? they document tons of ray cyst things that people like rush limbaugh and shawn han disarray say. the there's the most ray cyst guy on radio is shown's mentor. you are a friend and christopher hitchens destroyed his science in the 90s -- >> host: okay, got the point. there's a lot on the table. >> guest: i don't think much of media matters. i think they are a left wing outfit that thinks basically their tactics are justified because they are always right. i gave up on them when they accused people of being a
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racist. they are limited as far as i'm concerned. in terms of has there been a black guy at national review. you know, personally, i don't know. in terms of the senior editor position, i don't know. you know, lots of black people have written for the magazine. lots of black people are contributing editors to the magazine. i don't know if shell by stehle and tom are on the mass head, but they are in there. >> host: is it important to you. do you think there should be a black person on? >> guest: on the -- yes or no. i want there to be more black conservatives, so, if there was a great black conservative who we could get to work for the magazine, that'd be great, boo-ya. robert george, a black guy, a
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friend of mine writing for the magazine is a conservative. it doesn't make sense to cast around for some, you know, token black guy just so he can, you know, respond to callers like this. callers like this cause raisism no matter what and until we're rushed under the heel of david brock or something like that, there are enormous numbers of black republicans out there. allen west just got elected. i wish there were more. wes, who is not black, but indian-american, is the living, breathing, intellectual heart of the magazine, and we cherish his contributions not because he's a minority, but because he's a volingen. he's brilliant. what is racist? you go into the room, count
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three black guys, two hispanics, and one asian or go into a room and see people. this approach on why don't you have black people in your company. i think that's more raise itch. it's tiresome. >> host: should americans take seriously his doomsday warnings or is he a showman? you have written several columns in usa today defending glenn beck, how do you feel he faint sized about him getting he headed in india? >> guest: i didn't hear the show, if he said that, that's awful. he shouldn't have said it, and it sounds awful, and sounds dumb, but at the same time, i've learned not to trust every
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rendition of reality from e-mail. i want to see what he actually said, but taking the e-mailer at his word, that's terrible. in terms of glenn's doomsday stuff, it's not like, you know, we are a member of the same bowling team or anything like that. we're not buddies, but i think what he is doing as a net benefit, and i really admire his ability to communicate with all the re, but i don't agree with everything he says. sometimes he goes overboard. the doomsday stuff, it depends what you're referring to. it seems to me he's got a wide collection of them, but he's been talking about the problems with debt and overleveraging of the government for a very long time, and those don't seem to be entirely without merit. i would not go to glenn for the last word of economic analysis, and i think he would be shocked if i would say otherwise, but i
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certainly think a lot of his stuff, you know, is perfectly valid. i don't think he's merely a showman, but there's nothing wrong with being a showman. you need different horses for different courses. people who say he's an idiot, i don't think so. i think he's bizarre. he gets people to read books in a way that no one else on cable television, no one else on television does other than c-span, but this is in a different way, and, you know, you can't say he's this, you know, represents this incredibly dumbing down of america while at the same time he's making the road to number one again. they are at odds with one another. he leans forward too much. i think he's at a fever pitch not sustainable over the long run, but he's a net benefit, and i don't think -- i'll say this, if he's not a
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libertarian, i wouldn't like his pop pewism at all. i think there's a difference between -- >> host: why? >> pop pew lism is a phenomena, but what it generally does is, you know, when jennings brian had a great line the people of nebraska are for free silver, i am, and i'll look up the arguments later. passion and enthusiasm is great in politics until it goes crazy and can be danger. one of the things the conservatives believe in it channeling enthusiasm in a healthy manner, and that's what the regime is about is puts ambition against ambition and all of the rest. that said, it seems to be there's a qualitative difference between a libertarian popularrism and a status
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popularrism where you get the government in our lives. some people call me a hypocrite, but i guess what i say is william buckly had a line. look, we have in the context of the soviet yiewn i don't know an the united states, if you have a guy who pushes an old lady in front of a bus and the other who pushes her out of the way from the bus, they aren't necessarily pushes ladies around. the tea parties are entirely healthy at this point because they are talking about restraining the role of government and expanding liberty,. if they got perverted into another pop pew -- popularrism, that would scare me, but i don't see evidence yet. >> host: your scheme could be the pin steers.
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>> guest: there you go. >> host: you're on, go ahead. >> caller: get your take on the compatibility of atheism with conservativism, and if they are con patible, how do you get around the unalienable rights that are given to us from our creator. where else could they come from for an atheist? >> guest: that's a great question. you know, basically what i do in my book is i define being a right winger in the anglo american context. there's to pillars of conservism. there's a social conservatism and all the rest, and then the free market libertarian, limited governments, free minds and free market perspective.
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for national review, we have what we call fusionism marrying the conservatisms. a vir choose act is not virtuous unless it is freely chosen. you have to have free society. generally speaking, i don't think you need to be a believer. i'm a secular guy myself. i don't think you need to be a believer to be a conservative, but you have to have some kind of republic for religious belief. you have to have an open mind towards people who derive politics on a morality from their religion. i don't think there's a problem with atheists being conservatives. about the endowed by the creator thing is one of the thing i love about the founding fathers is that the declaration of independence, being endowed by
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our creator thing was one the great philosophical puns of human history. rather than trying to prove we all have rights, they simply asserted, and the word creator is a political phrase that's brilliant because it is as expansive as it can possibly be to allow for a different point of view, and i don't know have many right leaning or otherwise conservative atiests who disagree with the idea we are all endowed with inalienable rights. i know barak obama is leaving out the creator part on some speeches, and that's fine in a different argument, but i don't know if you can't believe in the founder's project. i'm not an atheist, but i don't think there's necessarily odds. >> host: some liberal fascism ruled by treasure.
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political correctness is not terroristic, but it governs through fear. no serious person can deny that the greefns politics of the american left keeps decent people in a constant state of fright. they are afraid to say the wrong word, utter the wrong thought or offend the constituency. next call is from illinois. go ahead, bob. >> caller: hi, jonah. i'm wondering what you thought of john stuart and his rally. >> guest: bob, what did you think of it. >> host: right, right, but, what did you think about that? >> caller: i'm tried to compare jonah with ted stephens suggesting that he should be in a hotel with no trial or jury with no rights at all, and i'm wondering what he thinks of john stuart having ted stephens on
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the same thing. all right, thanks, bob. >> guest: i think it's a -- i'm shocked it took this long for this to come in. they reprinted it. it was my syndicated column, and basically i asked the question why isn't the guy dead yet? if you read the whole thing which many critics are incapable of doing. at the end i said, you know, i'm not calling for him to be kill. it's against the law to kill him. i don't know if the viewers pronouncuation is right or i'm wrong. i don't think he's a hero, but the point of the column is that i say in the column is that we have these very romantic hollywood ideas about what our intelligence agencies do, right? you know, in the jason bourn
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movie, you have pillow cases over his head. you have the right and left fantasies and all the rest. we have these ideas about what can happen and what does happen, and they tend to be sort of way beyond the reel realm of reality. i discuss that in the column. i got to say, again, i didn't call for the guy's assassination, but the comparison with ted stephens is weird also because i just think that was one of these things that john stuart didn't do his homework and got busted on and is too embarrassed to admit it because he likes his music or something. i think this gets all the blinking lines to go dead. forget the ignorance and misreading of what i wrote, the, you know, the knee-jerk defense
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by the left, right, these -- for the most part, these are the same people who fought the exposure of carl rove with a act of politics putting her life in danger. i don't think that's true, but stipulated. the sort of spoons on their highchair hissy yits -- fits and there's a movie coming out and what a hero she was and what carl rove did. it's regrettable and all the rest. i don't think it was a plan to put her in danger or anything like that, but julia is putting vast -- he's doing wholesale what was retail with value ri plain, and you have people claiming julia was a journalist and it's crazy to talk about this thing and all the rest and what a hero the guy is.
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i don't understand how you think bob or carl rove, people who outed value ri plain were committing trn or dispickble acts and celebrate the guy outing afghans and iraqis working in dangerous circumstances with the american troops overseas and outing sources and methods on a vast scale and think this guy is wonderful for it. the diso nans baffles me. >> host: next call from phoenix, steve, go ahead. >> caller: hi, good afternoon, folks. i'd like to ask jonah, you mentioned, i know william f. bucly was a good influence on you, is that correct? >> i knew him. >> caller: i have a question about him and your mother and your father, what was your dad's name again?
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you said they were big influences on you. i'm wound -- wondering since they're big on issues and politics, known of them did anything in the 60s for the civil rights movement, why were they not with martin lute ere king getting civil rights in the country? i just never understand why these old conservatives who are revered did nothing, and now you're complaining because someone is asking if you have one black person at national review, and you're accusing them of -- >> host: all right, steve, thanks. >> guest: a remarkable silly question as if somehow because my -- first of all, this guy has no clue what my mom and dad were doing for civil rights, but because they didn't march with martin luther king is a bad reflection on me that they were an influence on me? that's quite the crack down pipe
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stuff. william buckly were wrong in the opposition to the civil rights movement. they were. it's regrettable, but it's something to be honest about, and the reason why i rejected the sort of being counting stuff about having a black guy on the national review stems from the fact in many ways the conservative movement today has an authentic version of martin luther's king speech about not judging by their skin, by the contents of their character. it is the left with racial toe -- quo toes that want to digitalize society in these traits, and i'm all in favor of going back and look at what national review said, but i find it funny that in my book i find out what liberals said and did and all the re, and that gets a giant so
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what from liberals. who cares if they were in favor of fascism or that some of the progressives for racist. that doesn't matter or have anything to do with today even though liberals today still have these heros of their influences and champions. when i said i admire william, it is considered to be damning in a way because he didn't do enough on civil rights? there's no standard on this thing. the reason i admire him because he was the founder of the conservative movement, a charming person, best manners, nothing but kind and gracious to me, and he was a brilliant guy who counteragented the slander stereo type that every con receivertive -- conservative out there were slanders and beat people on debates, they are lee gat mitt
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things to respect the guy for. >> who is he today? >> guest: no, i don't think there is. in part because we don't need one the way we did back then. in 1955 when national review was founded, you know, it was this incredibly weird diverse, disorganized thing called modern conservatism. it was a year or two before ronald triewling said there's no conservative ideas currently at play, and we now have all of these institutions that carry that mantle, and the movement is suture bigger than can be categorized in a single person. >> host: you write in your book understanding political conservism. there's just three basic positions, the racism of the left that seeks to use the state
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to use favored minorities in regard to inferior. there is racial knew thrallty, and then there is some form of classical racism, that is seeing blacks as inferior in some way. according to the left, only one of these positions isn't ray cyst. race neutrality is racist. ray schism is racist. what's left? nothing but liberalism. in other words, agree with liberals, and you're not racist. >> guest: yeah, you know, you see this over and over. obviously there are racists in conservative rings. it's less than, i mean, my encounter to real actual racists are less than 1% of 1% as far as i can figure out. that doesn't mean an actual number, it's just what i see. there's actual racism among liberals as well, and --
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but the mainstream conservative argument, you know, the conservatives who just put allen west in office, # this guy who represents the district where the first shot was fired in the civil war, the conservative movement that has clarence thomas is simply not jim crow ray cyst never mind racist. the calls from, you know, c-span morning journal notwithstanding, and the argument you get from virtually across the board mainstream conservists is one of race neutrality. we had a civil rights movement and a war to say the government should not be in the business of categorizing the people by left, let's do that. the left says that's racist not to give special help to prosecuted groups, and i think that's crazy. >> you're essay in proud to be right, jonah goldberg, are names
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unfamiliar to most political watchers. why? >> guest: well, that's the idea to get, you know, -- we define young people as people younger than me, but most of them are a lot younger than me. most are in their 20s or early 20s. what we were trying to do is, we didn't want to give venue or a megaphone to someone who is 29 or something like that, and those guys already have great outlets. we wanted to find people younger who couldn't sort of breakthrough the den and give them a shot, and while at the same time showing the sort of vibrant, diverse intellectual diversity among young conservatives. >> host: next call from riverside, california. go ahead, ruby. >> caller: thank you. okay, to two pickups. --
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to two points. the right wingers take orders from the higher-ups in interest, and that's usually what their positions reflect -- >> host: who are the higher-ups? >> caller: like the pope brothers and people like that, i'm just saying that's my humble opinion. it seems like, you know, just most of their positions, and i know some of the democrats, unfortunately, being like baucus on the issues of health care or something, and very disappointing because it's not even what politics is supposed to be about, and one other thing that astonished me in the last election, it seems like with all the -- well, at least what shows i saw regarding the voting machines and the same people 70% people in the voting machines that nobody really took it into
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consideration like, duh, either, what happened? what happened there? >> host: all right. thank you, ruby. what about the influence of the cope brothers, founders of the american enterprise institute. >> guest: i truly don't know that. the cope brothers have been involved in politics for 20-30 years; right? the article in the new york put the cope brothers in the spotlight is a classic examples of people ignorant of something discovering it thinking it's a much bigger deal than what it is. these guys have been doing this for years. i never received an order from them. i don't know anybody who ever has. everybody who lives inside the kabal as it were in the institutions think the theories are batty. there are versions of this on
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the right. george is more involved in this string-pulling stuff than the cope brothers are, through there's paranoia on the right too. the cope brothers are doing what they think is right, but the people who think that conservatives, you know, average conservative columnist, the idea to tell charles will to believe anything other than what they conclude through their on application of intellect and experience is lewd chris. we don't get marching orders at national review from anybody. ai doesn't get orders from anybody. you know, the idea that tom soul or, you know, any people are taking orders from people, you know, you might as well say they get messages from fillings in their teeth. it's not true. >> host: i shouldn't have said they are founders of ai. i should have asked that as a question. i don't know. >> guest: i don't know, i have
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no idea. >> host: new york city, george, go ahead with your question. >> caller: hi, how's everybody doing? >> host: good. >> caller: i have a question to ask of the guest. i'm a believer in iron rand. you didn't talk about that at all? >> host: why, george? >> caller: i think he's like our friend, jo that, writes like him, speaks like him, pretty much right down the line. >> host: all right, thanks, george. >> guest: i have no problem with him. i think national view is too hard on them over the years. i think, we famously have an essay reading out of the conservative movement. i think he was too hard on her. i have lots of friend who are soft randans and all the rest, but she was not a huge influence on me personally. she was an influence on a lot of
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people i respect. >> host: from california, go ahead, john. >> caller: hi, great possession, gentlemen. you mentioned earlier about having a strict religious foundation for a virtuous lifestyle. i was wondering if you consider a secular interpretation as i outline a charactervalues.com where there's a behavioral, psychological foundation to the virtues and values and how they are based on conditioning. i was wondering if you have any take on that? >> guest: you know, that's interesting. i get, you know, i'm less religious than most colleagues # at national review, but i think, like, i'm a hayekian.
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you list one of his lesser known books, fatal conceit, and one of the things that fairly belongs on the right, but the essence of the argument that i find useful is the idea of the extended eared, the idea of trial and error, immense amount of wisdom in the institutions that we take for granted. you know, the amount of thinking that has gone into money is, you know, beyond our kin, the software in there. we think of it as money. the idea of the sort of trial and error going into traditions and cultures and institutions in our society that exist outside of government is just massive, and it does not shock me that you could make -- i'm assuming this caller is a
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secular argument for a traditionalistic value-based lifestyle without believeing and all that. one of the reasons these practices are passed along from generation to generation is that these are successful behaviors. these are successful lessons. think about all the mistakes that went into understanding the food? you know how many people died of food poisenning before they figured out cooking? figured out that certain things if you don't boil them, # this will happen or the food goes bad, and now we take that for granted. if you take you or me or the average person today and send them back 300 years, you like to think you have this wisdom on how to do thing, is we don't know how to do jack. i don't know how to make a sword or a car or anything like that. one the great essays is a essay
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called i pencil. he makes an argument that no one knows how to make a pencil. it's true. the companies that make pencils don't even know how to make pencils. they don't know how to mine zinc, but this is the most cooperative thing imagined where all of these different groups and people do these things collectively for their own self-interest and produce something that the government could never produce on its own if they set out to plan it, and it's the same thing to me it's a metaphor for morality. there's a reason why some moral principles hold up overtime because if they were not sound, societies would fall apart and reject them. one of the things we have to deal with as a society is to figure out what are the
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chestnuts to throw away, and what are the others we need to hold dear? it's the idea of muddling through of slow, grad wall reform where you are sure about what the next short pass you will make rather than the big sweeping changes to society which are inevitably going to involve all sorts of mistakes you can't foresee. >> host: what's national reviews relationship with christopher buckly and and walter? >> guest: i believe he's still on the board of the review. there was an unfortunate comedy of errors with christopher during the 2008 election where i think christopher offered a very bad explanation about why he was endorsing barak obama. i would love to know his position on that now, and it was
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taken as -- it was blown out of context and the press made a big deal out of it. christopher himself said that he wouldn't have done it if his father was allye. i think there was a psychological i'm my own person stuff there. i'm a big fan of christopher. he was writing on a temporary basis while mark stein was on leave. christopher thought he was fired or something along the lines, and there was miscommunication involved. i hope everything is okay, but i'm not privy to a lot of that stuff. anne, as of now, there's no relationship as far as i can tell, but in 2001 shortly after 9/11, anne had attacked national review on bill murray's show as politically correct because we had a problem with a column she
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had written. i was on my honey moon at a time and i had a steamy plate of problems put in front of me when i got home and anne said we should attacks countries and convert their countries to christianity with it and we had a problem with it and rather than negotiating with us, she went public with us and violated a great journalistic shoes which is don't pee on the shoes of the people who write you checks. i'm just kidding out there about being a slave to my check writers, but it got ugly, and it was unfortunate, and it became a thing where i had fired anne. steve happenson and i get along fine. we have our thing and she has hers. it lives on as one of these things in the lore of
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conservative insiding. >> host: a littleless than 15 minutes left with jonah goldberg. william from tennessee, go ahead. >> caller: yes, it's just so good to see c-span after all these years, and it's the only channel rest without hyperbole. you look like dick habit by the way. >> host: me or jonah goldberg? >> caller: you, sir. >> host: okay. >> that's a complement. >> host: thank you. >> caller: you're one of the last decent interviewers left in the country. mr. goldberg, i was a maxxist in my teams, became a libertarian and voted for ron paul when i was 20 in 1988 because it was
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like william said or somebody did, a young conservative has no heart, and an old liberal has no mind. >> host: thank you, william. >> guest: i think that was churchhill who said this. this is a growing process. my book on young conservative and i don't really care as much as a lot of people do about how the youngerration is -- generation is more liberal than its ever been. i'm a jen-exer and i thought this was nonsense, but young people by definition don't know as much as old people. that's why we could them young people, and young people, if they are smart and learn from experience and exposed to persuasive and good arguments, might change their minds about things, and i don't like the identity politics of logic
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saying we lost the future or the children. no, maybe the children, you know, maybe they sober up. >> host: you referenced young people in your book, proud to be right; voices of the next conservative generation is the subtitle. this e-mail from steve in michigan. why do you think the information professions are dominated by liberals? does this have an impact on how people's own ideology develops? >> guest: yes, i think it has to. look, i think the reason why journalism and education is dominated by liberals is simply that i think -- this is just something good and bad about liberals. on the one hand they are like michelle obama, voting with their feet and do good things for society.
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they are not primarily driven by market motives and they want to do good things, but one of the things that is part of that thinking is this sort of liberal e those that says if i can get the word out and explain why people are wrong and get the apple before it falls from the tree, i can convert the world to liberalism to my point of view. it's where we started, a religious impulse. you find it among journalists too, this idea that, you know, i know what reality is, and if i can explain what reality is, i'll make the world a better place in that kind of thing. if you're a conservative, you set your sights lower, it's doing good for your family, making a product or providing a service that is of value, you're attempts to improve the world tend to come in the form of helping your church or local
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community. that's why i recommend tom soul's book, the constrained and unconstrained vision. i think it's unfortunate some of these institutions are so monolithic in their outlook. it's bad for the country. i didn't talk about lawyers because there's a second aspect to this. ever since the rise of the administrative state, there's a cult of expertise on the left that says we know how to organize and drive society, fix society like it's a broken engine, and a lot of those people go to law school and import an idea into government and into argument that only lawyers know how to fix and do right by society, and that creates all sorts of problems. that's why the supreme court is crazy deciding all the moral issues and the rest. if you let people just to fix our broken soul in the society, why would you pick nine lawyers to do it? >> host: from michigan, jay, i
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heard glenn beck's remarks about president obama's trip and he asked to pray for the president's safety with their tasks. the e-mailer or caller took something away from the statement. many thanks to mr. goldberg to his thoughts in writing and i look forward to your next book. when it is coming out? >> guest: not for a year. it's tyranny of cliche, and thank you to the caller. i expect there's -- this is why i don't trust places like media manners. you get these calls that take things out of context, and the funny thing is one of the biggest complaints is conservatives who take things out of context. >> host: do you support gay rights for citizens in don't ask, don't tell and the nondiscrimination act, and mark wants to know also what are some of your favorite comics or
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graphic novels? >> guest: i read old man loggen, a graphic novel about a wool veer rein. i liked economic books which is i was what i was originally wanted to write. that was my goal. i love sandman. we could talk about this all day, but i know you don't want me to. on the first part on the gay stuff, look, on gays in the military, the thing i care about most is whether it will detraght from the fighting effectiveness of the military. i think it's a perfectly reasonable thing for gays to want to serve in the military, and the sad reality is that we're talking about not whether
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or not these gay americans are patriotic or decent people or whether they can do the job, but what it does to 18-year-old dudes in stressful situations and how they respond to it. that seems to be a perfectly legitimate thing to figure out. again, it's a legitimate argument that will be worked out over time, the same with gay marriage and i know why gays are desperate to have their partnership recognized. my sense is that will happen, but my general approach to these things is go slow and carefully and all of the rest, but at the end of the day, you know, i don't -- well, i'm not troubled by taking time, i also am not on board with the end of civilization arguments that you hear from my friends on the right about what would happen if we had gay
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marriage. the book i say will happen, and i guess that's fine. >> host: in fact, you write in liberal faish itch, the fact of the matter is this, liberals are the aggressors when they purr sueded -- persuade the the courts to accept women. who was the aggressor? my point is that the less is dishonest when it pretends it's not in the business of imposing values on others. from mississippi, you're on, go ahead. >> caller: good morning, and thank you for this intellectual discussion. i am in the position of in the middle of the road and to solve this great debate in our country. it's going to take people like you that can look at some ideas that liberals have, and say, hey, that might not be a bad
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idea, and we have to look at the republicans and say that might not be a bad idea. lts work this out. what do you think it's going to take to get us to that point, and you said something very nice about liberals, and then turn around and give the counter argument about why that's bad. i would love for you just to say something nice about a liberal or either, you know, and not challenge liberals to do the same. >> guest: all right. again, one the main points of liberal fascism is not to say they are badly intentioned, and look, i agree with the caller in the sense that at some point you need to fashion some kind of bipartisan compromise. how that's done and when that happens depends on a lot of things. i'm not a big fan on different splitting for different splitting sake. if one side says two plus two is
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four, and the other says two plus two is ten, saying okay, let's compromise at six or something like that, that makes no sense to me. i think that, you know, some thick -- things are smart and some liberal ideas are better than some spromses, and some conservative ideas are better than some compromises, and you know, democracy, you fight these things out. all the people who have so much handerring about the fact that people care so passionately about politics, are crazy, politics is to hash this out and have loud arguments. >> host: richard says your views a left of center and right of center. are there any scholarly intellectual middle ground that members of both wings respect,
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partially agree with, and can learn from? >> yeah, i mean, there's some. i don't know, david brooks strikes me as one of these guys. he can drive a lot of conservatives crazy, but at the same time, david is a very something like that guy trying to find this middle ground stuff. again, the problem is that simply calling something the middle does not, you know, there's not -- there's nothing in the bible that says the middle is somehow an intellectually or morally superior position than anything on the left or on the right. the middle is just another position. up in space there's no good or bad simply because of your place on the spectrum. it depends what the actual idea is, but there is honest brokers and there. people like robert sam muleson at the washington post is a down the line guy, ryan who writes for national review but it respected by liberals is another
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one of those. gloan -- >> host: jonah goldberg has been our guest for the last three hours. thank you for being with us. >> guest: thank you, it's been great. ..

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